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This piece was really fun to write. I was trying to learn about orchestration, so I wanted to put together a chord for a full orchestra. Everything after that was just kept adding notes on instinct. Somewhere around measure 7 or 8 I decided it should be a rondo, so I had some sort of structure to it. Any advice or improvements are welcome. There are a couple weird artifacts from MuseScore where I hear notes being played that aren't in the score; I plan to import the MIDI files into Reaper and play around with it sometime in the present/future. 

Side note: I called this piece, "Work in Progress" because that's what it was when I wrote it. Does anyone else have trouble coming up with titles for pieces? I usually just put the first word I think of. For example, in college I wrote a piano piece that I called "Sociolingustics." How do you decide on titles?

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Excellent work. I had a look at the score and presume you didn’t transpose the transposing instruments – fine by me LOL it make things that little bit easier!

I had a few small comments to make thanks to you presenting a score, hope I’m forgiven making them. It is, after all, your work so please feel free to disregard them entirely.

I noticed a slight inconsistency in doubling which may be by design. In bar 4 for instance, the WW stop doubling the flute up to the close (just before A) whereas in bars 19-21 the doubling extends to the cadence. You’ll probably get away with the Flute 2 part in bar 21 falling to the low E as the dynamic is mp. As an important note in the harmony (the 3rd) it’s vying against quite a lot – the trumpets and clarinets for instance – supported only by the low E in the violas. (Pray you don’t mind me making a suggestion but a more balanced effect could be dropping the Clarinet 2 part to the E and giving Flute 2 the G).  

The brass dovetailing in bar 29 on works well at p. Well, there are many interesting doublings sometimes at 2 octaves apart and the way you turn a unison into an oboe solo at bar 82 is a nice touch. Should that be marked at the same volume as Violin 1 there? I couldn’t quite work out why at letter E the cellos are playing straight detaché while the violas are spiccato or staccato. Was that to give a slight accent? And in the last bars the brass might sound better if dovetailed as in bar 29.

No matter, I won’t keep on. It’s a pleasant piece easy to listen to; may need a little polish here and there but it works well.

Thanks for the listen and particularly for the score. (I have yet to find out how to do pdfs. Doesn’t help that I still compose on paper!)

Thanks for responding! I most definitely did not transpose, though I do play trumpet and understand it. When I wrote it I though, "Who am I trying to impress?" and clicked that "Concert Pitch" button. For clarity, I'll address your questions and comments in line with your response. I couldn't find a text-color button, so I'll respond in bold.



Dane Aubrun said:

Excellent work. I had a look at the score and presume you didn’t transpose the transposing instruments – fine by me LOL it make things that little bit easier!

I had a few small comments to make thanks to you presenting a score, hope I’m forgiven making them. It is, after all, your work so please feel free to disregard them entirely. Your (and anyone's) input is why I posted this here, so it is all appreciated.

I noticed a slight inconsistency in doubling which may be by design. In bar 4 for instance, the WW stop doubling the flute up to the close (just before A) whereas in bars 19-21 the doubling extends to the cadence. This was written a while back, so I don't remember my original intentions. In playing with it tonight, I decided I like the texture best as is; I think I was going for a softening effect to ease into the main theme, or something.

You’ll probably get away with the Flute 2 part in bar 21 falling to the low E as the dynamic is mp. As an important note in the harmony (the 3rd) it’s vying against quite a lot – the trumpets and clarinets for instance – supported only by the low E in the violas. (Pray you don’t mind me making a suggestion but a more balanced effect could be dropping the Clarinet 2 part to the E and giving Flute 2 the G). Pray you don't mind suggesting away! I don't remember considering instrument ranges too much when writing this (other than trumpet, which I'm familiar with), so that was a helpful comment. I did switch the clarinet and flute parts as suggested. It sounds basically the same, but I gather will be more comfortable for the players--you know, if it ever gets played by real people.

The brass dovetailing in bar 29 on works well at p. You mention "dovetailing" later on as well, and I'm not quite sure what you're specifically referring to in this context. Well, there are many interesting doublings sometimes at 2 octaves apart and the way you turn a unison into an oboe solo at bar 82 is a nice touch. Thank you! It was fun coming up with random ideas of, "This might sound neat" and adding them in. Should that be marked at the same volume as Violin 1 there? Doubtful. I changed the violins to mf to let the oboe stand out more. I couldn’t quite work out why at letter E the cellos are playing straight detaché while the violas are spiccato or staccato. Was that to give a slight accent? I think so. I changed it around a few ways; full detaché was too legato feeling (not enough punch), and full staccato was missing too much body. And in the last bars the brass might sound better if dovetailed as in bar 29. I played around with the brass a little in this section, and I think you're right, but again, clarification on "dovetail" will help immensely. 

No matter, I won’t keep on. It’s a pleasant piece easy to listen to; may need a little polish here and there but it works well. Thank you! I think playing a lot of 2nd and 3rd trumpet parts helped develop my ear to where I hear a lot of (what I consider) interesting counter melodies and harmonies when I'm composing the melody. I posted this piece precisely because I know I need polishing. My appreciation for your time in listening and commenting cannot be overstated!

Thanks for the listen and particularly for the score. (I have yet to find out how to do pdfs. Doesn’t help that I still compose on paper!) Oh, that's super easy. All you have to do is write out copies and then mail them to everyone on the internet... In all seriousness though, any cell phone picture of a score written in a reasonably dark ink and in decent lighting should turn out a file you can upload. 

Dovetailing is about interleaving pairs (or more) of instruments. The idea is to produce a better blend of sound.

Like, if you have a common chord, say, g4 b d g5 and two flutes and oboes, you could lay it out in ascending order Ob Fl Ob Fl. (Dovetailing). Just as you could score it without dovetailing: as Ob Ob Fl Fl – or Fl Fl Ob Ob (the worst option).  

It’s a little complicated because whether it sounds ok depends on where the chord is placed (in the high, low or middle register) and how loud it is. If that chord was an octave higher and fortissimo that dovetailing example wouldn’t work well – Ob (strong) Fl (moderately strong) Ob (weak) Fl (very strong). So a better scoring would be Ob Ob Fl Fl.

So take the sonic characteristics of winds, particularly woodwinds into account. Like, the flute weakens towards its bottom notes and is shrill at the top. Oboes are weak in their top 5th, strong in their lowest 4th and raucous on the bottom two notes. Bassoons also “double reeds” are roughly the same as oboes. Clarinets can play at any dynamic except their top 5th when they tend to be shrill. They blend with almost anything.  If you had a chord c4 (middle c) e g c5, two horns and clarinets then: Hn Cl Hn Cl would sound nice at most volumes up to forte. So would Cl Hn Cl Hn. Either would sound more blended than say, Hn Hn Cl Cl.  

No need to dovetail the strings because of their homogeneity of sound and ability to play from quietest to loudest - though you’ll see two divisi (divided) sections sometimes dovetailed.  

Disclaimer. There are many exceptions/situations so please bear in mind I’m just answering the question with a couple of examples in as few words as possible!

That makes perfect sense. I think I had a general idea of what you were implying, but this explanation clears it up very nicely. Thank you! 

I will now go see about that ending...

Hey, I am pretty sure there is some more stuff you can squeeze out of this lovely melodic tune, rather than repeating it almost unchanged thoughout. Particularly as you are seeking to write a Rondo, it would be important, as far as I can tell, to create more variation and really "play" with the motif (e.g. stretch it, condense it, imitate it, turn it around and upside down etc.).

Did you get any inspiration from "Candy Crush" by any chance? (sorry that I keep on referring to computer games in almost all responses to you...!).

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