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Symphony No. 1 (In Progress)


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Very much in progress... I come for critique primarily on instrumental technique as I am a piano player. Also, instrumentation - where should certain notes be placed? Any other opinions are welcome as well.

 

I'm following standard sonata form - taking liberties with extending certain sections. Repeat is included. Skip to around 8:04 to enter development section.

 

Update 20220119 : Development section done. I would like opinions and suggestions on dynamics.

Update 20220217:  Recap section done. Coda started. Took out a trombone because I felt that 3 trombones + 1 bass trombone would drown the woodwind section.

 

Instrumentation: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets in Bb, 2 Trombones, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Tuba, Timpani, String section.

 

 

 

Symphony No. 1 (1st mvt) (IN PROGRESS).pdf

Edited by SuperSaiyanScriabin
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Kickstarter Project for Music Jotter begins May 10th. Write music on the web or desktop computer.
Has Midi Scrubbing & Easy Tuplet Entry.
Get BIG discount as a Kickstarter supporter. No monthly subscription fees. Follow the campaign today!

I've listeded up to the exposition repeat so far. Pretty solid attempt!

Some orchestration/notation things:

 

1) The 3rd trombone (bass tr.) needs its own staff. Also, remember that one of its main roles is playing in octaves with the tuba instead of going with the other trombones.

2) You need to specify the number of winds at least on the first page. I'll assume you had in mind 2/2/2/2/ -- 2/2/3/1 -- timp -- str.

3) Div. and unis. is only for strings, use a2 (or a3) for winds.

4) Better don't use repeat slashes in the trumpet (e.g. measure 54) for double-tonguing. The slashes are usually reserved for fluttertongue.

5) Meas. 104: the violins need a slur for that run

6) Be careful with flutes on the first octave in loud passages. In meas. 122 they'll sound much weaker than the other wind entries (and everything will probably be drowned by the trombones playing FF.

7) While not specified anywhere, you seem to be writing for just 2 horns. Better use 4, it's the orchestral default, and only two will be too weak against 2 trumpets and 3 trombones.

8 ) Be careful with clarinets playing in octaves. The fact that they lack eve-numbered partials make their octaves unusually strident. Reserve that effect for deliebrately uncomfortable moments.

9) In measure 4 you may have balance issues, the brasses will overpower the clarinets and bassoons. Use different dynamics for the two families and/or use only a single trombone vs. double woodwinds.

10) Pizzicato strings don't need staccato dots most of the time (maybe unless it's a low cello/bass note).

11) Measuee 93: Use woodwind 'dovetailing' with a lot of care. In this case, the 2nd flute won't be heard because it's in its 1st octave. In case of doubt, resort to the classics: either superposition (each woodwind family plays 2 notes, and one family plays on top of the other), or partial overlap (e.g. cl.1=ob.2 and ob.1=fl.2), and be sure all the instruments are in their strong or weak register.

 

I must say that, nevertheless, you avoided most of the typical pitfalls of early orchestration, so congrats!

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1 hour ago, Snake_Cake said:

I've listeded up to the exposition repeat so far. Pretty solid attempt!

Some orchestration/notation things:

 

1) The 3rd trombone (bass tr.) needs its own staff. Also, remember that one of its main roles is playing in octaves with the tuba instead of going with the other trombones.

2) You need to specify the number of winds at least on the first page. I'll assume you had in mind 2/2/2/2/ -- 2/2/3/1 -- timp -- str.

3) Div. and unis. is only for strings, use a2 (or a3) for winds.

4) Better don't use repeat slashes in the trumpet (e.g. measure 54) for double-tonguing. The slashes are usually reserved for fluttertongue.

5) Meas. 104: the violins need a slur for that run

6) Be careful with flutes on the first octave in loud passages. In meas. 122 they'll sound much weaker than the other wind entries (and everything will probably be drowned by the trombones playing FF.

7) While not specified anywhere, you seem to be writing for just 2 horns. Better use 4, it's the orchestral default, and only two will be too weak against 2 trumpets and 3 trombones.

