Music Composers Unite!
Hi, my name is Viktharien. I am a composer who currently resides in Texas, USA. I have sort of lost my groove, you could say, in composition. I used to compose all the time and for a living at one point in my life. However, for the last few years I feel like I've been in a funk. I start many pieces but never finish them.
So, I suppose I'm here to listen to others, get inspired, and to finish some music.
Good to meet you.
When you were making a living at it, what did you do? Any samples from that time you can share with us?
I was a pianist/composer performing in Portland, Oregon. I was mainly playing as a "saloon" pianist at coffee shops and bars, but I only performed my own work. The highlight of my career was playing for the mayor of Portland of the time. I believe it was either January or February of 2015.
Before that, I played at a lot of charities and small personal concerts for groups of no larger than 30 people.
My living was made in tips. Nothing glorious. After that, though, I haven't made a penny in composition or performance. Mainly because I haven't been able to focus on it I guess (or I don't have the ability anymore).
This piece was written and performed in 2014 - 2015 during the time I am speaking of:
Reminds me of Satie with a little something else on top of it, and does hang together. Emblematic of your style?
As far as not composing. For me at least, the well runs dry at times. I once went for almost 10 years without composing much of anything. Eventually it did come back.
As a suggestion, maybe you could try listening to some new things, things you've not heard before. What those things might be or where you would go to listen to them is hard to say. If you'd like a few suggestions, name what your influences are and I'd be happy to offer some new directions to explore (and perhaps some others on this board might hop on this thread and share as well).
Yeah, that is close to what I would consider my current style. I've tried to cultivate my own sound, but you can hear my influences through it.
That piece in particular was influenced by Satie's Gymnopedies series, Tchaikovsky's Valse Sentimentale, Schubert's Moments Musicaux series. It was also inspired by a modern German composer Stephen Beneking's valse series.
I am glad you were able to return to composition from so long. Makes me hopeful.
In general, though, in my early compositions I was mostly influenced by Mozart and Beethoven. Mid years I was influenced by Chopin and CPE Bach and by specific pieces (I used to listen to these series and pieces repeatedly). Later years were more impressionist.
These days it is a culmination of all of that plus Yiruma, certain Liszt pieces, Beneking, some Coldplay songs. I follow a specific pattern for structure of my music, but the style may continue to evolve based on influences.
I'd love some suggestions for music to try.
Assuming you want to continue in the vein you are used to writing in, here's a tip I have found useful. Go to YouTube, type the name of a composer you like and listen to a few pieces by that composer at least half-way through. YouTube will present similar works by other composers in the same genre. If you click some of those and listen to them also at least halfway through, YouTube will keep presenting you with more and more composers. You have to kind of experiment with it, but it's a good way to expose yourself to new works.
If you're looking for something completely different than what you are used to, you can search on more generic terms, rather than specific names, such as "20th century piano composers." The principle of discovery is similar - listen to a few pieces and follow what is presented.
Thank you for the tips, Gav. I'll do that.