Music Composers Unite!
Hello everyone -
I'm new to the forum and just started composing again last year after a very long hiatus. I had been writing much smaller works in undergraduate and then just burned out a bit. I've done some arranging over the many years since college, but not much original writing. Thought I'd get my feet wet with a string orchestra piece - the first movement is attached here.
After I completed the suite, I've composed several other large scale orchestral pieces, which I might post later. Love to hear everyone's thoughts.
This is a nice change of pace from all the "epic trailer music" that seems to be all over the Internet (and this forum) these days.
I like the harmonic and intervallic ideas that keep coming back, as well as the playfulness with imitation and counterpoint. On the whole, though, I got a little lost and overwhelmed as a listener. I think a lot of this has to do with the rhythmic surface of the music--amid all the constant 8th notes and consistently fast harmonic changes, there aren't many chances for the listener to catch his/her breath. You might consider compressing or stretching out some of your rhythmic ideas to create more of a sense of contrast between sections (and maybe to enhance the piece's large-scale sense of tension and release as well).
And while the counterpoint is nice, the constant fluidity of the textures can be similarly overwhelming. Every once in a while, just to create a sense of contrast and give the listeners a chance to catch their breath, it might be nice to have a break from the constant polyphony. You could also create more textural contrast by highlighting different registers: having a section where only the high instruments play, for example, rather than having the full top-to-bottom range of the orchestra active all the time.
I'm also interested in the key signature--is there a large-scale harmonic design to this piece? To me, it doesn't sound like it's in any particular key--the harmonic changes are too fluid and constant. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it means that the key signature might be confusing to performers, so I'm curious as to why you included it.
Did you finish the other movements to this suite? I'd be interested to learn more about this piece's context (why is it orange?) and hear how it relates to the rest of the suite.
I wanted to thank you guys for the thoughtful comments. This was my first stab at larger scale composing in probably 10+ years, so I was not trying to throw in the kitchen sink, but it was hard not to do so.
Relentless is a word that has been used several times about my writing in college and I seemed to have carried it over a bit in this movement. And you guys have caught on that aspect of my writing. I was intending to write in a language, but now am realizing that I was only basically saying one word over & over (to use an analogy). Editing & reviewing are not my strong points, so I wrote this and then dove right in to other writing - finishing the suite (which I will attach in a new post) and then writing some other pieces (which I will eventually post).
As for key, I chose the key for it's ease for string players. It's true that I almost immediately broke the rules of the key and delved into other realms, so it might be better to just be in C & let the accidentals fall where they may. The middle movements are more traditional with the last movement moving more away and back to some skeleton concepts from the first movement. I called it Orange because I didn't want it to just be a boring title - String Suite (which would eventually become String Suite No. 1 if I wrote another). I thought that colors would be a nice way to tie in the pieces I'm writing, but haven't continued on the color assignment for writing. And orange is my favorite color at this time in my life. I'm sure there's a discussion string somewhere here talking about coming up with titles for works - it's not always an easy thing and many times there is no story built into a piece, so it's sometimes a conundrum to me to create titles.
I have moved on to other works - and was editing a large orchestral piece for a contest, hence the late reply. Now I realized that I will have to go back & toy with at least this movement to get it into a more listenable state.
As I post more of my works, I'm hoping that everyone will see the progression as I've worked to hone my craft.