Music Composers Unite!
This is my first chamber piece I have finished. Scored for 2 euphoniums, trombone, and tuba. I am not a brass player and I know the ranges but i've talked to a few friends and they said there are a few trouble spots but for the most part it is playable.
I'm just looking for how it sounds to you guys! I know it doesn't quite have a memorable melody but I'm not necessary going for that. I see it as an introduction, almost a march-like texture at the beginning, sort of my introduction into composing for stuff other than guitar and bass. The mood is up and down just like my skills at the moment.
I've attatched the score but PLEASE keep in mind, it is missing dynamics and breath marks, so don't get on my case for that :) and it still needs some tidying, I mostly want to get opinions on the sound.
you can listen to it here www.soundcloud.com/peter-mendola
Its just a bunch of MIDI instruments...not a professional recording. some parts are a little close together and might sound muddy live. i understand your sentiments but i don't think it sounds "terrible". i think if you listened to it again you probably hear more than a dull mash of chords. I have Kontakt 3.5 thats the latest I can get for my laptop. I have been unable to find a euphonium library for free but this is gonna be recorded next semester at my school once i tidy up the piece.
Ray Kemp said:
Unfortunately, it is impossible to comment on the sound without taking in to account dynamics, breath marks etc.
They can have nothing other than a big part to play in how a piece sounds.
In this case it simply sounds terrible. This opinion isn't based on the composition, but on everything involved from score to recording.
There is no definition of individual instruments. It's just a dull mash of chords.
How to fix it? Well first you need to say what technology you have at your disposal. Apps, and instrument libraries. I know of a very good free euphonium and cornet library for NI Kontakt that would work for a piece like this but? more info please.
Man i just think you could have been a bit more constructive. I've showed this in this stage of completion to two of my teachers who both have doctorates in composition, a bunch of my music minded friends, and other similar forums and they were all able to give me much more than "your MIDI instruments sound really bad" Yes they gave me a lot of negative critique which I appreciate but it was constructive. I can understand if you personally don't like how it sounds but maybe learn how to take a step back when you critique others works and be a little less subjective. its something all of us as music lovers are guilty of but at least try.
This forum is for music dissection from what I read which to me means most of the stuff posted here is not in its final stages
Ray Kemp said:
I really don't want to be rude but if you're sure it doesn't sound terrible to your ears then there is nothing else to be said about it. You are obviously hearing something I'm not. Perhaps you are imagining in your head what real instruments will have it sounding like but in this recording it just doesn't.
BTW you did ask for feedback on how it sounds, not whether it was a reasonable bit of writing.
Regarding the composition / disregarding the sound quality:
On the good side, I really liked the feeling here and the sort of original chords and harmonies that form throughout the piece. There is something interesting in there. However that interesting element seems to be buried underneath a pile of amateurism.
That amateurism manifests itself as meandering, purposeless sections of notes. More importantly, it manifests itself as a lack of understanding of theory and a potentially flawed sense of hearing. I think there may have been a great deal of "wrong notes" or notes that sounded out of place with what you may have been trying to accomplish. There should be much more work put into cleaning up the entire composition and perfecting it so that it sounds full, finished, and professional.
My opinion is that this is nowhere near any sense of completion. I think that the problem is that the order and structure inside of your mind may not be fully realized - as in a sense of the rules of music theory and so on.
Still, keep working, work hard, and you may very well find yourself in posession of something good. And if my criticism is completely off base then ignore it and do your thing! I always have to slip that last part in in case I'm being a closed minded idiot.
Oh, and regarding the sound quality: I think you should work to adjust the timbres of each different synthesizer so you can separate them more easily. Move things around in the octaves, use synthesizers, consider using different instruments, and so on. Good luck.
Thanks for the comment Max. I don't want to get into all of that but I dont really think there is a lack of theory or that I have a flawed sense of hearing. I have studied theory for a long time. No i don't always use traditional voice leading procedures, as it isn't necessary and not always the sound I am going for. There is also only one note in the piece that I am not sure if it should be there
would you mind giving me some examples of where the wrong notes are or where my theory is lacking? Because i personally see no problem with the theory.
also you used the word meandering. Ever think that maybe some people might be going for that? I dont think "meandering" and "purposeless" come hand in hand.
I'm not saying i'm not an amateur, this is my first chamber piece and first brass piece. but I am by no means an amateur musician or have an amateur ear. I see how the incompleteness and sloppyness of the score is amateur, and other errors having to do with how it will actually be played on the live instruments but I see that as my biggest issue, not my theory and ear.
No, thanks man i appreicate that. I see what you mean about euphonium parts there, but the way I see most of this opening passage is almost like each part is its own melody. From the start i've heard those two parts separately overlapping. so while it wouldn't sound different I kind of just want the phrasing like that, if that makes sense? And i'll look into that dissonance thanks. Its def tough to know exactly how itll all sound live, but hopefully i'll know that in a few months!
and if anything I hope I didn't come off as rude to anyone else. I'm obviously just pretty passionate about my work and I don't react very well to people telling me my ear is flawed and I don't have a knowledge of theory and my piece sounds terrible. yes, its hard to hear whats going on. but a good listen with a pair of headphones and I have no issue hearing all the parts. My ear is easily my most prized possession and I have completed college level theory and studied beyond so I didn't handle that comment very well haha.
I got to agree with Ray on the sound part. I wouldn't put it that way, but basicaly yes, the sound is terrible.Don't get me wrong, but these sound like a low end digital synth(which they are, if they are midi sounds).
I liked the general feeling, your harmonies were nice, but I didn't like the chords at about 2.23-much dissonance for nothing. Why don't you post the sheet in a known program format (like .mus read by finale) and maybe someone can render it with better quality instruments? It would give us a better idea. I find it hard to make out the voices, so for now I'll stick to the above.
I should have been more clear I guess, yes, they are a low end digital synth. its the default sibelius playback. I realize I never mentioned that.
I would love if someone would be able to render it. I have used Logic and miroslav, but I don't have any euphonium samples. and have never successfully sampled something before. i've also had trouble getting stuff to be legato in midi notes.
I play mainly guitar and I use mostly the piano, sometimes guitar when composing.
I admire you for branching out to other instruments. However there are some issues with this piece which can be kept in mind for future works. I will not comment on production, as this is not my strength and you admit it is not yours either.
This is in a tonal idiom. However, unlike most tonal music, I find it very hard to follow a melodic or harmonic direction. There is too much of a feeling of being lost in a sea of notes. If this is your intention, then fine.
However, I suspect that your working methods will evolve. I'm guessing, but I suspect that you have not mapped out the harmony in each bar, and that does help.(eg a chord symbol in each bar in the sketching stage). It just sounds too vague.
The music is very contrapuntal with lots of interweaving, but people like Bach had this in their music, but also had an underlying harmonic pull that directed the music.
As a guitarist you are used to chord symbols - and in my opinion effective classical music is just the same, even though we might not think so.
I would also stick to one main melody and spend some time developing that before any complexity takes over.
I can see what you're aiming for - but I just feel that the musical undergrowth needs to be hacked away to show us a clear landscape.