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Hello Composer's Forum,

 

I am new, both to composition and to the forum. I have written music for about a year. It has been a great hobby and has brought much joy to my dull life.

I began working on this concerto on Sunday, and I finished the first movement this morning. It has been very fun composing in this 'quasi-baroque' style, and I'm considering delving deeper to gain a better understanding of the genre.

Enjoy.

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Nice melody line.  If you're going to do this in the Baroque style, I just suggest more counterpoint and variation, e.g. play with register, dynamic, articulation, note lengths, etc.   

Good initial idea and very good counter-melody and imitation. However I would suggest that it needs more variety, in key for example - as the initial descending idea get too repetitive after about ten times. You could easily do something sequential with this melodic idea.

I agree with Lara and Adrian that this piece has great potential. Its theme is certainly fine. There is much to enjoy already in the imitative and non-imitative dialogues between voices, and there are many other fine details which I very much admired in the piece. However, one great idea repeated does not a satisfying piece make. Most tonal musical journeys begin at home, move into the unknown and return home. Your tonal journey doesn't get very far from home and spends a lot of its energy going over the same territory and then doing it again. Could that same theme be mated with a contrasting theme to create a sense of departure? Could the initial theme be carried into new tonal centers so that we feel like we're going somewhere with it rather than just hearing it again? Could there be rhythmic and melodic and contrapuntal variations that were marked enough to create a sense of diversity while still maintaining unity? You definitely have composed a worthwhile and interesting theme. The question I have for you is can you send it on a musically satisfying journey? Nonetheless, I appreciate the work you have put into this piece and wish you the best!

Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate the feedback, and I'll especially consider the analogy presented by August. I've never thought of music that way, as if the development was a sort of 'journey' which the music must undergo (this must be especially prevalent in the concerto, as the soloist must go through much of the journey alone). Again, thank you all. 

Updated: Added more variation and "drama" at the cost of some of it's cohesiveness.

I'll take a different approach.

I would suggest polytonal lines, in unrelated keys.  Just try it and see how it sounds.

Something like this, maybe:

See link below, to an mp3. It's about one minute long.

(This is excerpt from an experiment, not an actual composition, but just to demonstrate the principle).

Listen for the entry of the harpsichord, and then the piano, after the flutes.  Watch how the baroque atmosphere disappears and returns.

We all live in the 21st century after all, so I hope you don't mind me making such a suggestions as these:

Yes, learn from the Baroque composers, but ask yourself, can you learn from them while wandering outside of their sound universe, if only for a few seconds in the piece you have written, to put a slightly more personal imprint upon what you have written.  Just a thought to consider.

Consider a richer orchestral palate.

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very good indeed. I like baroque a lot, and you seem to have approached an early form of it, before the exquisite counterpoint and tonal movements of bach.  thoughIt does remind me something of the branderburgs. That's not bad, but it can be your next target. I would remove the contra basso and add a harpsichord instead, it will offer that baroqueish sound and richen the sound, give more attack to it and since it has two registers, allow for some interesting counterpoint. And remove some of that reverb too.

I have to dissagree with Odnib. His aim sounds pretty specific. A light, easy flowing chamber orchestra piece, loyal to the old, not fully developed harmonies and tonalities. I'm perfectly fine with it (and I like it). Suggesting that because we are in the 21st century we should start aimlessly wondering around tonalities, have incoherent passages and unfitting dissonances is like saying "Allright boy, time to grow up from that miserable violin of yours; man up and grab your minimoog.", just because this is the 21st century and not the 50s of classical music. 

Develop the tonal movement yes, play with some chromatic movement, yes, add something a bit more bold, yes, be incoherent and throw random notes just to say "I'm Avante-garde", no freaking no.

note: let us not make this thread a fight about how good or bad 21st century music is and keep it focused on the piece.

Spyrus, 

 

You said,

 

"Suggesting that because we are in the 21st century we should start aimlessly wondering around tonalities, have incoherent passages and unfitting dissonances is like saying "All right boy, time to grow up from that miserable violin of yours; man up and grab your minimoog.", just because this is the 21st century and not the 50s of classical music. 

