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The Super Short composition contest: call for entrants. In order for this contest to proceed, there must be at least 5 entrants. The rules of the game are: 1) the work must be no longer than 60 seconds, although it can be any length below that; 2) the work must never have appeared on this site before; 3) Any instrumentation is allowed; 4) an mp3 sound file and a pdf score must be provided.

Judging will be done by members of this site. In order for this contest to take place, there must be 5 entrants by 2 weeks from today: Monday, February 18, by 5 pm EST. Join your peers in this unique challenge!

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This is a low key site. The votes of the composers are important and should be heard. If we were the Oscars perhaps protocol would be more important. But we're all here to (at least in part) enjoy life. So enjoy friends - Best -

Saul, all the entries will be placed here shortly after the deadline of March 4.

Ain't that the truth!   Here's hoping for a zero vote piece, a truly exciting goal - the kind that Debussy and Beethoven and Stravinsky experienced and later treasured  ....  And now, sweet merriment doth abound ....

Raymond Kemp said:

........if I were an entrant, no votes would be better street cred LOL

Contestants: 10 days remain to get your entry to me. Deadline is 5 pm EST Monday March 4.

This contest is *hot* - I have received 12 entries already, more than twice the number of any previous contest I have run, and 4-5 more composers have signed up who still have a week (Monday March 4 at 5 pm EST) to submit. Because there are so many entries, I am thinking about expanding on my usual voting process of simply asking the members of this site to pick the number 1, 2, and 3 spots. One idea I have is to add a few special categories, such as "most unique piece" or "best orchestration." I welcome ideas along these lines or other lines from *only* those who have submitted a work to this contest. Since we have a week before the deadline, I'm willing to do a bit of back and forth about possibilities. If you want to preserve your anonymity in the contest, send me a PM -

It's complicated. I can write short piece for timpani orchestra per example, and it will be unique, but that will be nonsense to listen... Should i then get a "most unique piece" reward? It opens many questions.

Yeah, it's always complicated when it comes to people's subjective tastes. :) Now, if you could write a piece for timpani orchestra that was musical, you could probably win in several categories!

Here's a few ideas that come to mind (Gosh, I thought it was going to be hard to come up with some, but they keep coming):

  • Best Hook (melodic or rhythmic)
  • Best Harmony
  • Most complete "story" in short format
  • Best sonority/texture
  • Best special effects
  • Best idiomatic use of an instrument or ensemble
  • Most unique orchestration
  • Best "Visuals" when listening
  • Most Provocative
  • Most elegantly/simply stated
  • Best title (or Title that best Suits the Music)
  • Most Fun

  • Most reflective of a genre (voter gets to pick; examples: Romantic, Baroque, Electronic, Jazz)
  • Best idiomatic use of a technique ( voter gets to pick; example: pointillism, serialism, minimalism, fugue, counterpoint, etc.)

Too many categories ... many are way too vague, and some sound more like judging lingerie than music.  I say we just choose our 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice and then say why - we can use any of Janet's categories for our reason, or reasons of our own.  But I wouldn't have the time or the inclination to vote for all those categories ....

Once again, let's consider people's time and the fact that this kind of intricate judging is a highly paid profession in and of itself.  When I'm a judge in a composition competition, I get many weeks to study the scores, very clear guidelines for evaluation, and a hefty paycheck.  Notice also the word "scores".  I've never entered or judged a competition that didn't require a score.  In fact most of them ONLY allow scores, sound files are verboten.   I'd always favor those with scores over those without, and that's not even a category!

On further reflection, I think it's a bad idea to make up categories after almost everyone has finished their pieces.  We should evaluate each piece on what the composer intended and the overall quality of the music and its presentation, rather than a criteria s/he never had in mind.  So, for example Bach's "Crucifixus" from the B minor mass would never win a prize for "Most fun" nor would any of his keyboard works place in an "best orchestration" category, and yet he's generally considered to be a pretty good composer.  ;-)   Or maybe, as Fredrick intimated,  he would come in second in a Bach sound alike contest.  Chuckle.

I always evaluate a piece based on what the composer wanted to accomplish and whether s/he achieved her/his unique goals.  This type of evaluation is entirely removed from whether or not I like the piece, or whether it fits any particular categories, unless those categories were defined as part of the competition. 

I don't think we should make up categories after the fact - many of us would never have entered if the goal was to be "provocative" or even "melodic".    There are billions of reasons a piece is conceived and written, and we need to consider each in its own context, not in some category list of our own.

Hey, guys... I was merely brainstorming in anticipation other's might, too! I wasn't making a list of what I thought *should* be included. ;)

I also view this contest as a fun opportunity and excuse to compose anything we want, with artistic abandon. I'm planning to score in the same spirit. I like to keep track of the different entries by making short notes about them, but beyond that I won't be paying the attention of a professional judge (ie I won't be checking instrumental ranges for playability, proper notation, etc.). My informal  notes often consist of "nice flute solo", "ear worm melody", "fun", or anything else that "sticks out" to me. (I do this on another forum that regularly holds contests).

I know it's hard for musicians to be lighthearted about our work. Maybe we *ought* to consider categories like Lingerie... sexiest, most comfy to wear listen to when suffering from the flu...

Nothing wrong with being light-hearted and nothing wrong with writing music as comfort food.  But those categories need to be created BEFORE the pieces are entered and not after.  I've passed on many a competition because the criteria didn't appeal to me.  If you want real originality, do like the wonderful Plathner group in Germany did - one of their competitions was to write a piece based on the number 5.   Now, that was fun - and we got some of the most creative pieces I've ever seen! 

If my goal as a composer is to have a piece performed, I'd find it very helpful if the "judges" would point out notes that were out of range, poorly notated, etc.  If I just want to see if anyone thinks it is fun, I could ask my mailman or the kids next door.  I want a bit deeper feedback from fellow composers!

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