Music Composers Unite!
Hi dear composers! Good night!
I just wanna share with you this compositions, just using electric guitar as sound source.
The first and second are really simple, and unidimensional, just working with chords (yes, is
a major second tuning) from different density levels, or degrees and some modulation things appearing in some very specific points. The reverberation level is always the same... (all ocurr on the same space).
The third miniature have 6 layers (tracks) and I've worked with precise pans, volume controls,
lreverb levels (size of the room), number of voices on chorus effect, in a contrapontistic fashion.
I can post some prints from Reaper, showing the Trim lines, if you want.
I'm new in electroacoustic music, so I'm curious to receive some feedback from other composers!
Thank you for sharing your impressions!
Apologize my english! hehe
I don't know this media very well but I listened to your 3 pieces. What I would want in music like this is a wide variety of sound and a good mix of pitches low middle and high. This would have to be done with interesting and varied timing. With some repetition to give me a sense of listening balance. I feel you did this ok in no 2 and it got even more interesting in no 3 . The length of the pieces were good for the content mix. If you do longer pieces in the future you would have to add even more variety of sounds and more time changes. Hopefully you will get some answers also from people who know this media well
Regards Bob Forrest
Thank you very much, Bob!
I totally agree with you! Thanks for your kind words!
These pieces caught & held my attention and I enjoyed them. In my opinion, the first step with music like this is to set the stage, or to create a sonic "space." I believe you have done that very well. The next step is to fill that space or stage with some additional activity or movement. I agree with Bob's comments that additional variety - a mix of sounds - may help. There's a variety of ways this could be done - some clean guitar floating over the top, keyboard, or even some percussion. It doesn't need to be linear or melodic, just some additional variation. In other words, you have already set the stage. Some additional activity on that stage may be in order. Just my two cents. I enjoyed these very much! Thanks for posting!
My response may be slightly more controversial, but I always value honesty as the best approach. Hopefully this is a fair critique-
I am reluctant to call these pieces very 'musical' - is it music? Arguable. To me, music is more formed, structured- I suppose there are elements of music within the pieces. Of course, it's far from traditional music. I'm all for trying different things, and seeing how far one can push the limits.
To me however, this is more of 'sound design' - I just couldn't really sit down and get into these pieces. I know some will disagree, but, I personally do not consider works like this 'music' - For me, music needs a rhythm, even if an unconventional one, some sort of melodic material, and some sort of harmonic structure- these works do have harmony, but to me they are severely lacking the other aspects to really be considered very 'musical' - I do not wish for my critique to be misunderstood, so do not get me wrong- to make it clear:
Is this an art? Yes
Is it creative? Yes
Is there a use for works like these? Yes
Are the pieces good for what I personally consider them (sound design) - Yes, very much so
Musically, I couldn't identify a story being told, I couldn't grasp the element of emotion changing or swaying, I couldn't identify melodic material to catch onto and follow.
Could this be notated? Not likely. Possibly.
So to me, this type of work feels like sound design, an "abstract mood ambiance noise" suitable as underscore in a film, game, etc, to set a certain type of feel - not (to me personally) something I'd sit down and listen to. Obviously, as others have noted here, some people can sit down and enjoy this, and listen to it.
It sounded to me like some noodling on chords with a guitar pedal, a DAW, and experimenting with the element of ambient space via reverb pedals or reverb VSTs. I, again personally, crave something a little more structured in music I will sit down and listen to for the enjoyment of listening. Something meticulously thought out, or something improvised through a group of talented musicians playing live and reading off one another.
Do not get me wrong- I would enjoy these pieces if aided via some form of picture, whether through gaming or assisting a film / production in some manner.
A fair enough critique. Just a few quick observations. To me, there is not a huge amount of difference between these pieces and say, the opening bars of the Prelude to Wagner's "Das Rheingold." There we essentially have an extended chord with minimal to no rhythmic pulse. Few would question that as music.
