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The Vexatious Venturer

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Hi everyone! First time posting one of my works here.

This is a short piano piece I wrote several months ago for a friend, inspired largely by the rhythms of Latin American music. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

I always aim to write music that takes the listener on a journey in some way or another, and I think I've achieved that with this piece (but would be happy to hear your thoughts).

The Vexatious Venturer.pdf.

Edited by Alexander Reiger
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I think this piece demonstrates an effective mastery of modes and modulation!  It's very adventurous in it's exploration of various different tonal/modal centers which I am sure was your intention.  The modes you use also yield some quirky melodies that are quite catchy!  I can whistle the tunes after the piece has finished.  Well done!

btw - there's something wrong with your link to your youtube video - I had to manually copy and paste the web address.  Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue to compose and post your pieces here!

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2 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

I had to manually copy and paste the web address.


That aside, great work here. As much as I liked the fresh harmony and catchy melodies, I really enjoyed the numerous jaunty rhythms you used. There's something about a 3+3+2 rhythm that feels very driving to me, and the modulations were enticing. I love the juicy 11th chord to end it, well done! 

You seem to be a man of talents, and we could use your critiques around here. I'm sure you have lots to offer, and sharing some advice for others is a sure way to receive the most feedback. Welcome! 

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First time posting? How exciting 🙂


I wish I had something more of relevance to add, but I think Papercomposer hit the nail on the head, so I’ll just nod my head and agree with him. The piece is good natured, funny, quirky, catchy. Certain phrases were “clumsy”, particularly ms. 16, but I think in a self-aware way, like watching goofballs face-plant after slipping on a banana peel, or unintentionally offending someone, “you called me a what now?”


I think you did a great job with this. Thanks for posting ☺️

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On 11/10/2020 at 11:14 PM, Alexander Reiger said:

inspired largely by the rhythms of Latin American music

I don't see very much where that's in the piece, save for a couple of measures that have some kind of clave-like rhythm on the chords. I mean, I think the piece is cute and it tries to do more than just the bog standard european rhythms.  However, to me the start sounds like something from 60s surf-era rock & roll, specially the mixolidean turns, than anything from South America.


I think it would be useful if you actually sat down and went through the kinds of rhythms that there are in latin america, at least the prominent ones. Specially in the context which they are used. Rhythm is one of those things that seem easy on the surface, but actually being able to apply specific patterns effectively is not trivial. Example is the pretty famous Choro for Guitar from Villa-Lobos.

If you look carefully, the actual rhythm pattern in this is a pretty slow 2 note rhythm (the bass notes usually carry it.) In this particular case, in a lot of Brazilian music for example, the actual essence of the rhythm is a slow pattern with only a few notes, despite the superficial level having lots of movement. This is pretty easy to see if you watch something like this:

Notice the dancers in this actually move relatively slowly despite how much is going on in the music?


This is fundamental to understanding a lot of latin american (and by extension a lot of African) music, identifying what's actually the "groove" that you need to base your music around. Just imitating patterns here and there makes things sound at best like a cliché, at worst just aimless and disjointed.


Another example this time getting away from Brazil is Antonio Lauro's Suite Venezolana:

The main thing to take away from these examples is not just their use of rhythm, but the consequence with which they carry out a certain rhythmic intention throughout the whole piece. That kind of consistency is what ties a lot of the crazier stuff Lauro does. Great music, in my opinion, either way!

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@SSC thanks again for your very detailed feedback! I wasn't trying to imitate Latin American music, just taking inspiration from it as a starting point – I did a little research into Latin rhythms and incorporated some elements of that into the piece, but it's not meant to sound like 100% authentic Latin music by any means. You've given me great advice for if I ever want to go deeper into it in future, though.

20 hours ago, SSC said:

Example is the pretty famous Choro for Guitar from Villa-Lobos.

Hadn't heard of it before, but it's a great piece, thanks for recommending it!

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