Music Composers Unite!
The last piece in a suit about natural moods - and almost tonal. It’s the last piece I’ll write in this style. Gave me trouble. I scrapped a piece I posted recently that just meandered about and got nowhere. I hope this makes more sense.
This one is about scents floating in the evening air, reminiscent of a brief holiday in a village in the south of France. Written about 3 months ago and given a few touch-ups yesterday.
The orchestra includes a piccolo trumpet for the highest trumpet notes.
Comment good or bad would be gratefully received if you can afford the 5 mins to give it a listen. Many thanks.
Yeah, this is a MAJOR back-revision... really an interpolation, literally splicing in an extended development between one measure and the next. Very hard to do! (among other reasons, because it has to arrive back in the right key ;)) I expect the return to the original train of thought will require some changes as well, to reflect what we've just lived through, though the climax it's all working up to I expect to be able to leave as-is. I'm currently working on the last 25 or so bars groping towards the merger but it's very hard stuff to write, very intricate counterpoint a la Commotio. I've saved my latest "old" version of course, and now have a new "branch" project file that's littered with extra empty bars and bits of sketches that didn't quite work where I wanted them, but which I might still milk for material. A very messy business!
Best of luck with your cantata - I look forward to hearing it when you're ready to present it (or maybe a few weeks later, depending on work).
Happy New Year to you Dane, and may it bring you sustained health and creativity!
Dane Aubrun said:
Hi again, Liz,
Yes, given your circumstances you have to fit things together as best you can (which can be a nuisance in something like creative work where, if things are flowing along nicely, the last thing you want is to have to break off. Then when you can return, quite some effort is getting back into that flow. It's why I tend to work quite intensely once I've developed a bit of any idea).
This piece came with problems. Sure there are always problems on the way but it's when something leads to a lot of back-revision that the headaches start. I tend to save a new version and erase back as far as need be to get a new start.
My latest thing involves voices again and I suspect I'm moving to the lost cause of a secular cantata / musical drama-ette. Things are flowing nicely and I'm taking full advantage of the lockdown!
Talk anon, and hope to have a listen to your revisions as-and-when.
Dane I agree with Liz here, "stunning in effect" is a good description. I don't remember you using such a wide collection of sounds before but it it works wonderfully here with so many colors blending and contrasting. The idea of having a large orchestra with few tutti and lots of interchange is useful.
I was interested in your comments about the relevance of parts, the necessity of inserting parts that perhaps don't add to the whole but are more of a utility if you will. I don't hear that with your work, as you say the style maybe hides them, but I think they can be important as kind of a "chaser", to prepare our palate for other more exotic flavors to come?
One possibility with the issue of the fidelity of the brass samples is the fact that you are reducing your resolution in order to fit a five minute piece into the CF file size limit. That has to affect the sound at some point; just a thought.
Great work, thanks for posting!
Many thanks for listening and your most generous comments.
I suppose it's always going to be 'the way'. A listener will perceive different things from the composer so I'm pleased that you found it coherent and impressionistic! I can think of just a couple of bars I could prune - can't remember now but a problem sometimes crops up when splicing and gluing that one has an extra beat or something to fill in - be lazy and sustain a note or add an extra one in - or move the entire post-glue-bit up to the glue point.
I've used more comprehensive orchestras but this one does a lot of antiphony: pitting one section against another. You said it: having a large orchestra but few tuttis does make for exploring the interplay and combinations of instruments in more detail.
As for the brass, thanks for the mention. Compression MUST comes into it. At 128kb a fair bit of data is wiped out and brass is rich in the upper harmonics. I'm unsure how better it would be on soundcloud. But I have to rethink balance too. I need to slide all the sliders down a few dB so the brass can be got in proportion. At the moment it hits the red line too often but still doesn't sound at the right loudness... like it's too far back; attenuated.
I'll have a look at that.
So again, sincere thanks for the commentary!
All the best. Stay well.
This should / could be played with a film display of some sort, as it feels very nice and visual to me.
