Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!


This is one of several short pieces for a contemporary dance troupe. For various reasons live performance will be impossible and renderings will have to do. Actually the troupe is happier about that because recordings are unchanging, making rehearsal easier. As I came aware of this it was a chance to use a few of the weirder libraries I acquired during cheap sales.

The piece has some swing interludes but is generally fluid. Among other things I swapped a harp for an acoustic guitar.  


The score is about the best I can get and took a fair bit of work. The pdf doesn’t show glissandi marks and can’t cope with a few other things but it shows what’s happening.

The Mp3 does it no favours either. The 320k one was too big.

Views: 185


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Ah, right. Thank you for listening and raising this issue. I'll write to Vienna Symphonic Library and tell them what you think of their solo cello....Only one problem. Neither score nor rendering use a cello. I'd be truly appreciative if you could pin-point the bar where you noticed this....always possible I made a mistake.....



Tillerich said:

One thought: it might be possible to realise a combination of recorded and life played music.

To my ears the 'cello sounds terribly artificial here. If you were to have a real 'cellist to play to the rest of the recorded ensemble, it may be musically (and even visually - if the musician can be seen) more appealing. whilst it would maintain the reliability of timing for the dancers.

Dang! Very sorry, I made a right fool of myself by not spotting that there is a score to look at.

Okay, the viola it is then, most likely.

So, where did I think the sound was tinny: it's not all the time, but a good moment is bar 12.

Then soon after I am a bit confused, because from bar 19 and 20 onwards (at approx 0:56) the score does not seem to represent the sound for a while - and I can only find myself back into the piece on the score at bar 27, at 2:18 - is it just me, or is there something missing in the PDF in between those two moments in time?

So, therefore I just go for the sound for another example: at minute 1:22 it (the "viola") sounds rather artificial to me. And at some other places. I also agree, that it could be a challenge to find a viola player in person who could master this. A 'cellist may do better, if this was to be played by a real person. 

Little to say - the score is derived from the DAW midi piano-roll view directly, tarted up a bit (as I humanise it in the piano roll view by hand). This means fitting the midi notes to a grid so the score isn't full of odd 1/32. 1/64 and 1/128 notes hanging about. I don't catch them all but then, it's a tedious process.

The score is substantially what's playing. It can be no different. 

Bar 20 is where the guitar joins in a duet with the flute. If that's difficult to follow I'm perplexed.  

I play viola to a moderate standard -not good but enough. I could play this part but VSL sounds a lot better than me. It's passed muster in a couple of quartet and other pieces I've posted here and I doubt VSL would offer a solo library for sale that doesn't represent the best of what they can get. Their reputation doesn't hang on mediocrity. Maybe Viennese instruments don't work for you? Find me a better solo viola library and I'll buy it.

The music itself is contemporary so I suggest that any sonic or timbral problems are down to my rendering. I still have a great deal to learn.

I'm in no way offended if you didn't like the sound or the work. It's of limited appeal.

Thank you for your comments.

Hello. Sorry that I am not able to be more precise. To me the score and Mp3 do not match up at around 0:58 until, at least 1:06 (when the guitar is supposed to set in), what bar is that, please? And then the beginning of the guitar etc. looks different to what it sounds.

Anyway, we may be getting side-tracked here by technicalities. I actually quite like the sound otherwise (if that matters now), and believe, that it overall fits well overall for the purpose of a modern dance performance.

Hi Dane,

When imagined together with a dancer moving, your music looks perfect to me.  Each movement, each figure combined with klangfarben of the music would be very interesting to watch.  I am looking forward to hearing your youtube announcement.

The music itself complies with your general approach that I have already commented on.

You have put this score to give an idea rather than exact notation but there maybe some problems here and there,

specially if you listen with audacity %50 slow.  On the third bar, it looks like f - aflat rather than e - f and also after 20th bar it seems to me as if some bars are missing.  Or it may be my hearing who knows. I could not find the guitar part there.

Horizontal writing:  I agree it helps.  You sometimes break it with short chordal writing.  Chordal writing can be usefull to control the amount of dissonance and tension.  It helps to increase freshness in your piece.  You also increase melodic overlapping to augment tension.  My only reservation is the lack of global layers.  This lack may cause too much uniformness but hey this is a dance music which accompanies the dance...

I enjoyed the music throughly and also the notation challenge which puzzled me.

I am looking forward to hear more of your music.




Hi, Ali,

Yes, there are discrepancies for which I apologise. Not sure how that happened - probably when I copied a version from which to prepare a score. I'm obsessive with back-ups. Things can go wrong and it's too easy to save a file when something has gone amiss and lose part of the piece, so I have a list of several files of this music. 

I'll try to sort it out. 

No problem...Perhaps there is a 'cello part that turns up as well!  ;-)   (sorry, could not resist...)

Ah...but if you can't tell the difference between the sound of a cello and a viola, is it worth me writing one in for you?

Tell you what, pretend the clarinet is a cello. Not many people appreciate the cello-like qualities of the clarinet.

(Neither could I resist)


This was well done Dane. I won't claim to be the person who could suggest some different type of structure to this since I'm not generally an "atonal" composer.

I wouldn't be the type to associate this directly with dance although I can see now how it could blend well with interpretive dance of some kind. I'm sure good dancers could dance to it. Not me :)

Thanks for sharing!

Many thanks for listening and your comments, Tim.

Some people refer to it as movement and music although it's loosely choreographed but with much room for self-expression, something that younger dance aspirants seem happier with than their older counterparts I'm told. They have to choose the pieces soon from the selection I put together.

Again, thanks.

Until later.

This is fascinating... I couldn't stop listening to it! I don't usually hold such fascination with "random" atonal works, but something about this one kept me going. I'm thinking there was enough remnants of tonality, or semblances of melody (or both) to keep my ear entertained. Also, I love the instrument choices!

It's a shame you can't have it performed. It certainly deserves it, in my opinion. 

Jörfi, Hi.

Thank you for listening and your generous comments.

Although I "write atonally" (when I set out I don't think about key. It usually starts with a fragment of a melody, a motif, maybe, that can be expanded, remoulded) the piece often passes through moments of tonality. It may end up with key and conventional counterpoint. In your earlier words "hybrid". I've never been able to handle those cacophonous mashes of sound that pass for "work" broadcast (until recently) on Radio 3's "Hear and Now". Sure, some seem to pay respect that a listener needs anchor points to hold on to, to get some sense from a piece. Too many never did, however, and it's my bet than many a contemporary "composer" didn't really know what their work sounded like before it was performed.

There were embarrassing moments for some wannabe composers at college when an ensemble tried out their work, queries were raised which the composer couldn't answer. The conductor would ask "Was that all right?" The composer would reply "Yes, thank you," whereon the conductor would list the places the ensemble went wrong. (I only spent a year there, however. Having to prepare one's own performances came with a multitude of lessons.)

I try to bring some lyricism to my things and I am pleased indeed that the piece made sense to you. Or I hope it did! It was far from random.

Again....thank you,


Reply to Discussion


Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!


© 2021   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service