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As promised in an earlier post I have finally produced my American Folk Song Suite. Prior to its commencement some of you were kind enough to offer suggestions regarding what songs to include, advice for which I offer my sincerest thanks.

So please feel free to offer more suggestions for improvement before I publish the piece. Clearly our members from the US of A will have the 'inside track' on what I've done and I am keen to hear if you think I have done justice to the concept.

In advance, many thanks for listening.

http://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/186176.html

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Stephen,

This is fine for the most part. 

My biggest concern (if it matters) is the ending. You have this big roll-off. We are getting ready for the climax. then it dies down into.....well I'm ready for Yankee Doddle or You're a Grand Old flag (not a folk song, I know)  or some other kind of march. Instead it dies down into some tune I've never heard before. As an American who grew up playing in band and orchestra, as well as being an old folk singer, I was surprised at this choice of a closer. Put it in the middle, maybe.

And end with a climax rather than a whimper. I think the stinger at the end would work better after a build up rather than winding down to it.

Just my thoughts, since you asked.

This noteperformer, I assume.

Thanks for listening Bob and yes, it's NotePerformer.
I agree the piece needs a big ending and I have given some thought to changing the order of the songs...your idea of Yankee Doodle as a finisher is certainly worth considering. Overall I'm a little hesitant about the complete thing...it isn't the satisfying 'whole' that I think I achieved with my English Folk Song Suite...but that could be because I'm less familiar with the American tunes.
I put this up for comment because I don't think it's quite there yet...I await further comments with interest and will then undergo some revision - hopefully I'll get there in the end.
Thanks again for your help.

This is certainly a good start but I can't name the last song either (sounds familiar), which is odd since you've gone with really well known older songs (over here at least) for your other selections, and the ending should be real mainstream to be consistent I suppose.  Personally I'd have included a little more variety in the selections to broaden the appeal but that depends on the market you are aiming for (my dad would have loved this as is, maybe he would have known the closer!).

The ending with the quiet part is a good idea but doesn't work very well the way you have it, maybe shorten the quiet part and have more of a transition to the 'stinger'? At first I thought you'd accidentally tagged another recording onto the end of your main tune.

Yes. So then the challenge is to write these is such a way that has an emotional attachment for you. Not an easy task. Seems to me that American culture has always been more hustle and bustle, and fireworks. And then there is the still of a Kansas prairie sun set.

The final song is 'Way Down South in Dixie (By the Old Suanee) by Robert Morrison Stults, composed in 1903. Of whom Wikipedia says:

Robert Morrison Stults was an American composer of popular music in the late 19th century and early 20th century. His most popular work, The Sweetest Story Ever Told,[1] was published in 1892 and was still popular into the 20th century.

According to the Morrison family history,[2] he was the son of Jacob Stults and Martha-Jane Morrison. The first of five children, he was born on June 1, 1861 in Hightstown, N.J.. He was married to Julia Vandermeer.[3]

Prior to 1910, Stults mostly wrote popular music, but after 1910, he wrote more sacred and bigger works.[4]

He also used aliases for some of his works, such as the name "Norwood Dale"[5] to write the musical "The Cross Patch Fairies".[6]

He also wrote three ragtime tunes, Smoky Sam (1898), Walkin' on de Rainbow Road (1899), and A Moonlight Meander (1900), under the name S. M. Roberts (a play on his name Robert M. Stults). The giveaway that these are his is that the last one, "A Moonlight Meander", was copyrighted by his wife, J. V. Stults, who often copyrighted his music.



Ingo Lee said:

This is certainly a good start but I can't name the last song either (sounds familiar), which is odd since you've gone with really well known older songs (over here at least) for your other selections, and the ending should be real mainstream to be consistent I suppose.  Personally I'd have included a little more variety in the selections to broaden the appeal but that depends on the market you are aiming for (my dad would have loved this as is, maybe he would have known the closer!).

The ending with the quiet part is a good idea but doesn't work very well the way you have it, maybe shorten the quiet part and have more of a transition to the 'stinger'? At first I thought you'd accidentally tagged another recording onto the end of your main tune.