In addition these were apparently played on the guitar - on the strings of the guitar - so I suspect that this could most definitely be transcribed into a score. Had these been produced by simply banging the guitar on the floor with the amps turned up to "11" then maybe Id be in agreement on the sound design point.
I do agree that there is a line between sound design and music. A local composer in my home city released a piece which essentially consisted of several rocks being shaken in a box. That, in my book would be be sound design. These pieces in my opinion, fall on the music side of the music/sound design division. Abstract and minimalist, certainly, but still music in my opinion. Maybe someone should start a thread some time on what constitutes music - sorry, couldnt help myself :).
^ I believe there was one started!
Search "How do we define music?"
It was an interesting thread, and of course everyone defines it differently - which is why, in regards to the OP's works, it is strictly a subjective opinion.
Thanks for your comments guys!
If my music is music or not, every one will make his own judgement. I'm not worried about that.
I conceive music as organized sound. Period. This organization may come as result of a system (like tonal system, or spectral systems, dodecaphonic method, or any sistem created by the artist)
or as a result of free choices of the musician (so called "intuition") As David mentioned, an improvisation (that organize sound in real time) is another way to organize sound.
This little acousmatic short pieces or miniatures, came from improvisation, using my guitar tuned in a closed way (maj. seconds). I think the harmony about density degrees. On improvisation you can control this parameter (density), simply choicing structures with diverse levels of density. The transformation came from the variety of density (first and second pieces) and variety of intensity (amplitude), apparition of melodica materials (yes, I'm using melodic material, on second miniature, listen carefully!) that is a quite contrast in a universe of simultaneities (chords) and their harmonic series enfasized by the ambience.
Part of my thinking came from the practice, I'm jazz musician, so I always deal with real-time organization.
The difference is, once I've recorded, I can work on the computer in order to process that initial impulses and give their final character.
My goal is: make intelligent music using only the electric guitar as primary sound source, then process and re-organize.
I think the different directions as counterpoint. I'm working with the same thinking, creating different movements, giving independence to the voices (sounds, as you want).
This is very clear on the third piece. We have different entities living their own lifes.
If I'm organizing sonic material on time, using improvisation on a musical instrument, recording entire lines, melodies, chords, on a certain rythm (yes... since you have events in time, you have rythm!)
and after that, process and enfasize or hide their movements, pans, volumes, distortion levels, ambience levels, in proportion with other voices, like in counterpoint,
if I'm elaborating chords and transform that chords making their inner voices change, in order to get different density levels and organize that... if that's not music I don't know what is lol
^ That's all fine. Here's my obstacle though- Using that process, anyone can take any series of sounds and compile them together, and call it "music". That, to me, is sound design.
For example, step outside - You'll hear a series of sounds. Birds, perhaps an airplane passing overhead, some distant street noise, and other miscellaneous happenings of the universe. Is that music? Not to me. Some people may argue yes though.
I suppose in our case here, what you may consider music depends on how it is organized, as you stated. Obviously, you are thinking beyond the scope of traditional tonal systems. Again, that is fine. I'm sure your goal here may not be to appeal to the ear of a vast majority of listeners. A niche market per say.
Me, being more traditional, I suppose I have more tight restrictions on the organizational methods I consider "Music". I have tried atonal styles, I have tried abstract bits like you've done here- I am not sure I'd call my attempts "music" either. I liked those pieces. Not many others did. And as I try write for myself and an audience, I typically don't stray too far beyond the limits of what our (Western-influenced, that is) ears accept. Maybe I'm not going outside of the box enough or pushing the boundaries far enough, one can certainly argue that. I personally feel though that almost everything has been done or tried at some point. The things that have worked the best have influenced the most.
In my opinion, again, what you have defined as melodic material, counterpoint, harmonic material - well, I don't think it would be perceived so by the average listener. Sure, if you explain it to me and point out your thought process, I can begin to interpret your piece on that thought process.
