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Here is a piece I've been working on for a while and have finally recorded it. Please note that I am short of a lot of knowledge about music, so please be very elementary when telling me things (if any) about what to improve or do. I create and play totally by ear, so I'm not even sure what key this is in. Sorry about that!  I hope to hear constructive critique about the music, not my learning curve or lack of knowledge or need of instruction. 

I'm open to hearing what others thing and if this seems like a solid piece.

Thanks for listening! :-)

Garden Seduction on SoundCloud

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Thank you for your comments! I understand that it's not very long, I tend to write shorter pieces, thinking of them as "themes" to be elaborated on later perhaps. The "fade in" beginning is supposed to be a cinematic treatment and isn't necessarily a permanent part of the overall piece. Perhaps it's not working, I'm open to dropping it altogether and just having a standard start.  Thanks again!

Keith,

What jumped out at me right away was the recording/mixing/mastering side of things. The opening is extremely quiet and so with that I don't think the fade in accomplishes what you had hoped for. Overall I like the improvisational feel which I tend to be drawn to. I think your music deserves devoting some time (and money of course) into a decent digital setup. I'm happy to give you some recommendations if you decide to go that route. 

-Robert

Keith, I thought this was great music. If you don't mind a completely personal view (to be taken with a pound of salt), I think it's a guitar piece. Also (more salt) it sounds Brazilian to me. I noticed another piece on your soundcloud page called Brazilian Journey and that one did not sound at all Brazilian to me, so I wondered whether you had swapped the sound files by mistake.

Really fine, complex music, even if I'm wrong on everything I've said so far.

Hi Keith,

To answer your last comment first, I did find this to be a solid piece. Some lovely jazz stylings with a delightful and fresh sound. A romantic piece I would say, and perhaps even a love song. As a piano composer myself and one who seeks out the new, I found this piece particularly appealing. I like the way you dip in and out of the main tonality and suggest to you that you continue to explore this angle. Your playing I would describe as ‘pianistic,’ by which I mean a way of using the instrument that only a player can bring, and which I don’t typically hear coming from music written for the instrument by those who don’t play it. If there is one thing I can offer which struck me in the way of critique, it would be to hear the melody brought out a little more, sometimes I felt it got superseded by the accompaniment. Overall a lovely work, thanks for sharing it!

Gav

Thanks, Robert, for your comments. I agree, the mixing/mastering is terribly weak. I've got a Zoom recording device, it's digital, but it converts analog to digital on the fly, so I'm still getting all the "noise". The keyboard has no MIDI capabilities that I know of. I can't record with a mic because then I'd get even more noise plus the keyboard "clacking" as well (I have a Casio Previa, which has a nice sound with earphones on but sounds like crap without).

Yes, the fade in takes too long and I should probably shorten that and get things going sooner. I am living on social security and have some circumstances which prevent me from investing any more to my set up currently, so hacking out things the best I can! :-)  Basically getting these down for posterity while I can, a sort of "here's the basic song, perhaps something more can happen with it someday in someone else' hands" situation. This is by no means meant as a final recording or a finished product. A sketch, perhaps. Thanks again!

Robert Fisher said:

Keith,

What jumped out at me right away was the recording/mixing/mastering side of things. The opening is extremely quiet and so with that I don't think the fade in accomplishes what you had hoped for. Overall I like the improvisational feel which I tend to be drawn to. I think your music deserves devoting some time (and money of course) into a decent digital setup. I'm happy to give you some recommendations if you decide to go that route. 

-Robert

Thanks, Manfred.  Very interesting observations, I am also a guitar player and have composed many pieces on the guitar which I hope to record and share later. Not sure about the "brazilian" angle, but I may be too close to it to see that clearly. Thank you for your nice compliment, either way, very much appreciated.

Manfred Goop said:

Keith, I thought this was great music. If you don't mind a completely personal view (to be taken with a pound of salt), I think it's a guitar piece. Also (more salt) it sounds Brazilian to me. I noticed another piece on your soundcloud page called Brazilian Journey and that one did not sound at all Brazilian to me, so I wondered whether you had swapped the sound files by mistake.