 

"Develop the tonal movement yes, play with some chromatic movement, yes, add something a bit more bold, yes, be incoherent and throw random notes just to say "I'm Avante-garde", no freaking no.”

 

With all due respect, Spyros, I believe you are misinterpreting my position entirely.

 

I did not say to Jeremy Glover, we should “aimlessly wander around tonalities,” or anything like that.  Nor did I advocate the creation of “incoherent passages,” or “unfitting dissonances.” 

 

I made three specific suggestions, which included wandering outside of the Baroque tonality that had been established (not wandering aimlessly, but going outside the standard framework with a purpose).   The purpose, I said, was to place a more “personal imprint” on the piece.  I also suggested the use of polytonality. I did not even remotely imply that anything in the violin concerto should be deliberately “incoherent,” rather I believe that the artist can employ polytonality in a completely coherent fashion, as Darius Milhaud, Serge Prokofiev and countless others have done, for almost one hundred years.   If that seems ultra avant-garde to you, in and of itself, I don’t really understand why.   (Perhaps Jeremy can tell us what he thinks about that issue.)  Nor did I speak of, or imply anything other than the use of dissonances that would be “fitting” or coherent.  Again, this has been part of the Western tradition for over about one hundred years, since Stravinsky.  

 

You said my aim in offering comments on this piece “sounds pretty specific.”  Again, you may have unintentionally misread my remarks. 

 

In speaking to Jeremy Glover, I used such phrases and words as “I would suggest,” and “consider...”

 

My aim was actually very general, though I made suggestions that the composer might make use of, if he chose to do so.  Even those suggestions were of a very general nature.

 

They were not all that radically different from yours:

 

“Develop the tonal movement yes, play with some chromatic movement, yes, add something a bit more bold, yes,”

 

That’s exactly what I am talking about, since chromaticism would take the piece outside of the baroque universe.  Actually, I think your idea is excellent:  A Wagnerian excursion from within a Baroque tonal world (or a simultaneous juxtaposition of post-romantic tonalities and pre-classical modes) would be very exciting, to say the least. 

 

But you add, somewhat misconstruing my position,

 

“. . . be incoherent and throw random notes just to say ‘I'm Avante-garde,’ no freaking no.”

 

I did not say that he should throw in random notes.  What made you think I did say such a thing?   As for putting anyone in a position to say, “I’m avant-garde,” I did not have any expectations along those lines, for this piece of music.   It’s hard today even to say what constitutes “avant-garde,” but I did not mention it, or even imply the notion of “avant-garde” music in this context.

 

When I referred to the fact that we write music in the 21st century, I was eliciting the rich history of polytonality, modal shifts, and alternative tonal systems that have already been accumulated, and that were conceived as early as the 1920’s. 

 

Why should that be considered “avant-garde” today?

 

You likened my suggestions, to those of someone who might say:

 

"All right boy, time to grow up from that miserable violin of yours; man up and grab your minimoog."

 

I have a slight hope that you might apologize for mischaracterizing my remarks in this way.

 

First of all, I would never preface any statement with the phrase, “All right boy,” since I would consider that rude and offensive.  (Nor would I ever use the phrase, "man up," which I consider to be a sexist expression). 

 

Secondly, I love the violin, and would never ask anyone to give up that beautiful and illustrious instrument; much less would I ever refer to anyone’s musical instrument of choice with such a phrase as “time to grow up from that miserable violin of yours.” Such a notion is anathema to me.  I greatly prefer the Stradavarius to the Moog Synthesizer, in fact; though electrical keyboards of various types have their place and value in contemporary music. 

 

You concluded, Spyros, by saying,

 

“note: let us not make this thread a fight about how good or bad 21st century music is and keep it focused on the piece.”

 

I find it a bit strange that you would end with this admonition, considering that you construed my remarks as a plea for “incoherence,” “random notes,” “aimless wandering,” and giving up the violin for the sake of the Moog Synthesizer—as if those were the primary traits of contemporary music!

