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I often write piano as a sketch and then add to it with strings and other instrumentation. Sometimes I leave the piano in as well.

In this instance I'm not sure - I really like the emptiness of just the piano.

So my question is, add strings or not?

Thoughts?

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Hi Nigel,

Well, it's your decision. ;) I kind of agree with you though, the emptiness of the solo piano is quite effective and adding strings would detract from that. Have you considered doing more with the rhythm? The repeated notes of the main theme get a bit monotonous after a while, and you only really break it up in a couple of places. In my opinion a little more variation in that basic rhythm would go a long way toward making the piece more interesting, without, I think, detracting from the very special, inward quality that it has. Just a thought.

Hi Liz,

I do like the repetition but as you say it is a little samey in parts. I may still add some vary sparing strings - single longs rather than a melody. Maybe just cello and viola. I was was varying the timing on the piano part to add interest but may re-record to also add more variation to the dynamics as well.

Thanks,

Nigel

Hi Nigel, I do like what you have here. Repetition is always tricky to deal with but I don't think it is a problem for this piece; it is often a strong tool for many of us and it certainly works here for me at least. You do have some variation too.

Perhaps a good solution would be to make this an intro or prelude to another section with a similar piano part accompanying a solo cello or viola? The piano part does seem well suited for that.

Hi Nigel 

While I was listening I could here just little fragments of melodic lines in my mind. I think a couple of strings part would add to this.

Truly, as the composer only you can decide this. It'll make it different. Not better or worse. Just my viewpoint but there's little sense in asking the question of others.

.

These are just my thoughts on it. All depends on the plan of attack for augmentation of the piano. I think the piano is great as is if coming from an intentionally basic vantage point. Some people prefer this to orchestration. 

Adding orchestration to it could serve to heighten the end result as compared to naked piano. I am usually not of the "less is more" approach and often add too much that requires I pull some of it away. I admire anyone who can keep something profound and simple while having a maximum impact. Minimalist approaches don't generally work for me but maybe you are better at it.

Possibly having elements of both? What if you started it out with the piano and then added some more orchestration gradually until you build a world around it? Just a thought. Doesn't need to be much maybe another part or two. If you aren't committed to acoustic instruments you could add some very pleasant pads to this as well.

I think its always interesting to hear other's opinions Dane - It helps the thought process.



Dane Aubrun said:

Truly, as the composer only you can decide this. It'll make it different. Not better or worse. Just my viewpoint but there's little sense in asking the question of others.

.

Thanks Timothy,

I've begun to rework it with some very minimal strings and so far I'm liking the result. Trying to keep it sparse but allowing some development to happen to maintain the emotion. I'll share again when I'm happy with it.

Timothy Smith said:

These are just my thoughts on it. All depends on the plan of attack for augmentation of the piano. I think the piano is great as is if coming from an intentionally basic vantage point. Some people prefer this to orchestration. 

Adding orchestration to it could serve to heighten the end result as compared to naked piano. I am usually not of the "less is more" approach and often add too much that requires I pull some of it away. I admire anyone who can keep something profound and simple while having a maximum impact. Minimalist approaches don't generally work for me but maybe you are better at it.

Possibly having elements of both? What if you started it out with the piano and then added some more orchestration gradually until you build a world around it? Just a thought. Doesn't need to be much maybe another part or two. If you aren't committed to acoustic instruments you could add some very pleasant pads to this as well.

As others have already said, whether you should add string is a question that only you, the composer, can answer.

As far as the current version stands, though, I think it would work well as background music or a soundtrack for a particularly contemplative scene. Very relaxing to listen to.

Hello Nigel,

you say it yourself: "I really like the emptiness of just the piano" - I think with strings, the piece would sound very different,

most importantly, the emptiness would go away. There is probably no good or bad about this, it depends on which effect you want to achieve with this piece. I personally am of the minimalistic fraction and like the empty spaces, the feeling of loneliness that this music evokes.

Jan

I really enjoyed this piece, and I think that it definitely works as it is. I can certainly hear where strings could be added (perhaps some very ambient strings, or some very soft pizz or col legno, just for texture), but I think the simplicity of the sound adds to it's charm. To me, it has the same impact as some of Max Richter's music, which encourages you to reflect and be transported. Thanks for sharing! 

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