8 ) Be careful with clarinets playing in octaves. The fact that they lack eve-numbered partials make their octaves unusually strident. Reserve that effect for deliebrately uncomfortable moments.

9) In measure 4 you may have balance issues, the brasses will overpower the clarinets and bassoons. Use different dynamics for the two families and/or use only a single trombone vs. double woodwinds.

10) Pizzicato strings don't need staccato dots most of the time (maybe unless it's a low cello/bass note).

11) Measuee 93: Use woodwind 'dovetailing' with a lot of care. In this case, the 2nd flute won't be heard because it's in its 1st octave. In case of doubt, resort to the classics: either superposition (each woodwind family plays 2 notes, and one family plays on top of the other), or partial overlap (e.g. cl.1=ob.2 and ob.1=fl.2), and be sure all the instruments are in their strong or weak register.

 

I must say that, nevertheless, you avoided most of the typical pitfalls of early orchestration, so congrats!

 

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback. Very helpful!

Edited by SuperSaiyanScriabin
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  • 4 weeks later...

When you start asking people for feedback, it suddenly makes you aware of how differently people listen to music.  And by that I don't just mean that people are attracted to different types of music, but what they hear and how they process it is varies greatly. 

Some people use the keys and tonality as their point of reference, and each key change carries them to a new location.

Some people want to feel the mood, the atmosphere or the tone colour of the instruments to feel pleasure and activate their emotions.

Some people connect with the rhythm because of the way it draws or pulls their body to respond with movement.

Some people are energized by layers of polyphonic texture (J.S. Bach) because of the way it stimulates their intellect with lots of musical information and logic.

Some people (like me) tune into the narrative, the storyline, or the conversation between the instruments. Beethoven was very good at this aspect and so I tend to prefer him over others. It's important for you to know what exactly you like about your music, why you like it, and the type of people it will appeal to.

I have listened to your music above twice and think you are very talented. Some parts of your music I really love. For example the Brass section starting at about 9.30 and lasting for nearly half a minute. It's the sort of music that I and others would pay money to go and listen to. But also, there's a personal issue with it that leaves me frustrated. This particular 30 second piece of wonderful music seems disconnected from what comes before and what comes after. I don't mean that you have joined them badly, your music actually flows along very nicely. It's just that to me, the musical ideas are too unrelated. It's as though you have served me up a plate of fried chicken, ice-cream and a peanut butter sandwich. All of which I love, but I don't understand why you've put them on the same plate. For someone like me who is following the storyline of the melody and the purposeful direction of the music, having so many different pieces all put into one item leaves me dis-satisfied and confused, even though I could appreciate all the bits individually. I just think it would be to your advantage for your creativity to flow in a more consistent and meaningful way.

Sincerely,  Morgan.

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I have a few things to say:

You shouldn't score winds and brass with divisi and unison, instead you use a2 for when you want both instruments to play, and 1 or 2 for when you want only one of them to play. 

You should also specify how many instruments are in each staff. So instead of 'flute', it should be '2 flutes'.

You have four horns on one staff, and I've never seen that in an orchestral score, it should be 2 staves with 2 horns each.

C Trumpets are more common for classical music than Bb, (Bb is more common in band). You can use Bb if you want since most trumpet players play both, but it's likely you just used the default trumpet on your program. I suggest learning the difference and choosing from there.

You also use a lot of mezzo forte and mezzo piano, which aren't common in orchestral music, though I myself have fallen to this mistake. Mf is NOT a default dynamic, so with orchestra it usually sounds quite flat and empty. You can use mf for crescendos and for balancing purposes, but you don't need to worry about balancing too much because orchestras generally balance themselves quite well. I've practically never seen mp so you should just refrain from using it.

You have quite a few long hairpin crescendos. having them stretch over more than two or so bars just looks bad. Use a normal crescendo mark.

You continue the music for quite a while longer after the recapitulation. It seems like you're trying to force the music to be longer than it needs. This is just my opinion, and I'm certain other people would disagree.

Keep up the good work.👍

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