Really fine, complex music, even if I'm wrong on everything I've said so far.

Hello Gav,

First off, thanks so much for your extremely generous compliments. I have been practicing this piece for about 2 years seriously, having written it about 4 years ago and refining the composition without working on the actual playing until then. I have very little formal piano training, so that means a lot to me. 

I am wondering if my lack of training has my left hand (and I'm left-handed) playing a bit too strong, burying the melody by it's "accompaniment" ?  I love lower tones and tend to get a bit heavy-handed with them.  As to the composition itself, I am not sure how to do what you suggest (bring out the melody) as the melody is only the four beginning notes and not much more past that until the middle crescendo? Again, apologies for my lack of music knowledge, I'm open to someone else taking this and expanding it at some point. I'm looking into notational software (freebies) but so far have not found anything that can simply take a WAV file and put it into a score. As I noted, I am just now getting back into this craft, so have a whole world of stuff to get inside my head still.  Again, thank you!


Gav Brown said:

Hi Keith,

To answer your last comment first, I did find this to be a solid piece. Some lovely jazz stylings with a delightful and fresh sound. A romantic piece I would say, and perhaps even a love song. As a piano composer myself and one who seeks out the new, I found this piece particularly appealing. I like the way you dip in and out of the main tonality and suggest to you that you continue to explore this angle. Your playing I would describe as ‘pianistic,’ by which I mean a way of using the instrument that only a player can bring, and which I don’t typically hear coming from music written for the instrument by those who don’t play it. If there is one thing I can offer which struck me in the way of critique, it would be to hear the melody brought out a little more, sometimes I felt it got superseded by the accompaniment. Overall a lovely work, thanks for sharing it!

Gav

Thank you!

MM Coston said:

There are a number of old school "analog" ways of getting a different recording sound if you can line out. One that comes to mind is lining out to a small but good speaker or amp placed in a container open on one or two sides and lined with a chosen material, then mic the container preferably with the equivalent of a 151 but a decent vocal Mic would also work. It would take a bit of trial and error regarding material used, container thickness and size and Mic placement to get the sound you are looking for, though such details might be found with google. You can also use the fundamentals of sound absorption to your advantage and place a physical "filter" between the Mic and sound source for minor adjustments. Or you can intentionally deflect or funnel the sound and pick it up by Mic further away to minimize key noise. Etc.

Hi Keith, I think there might be something to this comment of yours - It's something I also have to watch out for, although sometimes I like to leave the piece as it is. Bet you do too ;)

Keith J Hampton said:


I am wondering if my lack of training has my left hand (and I'm left-handed) playing a bit too strong, burying the melody by it's "accompaniment" ?  I love lower tones and tend to get a bit heavy-handed with them. 

Thanks, Gav.  I think sometimes I get caught up in the music and forget that there needs to be some technical proficiency happening too. There's so much to remember when playing! And that red "record" light doesn't help much! :-)

It sounded genuine and authentic to me. The crisp static in the background provided me with comfort, as if listening in from a somewhat distant room while this was played near by . . .

I think playing on a digital setup would kill it somewhat. You had your own style to the piece, and the other (I had a listen)

Don't worry about having music knowledge. I think you're of the type who would only bring harm to themselves by trying to learn by coming to a base of theory nuts. Who cares. Do what sounds good (which is what you're already doing) Don't kill your natural touch and style by trying to understand what you're doing. Just do it- it sounds amazing. 

Thanks, EE for your nice compliments.  I'm not worried about the music knowledge, but I prefaced with that knowing this site has a lot of very technically proficient composers who might start to want to "teach".  :-)  I am very comfortable with where I am in my music (other than my playing ability) and feel like raw creative ability should not be tampered with. I've seen a lot of great musicians in my time who could play anything and knew all about scoring - but could not write anything original. I'm also sure there is a blend of both sides in many.

Agreed, I don't think there would be anything gained in making this MIDI and having all of the character removed.  I am hoping to get more critique on my other piece, I'm adding some bass and layering in some other parts soon on that one. Thanks again.

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