 

Let us put aside the issue of whether you intended in any way to slight me or my way of thinking.   I would still want to ask:  Is that how you characterize the music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries?

 

It seems to me that you (when you say things like, “no freaking no”) are the one who appears to be throwing down the gauntlet on the issue, only to take it up again and run the other way.

 

I, for one, am not a big fan of duels or needless confrontations.  But this particular piece, about which we are conversing, may be a sort of lightning rod for a discussion about what today’s composers feel they want to do.  

 

I think we can proceed on an amicable basis, if mischaracterizations are avoided.

 

 

(Maybe even if they are not.)

 

I am very interested in what Jeremy Glover has to say about my suggestions.  I hope, Jeremy, that you received them in the spirit in which they were intended:  not as injunctions, or specific mandatory guidelines, but only as a series of ideas illustrated by references to principles and examples.   I always respect the artist, and trust he will decide what is best for himself and for his progress as a composer.  I take no offense, even if everything I offer is rejected by the composer, since these are only ideas which may or may not have relevance in the given context.  

 

Best wishes to all,

 

O.

Dear Onib and Spyrus,

First of all, thank you both for taking the time to listen to and comment on my music, as well as giving me great suggestions.

Onib,

I like your idea of creating a sort of "Modern-Baroque" atmosphere (if I'm understanding correctly), but, considering my relatively small range of musical taste, I'll, for this piece, try to keep it more like works from the 17th and 18th centuries. Now, that being said, I'll definitely keep your suggestions in consideration when writing other pieces that I don't want to be in a specific style.

Spyrus,

First of all, I love the idea of changing the Contrabass to harpsichord. I'd been trying to think of a way to get a more diverse sound palate without adding numerous instruments. Next, I think your interpretation of Onib's suggestions were a bit too harsh. As he said, he wasn't saying Ihave to become more modern, but that it would help make my piece standout amongst other works of similar styles.

Thanks again,

Jeremy

"You said my aim in offering comments on this piece “sounds pretty specific.”  Again, you may have unintentionally misread my remarks. "

No I was refering to Jeremy's aim. Meaning that I'm listening to a clear intention for a baroque style piece. 


"All right boy, time to grow up from that miserable violin of yours; man up and grab your minimoog."

 

I have a slight hope that you might apologize for mischaracterizing my remarks in this way.

 

First of all, I would never preface any statement with the phrase, “All right boy,” since I would consider that rude and offensive.  (Nor would I ever use the phrase, "man up," which I consider to be a sexist expression). 

 

Secondly, I love the violin, and would never ask anyone to give up that beautiful and illustrious instrument; much less would I ever refer to anyone’s musical instrument of choice with such a phrase as “time to grow up from that miserable violin of yours.” Such a notion is anathema to me.  I greatly prefer the Stradavarius to the Moog Synthesizer, in fact; though electrical keyboards of various types have their place and value in contemporary music. 

You seem to be a pretty inteligent man, so I will not even bother to explain the meaning of that sentence of mine. Unless you jsut understood "drop the violin, grab a moog", so in that case I give up.

You suggested some things and you gave an example, which is more of an experiment (your words). I found that example to be, yes, incoherent and more rudely put, ugly. Yes that how it sounds to me. Am I living in the 19 century musically? Perhaps. Did the file you posted have something to offer to this specific baroque style piece? In my opinion, no.

I can apologise if you were offended, but I am not taking back my remarks about the "random notes" and "incoherence". You supported your argument with an example and I am simply refering (and jump to conclusions) to that. You as a person and composer could be a wonderful man. And that is why I said not to continue this discussion. And I will stick to that.

Jeremy, do post a version with less reverb, it will make things sound much much better.

Posted new version with harpsichord instead of bass (and less reverb).

much better. little note here, the harspichord never had dynamics marked (and it's dynamic capability was none to begin with), or at least I've never seen a score with dynamics for a harpsichord.

That last bridge was a nie idea, but I didn't really like how it came out. Maybe borrow some matterial and play with your themes in there, concider taking your basic harmonic progression and paraphrasing it, or somethign similar. I felt it needed some melody, or some general aim for the music there.

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