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In this contest, members were invited to write a piece based on the idea of "Dancing." Please vote on which you think are the top three entries and offer comments if you have any. Deadline to vote is 03/27/19 at 5 pm EST. Also, do join us on the Composers' Forum after the winners are announced for a discussion about the works in the contest!

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The deadline has passed and the voting period is over. Thanks to all who entered and who voted! Results will be posted 3/28


Composer 01 is George Abbott
Composer 02 is Jon Corelis
Composer 03 is Saul Gefen
Composer 04 is Edward Schaffer
Composer 05 is Ali Riza
Composer 06 is Michael Uhlenkott
Composer 07 is Jostein Kauserud
Composer 08 is Jos Wylin
Composer 09 is Irina Narkevitch
Composer 10 is Stefan Winterstein
Composer 11 is Nancy Tucker
Composer 12 is Kjell Prytz
Composer 13 is Tillmann Jacobi
Composer 14 is Tony Warnocko
Composer 16 is Tim Smith
Composer 17 is Rich Hill
Composer 18 is Jan-Frederik Carl
Composer 19 is Graeme Helliwell
Composer 20 is Paul Mitchell-Davidson
Composer 21 is Claudio Angeletti
Composer 22 is Victor Eijkhout
Composer 23 is Stanley King

Next: Voting Results


Methodology: Voters were asked to pick their #1, #2, and #3 choices. For each #1 vote, entrants got 3 points, for each #2 vote, 2 points, and for each #3 vote, 1 point. Whomever has the most points wins!

WINNER: Composer 11 Nancy Tucker - Dance of the Midnight Mouse - 27 points
2ND PLACE: Composer 15 RAMON CAPSADA BLANCH - Dancing to your own tune - 20 points
3RD PLACE: Composer 23 Stanley King - Dancing Militia - 14 points

Other entrants:

Composer 01 George Abbott - Bolero - 12 points
Composer 08 Jos Wylin - Balletto-Dansa A-B-C - 9 points
Composer 09 Irina Narkevitch - The Old Music Box - 9 points
Composer 14 Tony Warnock - El Gato - 9 points
Composer 20 Paul Mitchell-Davidson - It Takes Two (Minutes) To Tango - 8 points
Composer 06 Michael Uhlenkott - Gigue - 6 points
Composer 10 Stefan Winterstein - Totentanz - 6 points
Composer 21 Claudio Angeletti - Minuetto a Maria Teresa - 6 points
Composer 22 Victor Eijkhout - Rondo - 6 points
Composer 09 Irina Narkevitch - The Rain - 5 points
Composer 13 Tillmann Jacobi - GyMINUETpedie No 1 - 5 points
Composer 03 Saul Gefen - Waltz Romantique - 5 points
Composer 06 Michael Uhlenkott - Allegretto Scherzando - 5 points
Composer 16 Tim Smith - Spring Dance - 4 points
Composer 17 Rich Hill - Courante For Alto Sax & Piano - 4 points
Composer 18 Jan-Frederik Carl - Romantic Waltz - 4 points
Composer 02 Jon Corelis - Two Irish Dances for Flute, Violin, and Piano - 2 points
Composer 07 Jostein Kauserud - Dnccntst - 2 points
Composer 16 Tim Smith - Kick Off Yer Shoes - 2 points
Composer 04 Edward Schaffer - Waltz - no votes
Composer 05 Ali Riza - Dance Suite - no votes
Composer 12 Kjell Prytz - Grus Grus Waltz - no votes
Composer 19 Graeme Helliwell - Where Sea and Cliffs Collide - no votes

WINNERS Will be contacted regarding their prizes.
Next: Comments from voters

What a decisive win for Nancy Tucker, congratulations!

I was amazed by the enormous diversity of pieces, from the minimalistic to the elaborate, from the traditional to the experimental, from the serious to the LOL character and from the choice of small ensemble to some large scale settings. I feel that it seems harsh, that some works got very low or no ratings - this should not mean, that the effort or outcome were worthless; the winners were, clearly, just very, very strong.

Well done everybody!

Congrats to the winners and all that obligatory blah. Here are my notes.

01 Bolero: I love it! Full of energy, bit like the famous Sabre Dance. Not sure about the balance between the instruments though. The screaming clarinet in the beginning and the piano later on sound louder than I would imagine them in an actual orchestra.

02 Irish Dances: a stately dance and one faster dance. Very pretty. My main complaint is that Irish flute playing is almost a science in its approach to ornamentation. If you are going to use a flute in Irish music you should acknowledge that fact.