I keep on being astonished about your output, in terms of quantity, variety and quality... I just submitted a two minute piece for the "Colors-Competition", and it took me probably at least 15 hours of time, spread over a few weeks...!
Many thanks for listening and your kind words.
Well, yes, I suppose if it has an intent, it's evocation of the mood.
I have to admit being a little anti-film, forcing viewers to accept a single (usually syndicated) imagination, having found listening to this genre will my eyes closed preferable to watching what someone else has thought up and seeks to constrain me to. Same as reading a novel rather than watching its filmed version. In many cases the administrative issues of film make the medium inadequate: budget, time, feasibility, lighting continuity. Of course, this doesn't mean that an alleged 'adaptation' doesn't stand well as art in its own right.
It's a possible subject for discussion: when aspirants here write an 'epic' 'cinematic' piece they're presumably imagining something visual which subsumes an atmosphere, action, resolution and so on. I suppose I'm sensitive to mood (in Nature) and for some reason feel inclined to portray it in sound...alas, rarely successfully. Synaesthesia is a personal thing.
So notionally I have to ask very nicely if people would care to give my piece a throw and hope they can feel something of the intention - if they're comfortable with the genre at all.
Alas, also, I'm not that productive. It comes in fits and starts. Composing is the easy bit. Mostly in my head. Getting it to sound balanced in the daw is a different matter. I can sense if it's not going well, then nothing good will result. I've scrapped miles more than I've finished.
So, thank you for your comments. Got me thinking (and that's dangerous).
Dane, imagine you could team up with someone, who could do most of the technical part of sound production for you - and you mainly concentrate on what you are really good at (i.e. the creative work in your head)...that could increase your productivity massively (if you wanted to). Perhaps something to think about..I could imagine that a student in sound engineering may jump at the opportunity to work with you (for free, and for mutual benefit).
In any case, I bet that you have enough finished works already for a full concert evening or two - if there was an opportunity for that.
I actually believe that a quite reliable sign for the real basic composing amateur (like me) is, that there is a very inadequate amount (i.e. not enough) of musical material overall, that has been scrapped in the process of producing their output...!!
Hello again Tillerich,
Yes, nice imaginings and outside of lockdown I could probably find someone like that. A friend is a music teacher in college and he has contacts on the technology side but I'm not sure at the same college. It has a small studio and technical support. (He passed me a couple of students (for fun) who were restive over the academic side of 'theory' not that I can help too much but I suppose the one-to-one interaction achieved something. Sure, they'll get their degrees but they're averse to composing 'exercises' around modern theoretical stuff and I can't blame them. Music theory has become an industry in its own right.)
What I'm desperately looking for is a competent librettist right now!
As for this 'ere work, I still look on the daw side as 'preparing the orchestra'. My experience of preparing and conducting 'real' orchestras is pretty limited but it's always about getting balance right. (And getting amateur players to play quietly - they seem to have only one volume: loud!) So it took a while to get sorted out. The volume of VSL mezzoforte samples aren't always even so it took time to set the faders/pan for each instrument - so that for balance I can work with the velocity only. I'm still unsure whether midi velocity figures represent logarithmic or linear volume values. They seem to be linear.
Perhaps I'm just a sad case. I still 'think' orchestrally!
Ah well...let's get on.
You said you are looking for a librettist, do you have a specific project (opera?) in mind? If you spell things out perhaps someone on CF could connect you with someone. Would you consider an amateur, what language or form would this take? There are a lot of people that drop by here, you should start a thread.
A great suggestion, Ingo. Thanks!
Just a musical drama-ette. Not operatic.
A slight problem is that I’ve written the music – sort of semi-finished. I may offer it here for comment about the voices balancing – just mezzo and baritone. The way I write is closer to a recitative format than songs, so the vocals are utterances interleaved with instrumental. It makes for flexibility; vocal phrases can easily be adjusted for more or less syllables; add in new bits and so on; hopefully not having to change the overall score too much.
