Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Dear Forumites,

Ray and myself regret to inform you that this competition is as it says in the header, cancelled.

We still think it was a worthy adventure because the winner could well have benefitted from this, but lack of interest has dictated otherwise.

Our thanks go to HS and Socrates for their willing participation and to all who supported the idea in this and other threads.

I'd like to add a special thanks and show of gratitude to Ray for agreeing to be a part of this.


Time to get back to what now seems like the breezy job of composing.

Dear Forumites

I am writing to see if anybody would be interested in entering a competition to select a piece of concert music written by one of you to be programmed by myself and mastered by Ray. 

I have at my disposal high end orchestral samples that can be used to show the winner how their score would sound in a more realistic way. The samples are not perfect nor a replacement for real players of course, but the difference between what I can offer and whatever notation software is used for rendering is very marked, so much so that when the winning composer hears his/her piece, they may well get a nice shock! The fact that Ray has kindly offered his considerable skills in mastering for whatever comes out of my studio, means that the winner will have a full quality professional recording of their piece. 

I know some here will have the same pro samples as me and I respectfully ask them not to apply as I would like to limit this to those who can only use notation software for playback. 

I was thinking of setting this up pretty much the way Gav has set up competitions in the past
( and I thank Gav for his advice in this matter) with me choosing one out of the best 3 pieces voted for by the forum members to work on.
All this would be anonymous of course, but once the winning piece was announced online, I will have detailed discussions with that composer regarding performance details and interpretation. 


The music should be a concert work of between 2- 6 minutes for small, up to large orchestra. For clarification, a full orchestra can comprise up to (but not essential!) triple wind (auxiliaries are allowed) full brass up to 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone and 1 tuba, percussion a4 if required (all mallets and non pitched perc available) 2 harps and full strings. Chamber orchestra is a paired down orchestra and personnel numbers can be left to the composer but there must be a minimum of around 20 players although if strings are used, then the composer must specify how many in each section. Please note that divisi in strings is also possible, with a limit of a3 for each section. 

No choir or avant-garde techniques should be used because they are not very convincing at present with samples. Any style/period of music is permitted and pieces will NOT be judged on this. The piece can be anything from an overture to a symphonic poem in any mood and on any subject if you need one to write with, but it must be a concert orchestral piece.

What I will be looking for whilst judging, apart from a good piece of music, is clarity of intent in the score because I will have to in effect perform it, this means as detailed a score as possible regarding articulations and dynamics. If I feel there is a problem with the scoring in terms of balance or performance on an instrument, I will gladly liaise with the composer in order to find a solution they are happy with. 

You can submit more than one work if you wish, but not with the same alias and you can submit a work previously posted on this forum. If you are interested please let me know in this thread. 
  Entrants should then submit mp3 and full score for each piece they enter and forum members will then be asked to vote for their three favourite pieces, the winner will be chosen from the top three. If the interest is there, I will sort out the next anonymous posting phase using Gavs’ advice and set-up procedures.

Deadline for entrants to register - 15th September

Deadline for entrants submission - 30th January

Here is a well known piece programmed by me in order to give you an idea of the quality of the samples I will use on the winning piece. There are 2 files, one is live, the other isn't. I didn't try too hard to create an exact replica of the live recording and it is possible to tell the difference, but they are pretty close. Also this file has no mastering applied to it, which will be done by Ray on the winning piece. Hopefully this will entice a few more entrants.

Any questions, please ask here and I shall endeavour to answer, as an added bonus, it will also bump the thread. 


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Here it is where there are a few notes beginning flat (just about)

Not familiar with the music. (There were a lot of Baroque composers). Personally, I much prefer a faster, flatter vibrato. I think that the little portamentos at :50 would have been uncharacteristic for the period. It's definitely an acceptable sound, though. Different strokes, I guess.

I never talk about whiskey. Just drink it. It's more of a liver thing than a heart thing.

I'm going to duck out on you now, Ray. It was very nice to chat with you about these things.


Oh! one more thing. Is the flute vibrato a pitch variant or actually a tremolo? As closely as I've listened, I can't really tell. Physics tells me that it has to be a tremolo. (There shouldn't be any way to bend a note on a straight metal tube).

Ennio Morricone is obviously not from the baroque period but not having my DAW running I couldn't give an example specific to your requirements. The developer of the Strad to which I refer is a cardiologist and I have issues with my arteries. Whisky is the medication NOT! :)

panning the Strad in favor of an instrument called "LASS FC" (I never heard of it before).

Yes, well it was hybrid sample modelling but it's discontinued. The developers Samplemodeling now do what they call SWAM sound modelling but I'm not sure it works as well as the original Kontakt based libraries

Pls see :

LASS FC is L A Scoring Strings First Chair 2, and its put out by audiobro, and can be purchased at their site.

Thanks Bob

Thanks for the input, Bob. I didn't see any mentions of non-vibrato samples. In any event, I'm unlikely to find an instrument that would make me want to shell out more bucks on instruments. I've spent enough.

yo Mike, is that a British expression.... folk off? : >/

I had decided to sit back and see how this 'contest' developed.

It was a generous offer. Sorry you didn't get enough participants.

Just out of curiousity, how many combined hrs. would you and Ray

have had to invest-(thereabouts) once a piece was picked from the

parade of potential participants?

I had written a 5 min. piece for another contest that I would love to 'enhance'

but don't have the equipment to do that.

It probably wouldn't qualify for this contest, but once enhanced, I was then

going to add some video and try to 'package' it as potentially marketable.

(actually, I was going to post it on You Tube for free) as a learning experience,

and for the feedback.

ps- with the lack of forum participation, maybe the 'pick one out of the hat'

would be the way to go with something like this. Composers can't choose other

composers music objectively... they are much too biased.  lol

Anyway, thanks for the offer.   RS

Mike Hewer said:

Some food for thought there. Perhaps the rules where too daunting, Perhaps ths NS v Daw spat damaged its image and put folk off. Maybe it should have been just an invitation with a lucky dip ( I like that one). I did pm some infrequent members, but got no response there.
@ Dave,
No sins to forgive.
I once said do you know who I am to my wife, she told me to f*** off and go and make her a coffee....

Youre welcome Art:)

Thanks Bob

Art Lowell said:

Thanks for the input, Bob. I didn't see any mentions of non-vibrato samples. In any event, I'm unlikely to find an instrument that would make me want to shell out more bucks on instruments. I've spent enough.


For a composer that was terrible timing  :-). ...sorry, but glad you showed some interest.


Funny, but I tend to use that expression in its purest form.

I can't speak for Ray on this, but I reckon for a 5 min. piece and assuming it was for full orchestra, I'd spend around 4 days to get it just so. I would then have a day or two away from it, come back with fresh ears and clean up any issues. At that stage I would get the winner involved, send them a wip and sort out issues that arise there. When I and the winner were ok with it, I would have sent it to Ray, asked him if he thought any tweaks where needed to the mix in terms of ambience, balance etc. and once he was happy, let him do his thing. Then post the final mix here in mp3 form and get a cd quality mix to the winner so they could burn cds if they wished. So much for the best laid plans eh..

I too like Bob P's suggestion for a lucky dip...maybe next time if there is one.

Although I'm trying to grasp things as quick as I can, still questions are coming up…

Ray, Mike, anyone in the know can you give a little clarification. Thanks.

Can I export from Sibelius the music as written, all the staves and import into a DAW, or is it better or only possible to extract midi or XML files?

After all necessary work has been done on a DAW what do I do then? How to I re-import it again into Sibelius? In what file format? And how do I synchronize it with the score?

Sorry for my confusion and ignorance and thanks for your patience.

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