But, (again personally, not stated as a fact) I don't think music and it's structure needs to be explained for a listener to "get it."
A lot of the people here may "get it" because they are musicians, artists, and composers as well. And I do "get it" on a level speaking of sound design, however, not music. But that is what is great about any art - you may call it, label it, and state it is anything you wish it to be. People will always disagree, people will always follow or support. There will always be praise, there will always be criticism. Nothing on earth seems to please everyone. Almost everything can be subjective. It is just in my opinion, certain "organization" of how music is written has proven more popular and successful over time. Bear in mind though, that does not imply it is "better".
Mike Hewer said:
As a traditionalist, I naturally err on Davids side, but as a person who believes that composition has a raison d etre
in self expression, I can accept Pauls' work too as a valid expression of the human psyche. Perhaps Davids objection hinges on perceived value or worth of a proposed work of art that is easy enough to create with Tools commonly available as opposed to deep study. I do not mean to disparage Pauls way of creating, as it does involve technique, albeit different to the manuscript approach, but merely to polnt out a disparity in opinion as to what constitutes a piece of music from a creators point of view..
Well, both of you describe theirselves as traditional. But, which tradition are we talking about?
Remember that, in the 50's several composers went in the studio to create sounds, or process recorded sounds: electronic music in Germany, and concrete music in France. (67 years ago... probably the age of your grandpa).
I agree with you, David, in some point, where you call attention for "who is making that...". I don't want to compare myself to that heavy caliber composers (Stockhousen, Boulez, Maderna, Pousseur, Schaeffer, etc), but certainly we have a strong difference between a musician (that plays more than an instrument, know deeply about harmony, counterpoint, his ears are well trained and has many musical experiences like playing in different ensembles) and a sound designer (not musician, don't play instruments, just knows how to transform and organize sonic material, without any musical study).
Certainly, the musical thinking makes a huge difference in the quality of the sonic result. Music always was about transformation and organization of sonic material. The references change in every period, in western's music history.
Tonality and drama has their places on history, as Boulez, Murail, Schaeffer, Grisey too.
The reference in the kind of music I'm making now is not in the tonal center, melodies (in the traditional sense) in which repetition of motives generate movement and articulate ideas, like a kind of spoken speech.
In traditional music, you are paying attention for some transformation processes, like motivic/thematic variation, in relation to deviation from the tonal center. Dialogues between orchestral groups, changes in amplitude (dynamics), orchestral density, harmonic density.
Well, this music uses all this staff too. The only difference are the references. Here we have the sound (primal matter), and the way it changes. We use mechanisms of transformation thanks to the avaliable technology. Beethoven transforms motives. We transform sound itself.
Is the music of our era.
About bird sounds, and cars, people talking... all that can be music. If you try to listen as it. We are not passive beings, we can take attitudes in relation to the things that surround us. We can hear birds and pay attention to that organization. We have sounds one after another, in time. There is an organization, since you have a mind, and ears, you are hearing organized material. Coming from different directions and intensity, pitch, timbre, texture... all we hear every day is a complex texture. If you don't pay attention to that, is just sound. But the listening attitude can make you hear that as music. Music is sonical experience, too. Always was. You can hear a bus stopping, making that high pitches with sorts of "multiphonics" and harmonics... and hear that as a musical gesture... or simply get horrorized and cry and call your mamma lol
This music requires an active position of the listener. Don't seek melodies. don't search for dancing rythms, don't look for semantic meanings or dramatic content. Just hear the sounds I specially put together, playing them with my instrument!
Trust me! :)
If you have curiosity, please hear the other tunes on my sound-cloud, or in youtube.
I composed several tonal pieces too, please hear "Cantabile Tempestuoso", and "enganação no.2".
I've recorded the Estudo no.2 (etude n.2), is me, playing my guitar, is tonal too.
The other stuff is more Jazzy, and Improvisational. Take a look!
Thanks for your comments!