I’d write words myself but libretti are a style of their own! I have some ideas but far from complete. Whoever helps would have to work from a vocal score suggesting amendments as they go.
There’s also the story. It’s a Romeo and Juliet thing, so far based on a 50% true story but involving a Caribbean and Caucasian in mind so it might be thought inappropriate. I’m thinking about variations though, like Mayerbeer’s ‘A Crusader in Egypt’ story. It could be people from two fictitious religions or some such, or just families that don’t get on.
So…I’ll certainly request help when I post (at least some of) it if nothing comes up. I have a college teacher acquaintance and but for lockdown, would ask him if any of his students know of anyone. As yet I have to put together a draft vocal score anyway.
Again, many thanks for the suggestion.
HI Dane -
My friend Steven Bancroft is a talented, if unorthodox, song writer and he (after my suggestion) is interested in writing lyrics for your project. Steven is not a librettist or polished singer, and does not read music so this collaboration may not work and he understands that but I think you should at least consider working with him on your project. He has written musicals but here is a song he has written that will give you a sample of his lyric work.
Beautiful Secrets by Steve Bancroft
I look at pictures I never asked for
Thousands of photos, hundreds of faces from the past
No one left to identify who they were
Tempting me to fabricate stories and connections
Scrutinizing noses and eyes for any similarity
So many smiling happily
Enjoying the day together as friends or family
The remnants, the fragments of my history
I wish I knew who they are
What mountains rise in the distance
What beach is this on which they frolic
Little children building castles in the sand
Whose house is that in the background
Whose swingset in the backyard
Whose living room sitting on a paisley sofa
Posing so patiently for a camera
Why are they so dressed up
Celebrating some unknown occasion
They don’t know they will be forgotten
Preserved in perfect anonymity forever
So many beautiful secrets
Handed down in unlabeled boxes
Aside for a few they are strangers
And I find it hard to care to even look at them anymore
I feel it is their own fault no one remembers them
Or the fault of those who have lost track
Part of me is resigned to just throw them away
In sheer hopelessness of ever knowing
But I hesitate as if to relegate them to a space in the attic
Elevates me to keeper of the secret history
A mystery to perhaps bequeath one day
To another distant curious relative
For the truth is family and ancestors are not all about wonderful times
And loving people who somehow just drifted apart
It is dashed with trials and tribulations and irreconcilable differences
And decisions to go their separate ways
For reasons good or bad or sad are the usual
To want to know is a little painful
For as secrets they are beautiful
Like a cat in a box never opened lives eternal
That's a wonderful gesture. Ingo. Thank you indeed for passing on my situation and the interest shown.
And I'd willingly take it up if it seems feasible. I have to confess it has nothing like conventional songs and the lyrics are more like fragments of an impassioned conversation.
It's best if I come up with a short score (along with the audio) showing the vocal parts and suggestions for words. At the moment they're descriptions of what the characters might be talking about which is probably what's wanted, to write a script.
It's almost ready but, like some of your compositions, is through composed, tends to disregard key; and additionally the vocals would need specialised 'contemporary' singers.
And I still have to decide on a story. The one that started all this was a horribly true story. After a botched abortion, the girl and her mum were on the way home. It was night. She was deserted in a market place - no one else about - left to bleed to death. It affected me pretty deeply. At the time I lived close by where it happened. A variation on the story would make it less personal, I have to say.
I'll post what I have as soon as I can. If it gets anywhere It'll need a 'proper' keyboard arrangement which is going to be a heck of a task!
(For all that, I've been toying with the idea of some fake Rossini, an Operetta Buffo around the way our politicians have been handling the pandemic or something.)
What a fantastic piece! Very delicate and well balanced orchestration, rich in instrumental variation and sonic colors. From the technical point of view, the choice of instruments sits perfectly in the orchestral balance in the orchestration (which makes everything audible in great detail, even with the withdrawn seatings. (You may have noticed that I prefer a closer recording.) But despite the distance to the listener, there is a too thick or muddy reverb/tail. The whole piece remains clean and transparent.
Great job!, Congrats.