03 Waltz romantique: Chopin for two guitars? Very elegant and I love how you keep the tonal idiom interesting by all the harmonic side-steps.

04 Waltz: based on a pretty dark brown phrase. Somewhere around 0:40 the solo and the accompaniment seem to get out of sync. Weird.

05 Dance Suite: very cool, a Balkan 9 as 2+2+2+3. Unfortunately the way you orchestrate it I never get the pulse.

06 Allegretto Scherzando: a Mozart era salon dance? Very nice. I was just thinking about the 4-bar phrases would be excellently danceable and then you throw in an extra measure hesitation. Hah. Nifty. Now about that piano. That makes it more a concertante piece, maybe the scherzo movement from a piano concerto. But then I'd expect some more virtuosity.

06 Gigue: chapeau! A fugue like Bach would have written. Very cool.

07 Dnccntst: I’m not sure that I’m getting the dance.

08 Balletto: I like the waltz. Especially the flute intermezzo. That has a good contrasting color to the string section before it.

09 Rain: the raindrops are dancing? It’s pretty.

10 Totentanz: good use of electronic sounds to enhance the mood.

11 Midnight Mouse: nice piece of fingerpicking guitar.

12 Grus Grus waltz: intriguing piece. You notate 3/4 which suggests a very slow waltz, but most of the time it actually feels like 6/8 and a fast waltz. In that case you need to correct a lot of your beaming. There’s a bunch of double stops in the strings that look unplayable to me, and they don’t seem necessary. But kudos for writing a very melodic piece.

13 GyMinuetPedi: Ha! That’s funny.

14 El Gato: that got my hips moving! Very different and very good.

15 Your own tune: Very cool how the disjoint notes form a continuing line. Some of the notations are criminal though. Never give this to real musicians.

16 Kick off yer shoes. Sounds too disjointed to me.

16 Spring dance. Inspired by English/Irish folk dancing? Cool stuff, but stays on the tonic for too long.

17 Courante: this could be a fun piece for saxophone trio, but written for piano it feels unidiomatic.

18 Romantic waltz. A whole bunch of 4-bar phrases but I’m not sensing a structure larger than that.

19 Sea cliffs. Is that an ABA structure with an extremely short B? Which is sea or cliff? I do like the B part.

20 Two minutes to tango. Very nifty, this stylized tango. Btw, the way a tango is danced you take one step per two quarter notes. At 100 that makes you fall over. Tango is typically danced 120 or slightly over.

21 Minuetto. Charming.

22 Rondo. That was different.

23. Militia. Nifty. I like the way it builds. Note that basses and horns are transposing instruments. Your basses should be written an octave up from what you have, horns a fifth up or down. Consult a textbook.

If it is of any use, here my notes:

  1. A little too repetitive for me after the first 30 seconds, which were “wow”.

  2. I feel that is always a bit of a risk in casting Irish tunes into a classic structure, without making them sound a bit robotic. However, as already said, if the violinist and flautist are experienced, they may pep it up nicely with ornamentation. I am not a pianist, but the piano part sounds a bit strained or strange to me here; possibly somewhat unrewarding to play.

  3. Nicely done, could be good tune for a film, or a computer game. It is just not particularly different to many other waltzes out there., though

  4. Another one of those waltzes. I am not quite sure for which instrumentation this was really written for.

  5. This has got something nicely oriental about it, which probably will sound a lot better when played by real people

  6. This piece must have time-travelled directly from Vienna in 1782! Respect to be able to (re-) create something like this!

    6) ...Gigue: and this one must be from Leipzig in!

  7. I thought for a moment if this was a melody put into Sibelius software with the “add block chords automatically” function switched on. However, I am sure that the composer put some thought into it, and it could well serve as a practice piece for young piano students.

  8. This was actually one of my favourites initially - again a time travel piece (Renaissance this time). I suppose, there could have been potential to prep it a la Schnittke and transform it into something really quite extraordinary. Nevertheless, a lovely sound.

  9. Another waltz. It could have almost featured in the film “Amelie” or such. A nice piece to study for young piano students, I would think.

    9) A really sweet miniature, in the same spirit, well done!

  10. This is a very efficient use of the old Amiga Soundtracker with samples – and humerous as well!

  11. Admittedly, at first I thought, this was tricked a bit and not really playable for a guitarist – but it is. Really witty and artistic, so that there was little choice than to give it its well deserved points!

  12. Another Waltz, eh? The composer is probably not a string player. The key is unncessarily diabolical to read and play for strings. The double stops needs to be distributed between the voices, as they are often not really playable, and the jumps (e.g in the 'cellos, bar 19 onwards etc.) are unnecessarily difficult.

