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I'm composing this piece for a clarinet octet, but I think it may sound better with a french horn, flute, and the rest clarinets.  What do you think?  I don't have much experience orchestrating and arranging.  For a comparison, I attached the original piece this is based on from several years ago (I took a large break from composing between then and now).  All comments and critiques welcome!

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Im not understanding a logic or pattern in any of the parts. This makes hearing a melody very difficult. Its also very rhythmically and structurally stagnate. There are also a lot of harmonies and notes that sound like mistakes. A lot of strange dissonances that come out of no where and rhythms that sound like they are off by mistake. Compared to the original version, I don't hear much of a different other than the instruments and a few less long notes. Other all, it sounds more than before, like you are improvising on just recording the first go at it. I wish you paid more attention to every note and how they interact with each other. 

Hmm. I'm not sure what to say to this... it sounds kinda... random. There are snatches and fragments that sound like they could be turned into something interesting, but right now they seem to be just randomly juxtaposed together in strange ways. The music doesn't seem to want to go anywhere -- it just jumps around randomly with no apparent direction, sometimes even with what sounds like random notes thrown in just for the fun of it.

I'm pretty sure you have some good ideas somewhere in there... but I think you need to put more thought -- a lot more thought -- into how to present these ideas in a coherent way that your audience can understand. While it probably all makes sense to you, it's not obvious to the rest of us, so we need some help, in the form of a more logical form (excuse the pun) for the piece -- something with a clear beginning, a development or buildup to a nice climax and a proper denouement.

The motifs / melody fragments themselves also need more work -- right now they sound more like raw, unfinished ideas than finished melodies. I suggest reading up a bit more about how work initial ideas into presentable melodies -- there are many online resources on this subject. Here's a tutorial that I found helpful. There are many others if you search for them.

I think you really should get these basic principles down pat before embarking on ensemble writing, because writing for an ensemble has its own set of challenges, and you want to be reasonably skilled at handling the musical material itself before tackling the technicalities of ensemble writing.

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