Bob,

As suggested by you I have put Yankee Doodle as a finisher - I must say it transforms the piece which now seems to fit together well. I'd be interested in your thoughts so attach the final (?) version. Many thanks for your suggestion.

https://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/186176.html

Stephen,

I hate to pick on this because you've done a much better job of this than I could. Though I'm not much interested in arranging music by others.

Stults is so virtually unknown that the only reason I can see to include him is to give him some exposure. OK.

I don't know how British bands do a roll-off (they seem to have more taste than we do), but an American band would never do a big roll-off then fade to nothing. The roll-off is the big attention getter. Move out of the way, here we come, and we're big and loud.

And I would think that Yankee Doodle would sound better introduced on the piccolo rather than a trumpet. It's the way we know it.

As you know, I have several issues with note performer. But this is not the place.

I wanted to introduce something relating to the Blues and Greys and/or the Mason Dixon line and I really like the Stults piece so included it for that reason, although I do realise there are many rather more appropriate pieces I could have chosen. I am a great believer in arranging as an art form...it takes some imagination and skill to produce something fresh and original from what may be a hackneyed tune. I think the proportion of arrangements to original compositions in my output of about 80 pieces is 50/50. The income I receive from these I treat as a third pension so some of my stuff is intended to be more commercial than art for art's sake. I wanted to do an American version of my English Folk Song Suite No.1 because the latter has proved to be an instant (commercial) success.
I know NotePerformer isn't perfect by any means but I personally am delighted with the programme...it saves an enormous amount of time and money....I haven't the patience to go down the DAW route ( nor the time...you and I are of a similar age so don't have as much of it left as some others on CF).
Regarding my choice of tunes to include: when I first sought American advice Rodney sent a list of about 60....it would have taken me three months to source, listen to and evaluate them....so in the end, as so often in these situations, it comes down to personal taste.
Anyhow, I sincerely thank you for your interest and very sound comments.

Well, it surely is a charming piece.

Yes, arranging is most definitely a a different art form. It seems to me that a tune may be hackneyed (or listened to a lot) because each person has a special relationship with it. When you arrange it tastefully, you give the listener a chance to relive that relationship. A combination of several tunes can be overwhelming.

I guess my hearing isn't what it used to be (like the rest of me). I had to look up the score to ID some of the instruments. If I recall, you have Sibelius 6. NP is probably a better choice than OE sounds. When I had Sib 6, a lot of music languished unfinished because of the lackluster sounds.

I'm not interested in a DAW, either. The recording I produce is not the finished product. What live musicians produce, is. 

I've given further thought to your comments about Americans doing a big roll-off and we Brits coming down a bit at the end of a piece - it's either something very artistic in us or maybe we simply run out of puff - take a little recovery time - then get back to it...or maybe I'm just talking about the way I personally do things; in all things in life, if I expend a bit of extra energy I need a period of repose before getting myself back into shape and starting over.

Seriously though, I wasn't truly aware of this habit of mine until you pointed it out to me....very interesting Mr. Bond!

I suppose if I were writing a 15 minute piece in 15 minutes, I might run out of "puff". But in real life, I get to stop and regroup as often as I need to, then forge ahead to the end. As I compose, I get to rise above my limitations. I get to be somewhere else, or some better time. Once started, I will finish a piece in a day or two. 

Seems like you Brits may be more refined spit and polish. Americans may be more raw emotion. 

Yes, you have Bond. We have....Maxwell Smart?

Maxwell Smart....I had to look him up, poor old agent 86; but I think you are putting yourself and fellow Americans down a little. Bernstein is one of my favourite composers and his music is certainly brash, loud and ummmm....American...but I love Candide for instance and don't feel the need to 'come down' after listening to it...it's invigorating stuff indeed.
I think the French have it right when they say (admittedly in a non- musical context): ' Vive la difference'. There's plenty of room for variation in our little world and I welcome it....as I'm sure you do too.

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