  13. I really liked the idea – but then, it is my own piece. I bet that many here will shoot it down in flames and dismiss it as a silly prank, but I think it was fun. I am beginner, okay, so, it was actually a bit of a challenge to work out some of the chords to keep them going smoothly, but not too smoothly.

  14. This could be a really cool piece for a Youth Orchestra, I thought, as it is a bit exotic, dynamic, fun and fresh.

  15. An interesting piece and well crafted – I would not really fully know how to dance to it, but, actually, this does not really matter

  16. Certainly a different style to the rest, not sure if it ever will be played by real people

    16) I felt that this tune was missing a singer. Nice, though.

  17. I could not really warm to this one, but that is just me. It is put together well, perhaps it is just the sound

  18. Another one of those waltzes. I am not sure that some of the modulations are worked so well, and the end is rather odd.

  19. The string parts from bar 21 onwards are a true killer; why put something so difficult into a piece, that could otherwise work well for a Youth Orchestra or such?

  20. One of my favourites (the more I listened to it) – efficient, gripping and atmospheric.

  21. A sweet, greeting nod into the past (early classical)...even though it is also another waltz.

  22. Well crafted – I believe it is actually quite hard to write something like this for a single melody instrument! I enjoyed it, even though some may think, it sounds almost like a practice piece.

  23. The possible war-reference in the title disturbed / distracted me personally, I have to admit. It is a cool piece with good orchestration and build up. It could work great for a computer game or a film.


Composer 03 - Waltz Romantique
This piece is quite elegant with a single instrument managing it all. The form is traditional with interesting quirks.

Composer 09 - The Old Music Box
It reminds me of a Tim Burton movie. A rit at the end to indicate the music box winding down I think would work well.

Composer 11 - Dance of the Midnight Mouse
Most 'animated and colorful

Composer 11 - Dance of the Midnight Mouse
Excellent composition and performance, superb recording (close, tidy and highly detailed). The solo guitar fills the room with brilliance.

Composer 13 - GyMINUETpedie No 1
This is more an arrangement than a composition, but this is such a fun idea and well executed. Satie himself would have probably liked it!

Composer 15 - Dancing to your own tune
Work of genius! Love the taunting and constant tease. Made me dance more than most, possibly due to the constant in and out.

Composer 15 - Dancing to your own tune
High-quality music.

Composer 15 - Dancing to your own tune
Initially attracted by lack of a time signature, suggesting something different, new. It was.


Composer 08 - Balletto-Dansa A-B-C
Classical style, genuine composition with 3 varied little themes. Beautifully polished orchestral sound in a natural setting.

Composer 09 - The Rain
This piece reminds me of piano music used in films these days but has a nice development which is more classical.

Composer 10 - Totentanz
This evokes memories of good old times in the 1980s and 1990s with the Commodore Amiga. It is a well constructed piece.

Composer 11 - Dance of the Midnight Mouse
Superb bit of playing. Got me on my feet!

Composer 14 - El Gato
I like the interplay of the rhythm between the clarinet and the accompaniment. @1:11 (bars 34 and 35 I think) there is a scale on the clarinet that in my opinion is too discordant with the rest of the piece.

Composer 20 - It Takes Two (Minutes) To Tango
Not a true tango, but really appreciated its intertwining melodies and romantic climaxes. Reminded me of the wonderful scores from Hollywood's golden era.


Composer 01 - Bolero
Interesting and original.

Composer 06 - Allegretto Scherzando
Reminds me of Pride and Prejudice - that era. It seems very familiar. @1:17 the is a delay that I think doesn't work. The clarinet is a bit too dominant and the piano a bit to retiring. - Just my opinion.

Composer 08 - Balletto-Dansa A-B-C
Schnittke comes to mind. It is very well orchestrated and it sounds like real fun. Hopefully it is to be played by a real orchestra some time.

Composer 20 - It Takes Two (Minutes) To Tango
Good composition and arrangement in a decent performance.

Composer 22 - Rondo
A clever variation on rondo form with interesting chromaticisms and modulations, rhythmic changes and humor.

Composer 23 - Dancing Militia
It's different.


Thank you. I'll just remark that before Casals the Bach cello suites were considered only useful as exercises :-)

Overall I see that we agree on many of the pieces... Including noting unidiomaticalities (?) in the writing of some pieces.

Tillerich said:

  1. Well crafted – I believe it is actually quite hard to write something like this for a single melody instrument! I enjoyed it, even though some may think, it sounds almost like a practice piece.

As a dancer of some amount of skill I've long resigned myself to the fact that  barely any seriously composed "dance music" is danceable.

Gav Brown said:

Composer 20 - It Takes Two (Minutes) To Tango
Not a true tango,

Congratulations to the winners!

1.Bolero- I could see this music being performed by a full orchestra with some kind of a drama dance combination. It was well put together and kept moving at a good pace. The composition choices in it give it a mysterious interesting feel. Well deserving of kudos.

2. Two Irish Dances- I hope the composer will take this with a grain of salt. Nothing personal here. I liked the music. It does have a semblance of "Irish" to it. As a part time Irish musician playing Irish fiddle music I see lots of Irish dances and none of them are anything like this. I think it stands well on it's own as a nice 6/8 dance tune though. 

3. Romanique- I like the old world feel this composition has and it definitely qualifies as dance music. 

4.Waltz- I liked this violin centered piece.2 minutes really wasn't enough time to fully develop some of these tunes and I think this is the case with this one. I could see it going more places musically with more time. As a piece for dance I would love to see it developed more.

5. Dance Suite- This worked well for me as "orchestral dance". The percussion is really the only thing that seems to separates it as a dance work. Having said that it all works together well and the percussion makes it.

6.Allegretto Scherzando- A great period sounding orchestral dance piece. The piano and woodwind highlights were combined in an excellent way with the strings which displayed a lot of motion. Not sure what a dance to this would look like, but then I am not a study of old dance.

6.Gigue- To my ears this didn't sound like anything related to dance.I think I have a tough time resolving a dance to a church organ. I LOVE the music though!

7. Dnccntst- Nice piano melody foundation. 

8.Balleto-Dansa- I find this intriguing from the start. I think it is excellent work. It fits well as dance . Also shows the composers depth for adding such mix complexity or mix of instruments in only two minutes.Certainly not lively dance, but dance just the same.

9. The Rain- Beautiful piano composition. How much this relates to dance is probably subjective.

11. Dance of the Midnight Mouse- The guitar playing here is excellent as was the music. As dance music though I though it focused too much on the guitar itself and not enough on dance.The guitar seems to be more of a focus than dancing. Would people be looking at the guitarist or watching the dancers?

12.Grus Grus- Great strings with that underlying Om Pa Pa waltz feel.

13 GyMINUET- .I liked the composition and the way it was assembled. It sounds too much like something else to me though so in my thinking it isn't entirely original.

14.El Gato - Nice departure in using a clarinet as the lead instrument. Not something I commonly find in dance music.The percussion work here stands this one out as a strictly dance number. I think a dance tune needs some kind of a rhythm behind it.

15.Dancing to your own tune- This is a nice composition . No association to dance it it for me personally.

16 This was one of mine so I didn't vote on it. When I submitted it I didn't know we only had a 2 minute limit. I edited something that was over 3 minutes, so I think it lost some wind as a result. I have the full version I haven't linked it here.I happen to like it, but that goes without saying :) 

16. This was another of mine. Also heavily edited to fit the 2 minute limit.

17. Courante For Alto Sax- Very nice composition. Great choice of instruments. Using the dance litmus though I had a tough time feeling it.

18. Romantic Waltz- I enjoyed this one. Has the rhythm necessary for dance. It was mostly predictable as compared to similar pieces for me. Not bad, actually well done.

19. Where The Sea And Cliffs Collide- Seriously nice composition. Just can't resolve it to dance. I know it's subjective.

20. It Takes Two- I pick up on connotations of something more theatrical in context. In other words not a dance for everyone, something choreographed sill dance though and it would fit that context well.

21. Ritratto- Even though this is a simple construct I get a definite sense of rhythm. Has a medieval flavor to it in the beginning. crossing over to a different motif, then returning to the beginning That says a lot for something only two minutes long. Very well done.

Dance of the Midnight Mouse was my absolute favorite from the beginning.

I can't publish my notes here, since they were in Dutch and translating everything would be very time consuming.

Anyway, such a contest opens our view on different styles and approaches, instrumentations and techniques. A wonderful experience for sure! But it was a tough job comparing all these styles, orchestration levels or solo, recording and performance qualities, trying to stay objective... We call it comparing lemons to apples.

(#Tillerich: small correction: my Balletto is strictly classical and has nothing to do with Renaissance...)


D'r zijn hier nog wel meer Nederlanders!

Jos Wylin said:

I can't publish my notes here, since they were in Dutch and translating everything would be very time consuming.

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