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Hello Colleagues,

This piece is the first thing I’ve written for more than 5 instruments and includes a string quintet and a wind quintet in addition to the piano and drums. I’ve heard a few attempts to included Rock drums into classical pieces and they mostly seem to be about using it as a metronome, which I find dull, so I wanted to have the drums be more dynamic than that, and intertwined as an ensemble player, coming in and out like other ensemble instruments. My focus was to learn how orchestral writing works, how to shift from one group of instruments to another, when to thicken the sound or thin it. What I didn't learn is anything about doubling, which is still a mystery to me. This piece is going to be submitted to the Baltimore Composers Forum, which I am a member of, for consideration as part of a dance concert which we are working on with a local university. Score included in the YouTube, and comments as always invited >

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Hello Gav,

This is a very enjoyable piece. The first association as to its genre that comes to my mind is the opening music of a James Bond movie. It is a long time ago that I watched some of them, but I was always curious about the introductory music, how they did it and what the score would look like. I now begin to see. 

I always think from construction to sound, but you seem to think from sound to construction. I don't know whether I'll ever write anything in this style, but it is certainly refreshing and you know how to create the effects you intend.

By the way, I'm interested in your software. Looks and sounds very professional. 

Thanks for taking the time to listen and comment Geert,

Spy jazz is a big favorite of mine, and though I didn't think of it while writing this piece, it sounds like that influence came through anyway. I think it's fair to say I think from sound to construction. I can only compose from moment to moment based on the aural feedback I get from the last moment. Sometimes I do have structural goals (such as get to the next section), but they are always the 2nd goal, not the first. I use the Finale notation program with NotePerformer, if you have any questions about that, feel free to ask -

Thanks again,


Quite interesting, Gav.

Integrating instruments from rock into orchestral/chamber ensembles has been always hard, even in the other way around.

You did a really good, not trivial, job here. I enjoyed listening to it.


Thanks Fabio for your comments, I appreciate that the integration in your estimation worked as that was a prime goal in how I wrote the piece. Rock drums are such an interesting and colorful instrument, almost a mini-percussion orchestra unto themselves. I'm sure I will use them again -


Hi Gav,

congrats to an excellent and lovely piece of music. I appreciate the drums very much, it is like part of modernity.

Most enjoyable.


Thanks so much Kjell!

One more thought.

Instruments from the rock world has generally a strong bias on classical works (I'm speaking of art music, not string sections added to songs); drums in particular has great attraction for everything around.

Most of the times, the two worlds doesn't blend: rock group on one side, orchestra on the other side (eg. "Five Bridges Suite” by The Nice, otherwise one my favorite piece of music).

Two examples in the opposite way comes to my mind, Erkki-Sven Tüür's Symphony No. 5 for electric guitar, orchestra and big band and Terje Rypdal's “Whenever I Seem to Be Far Away”.

Hi Fabio, I gave the pieces you mentioned a brief listen and they didn't stand out to me. I have also heard some attempted orchestrations-after-the-fact of Yes which also did not stand out. It's clearly a challenge to blend the instrumentations of Rock with the instrumentations of classical, but I have no doubt it can be done better with an integrative approach (as opposed to just taking a rock band, plopping it into the middle of a stage and surrounding it with violins). Not having guitar solos seems almost a must to avoid the mistakes others have made -

Great piece Gavin, I like it!  A neat blend of orchestral and drums, could be soundtrack or a dance track I think. Good use of theme and development, interesting rhythms and harmonies and it all fits together well. Orchestration works well here, I'm sure you can do whatever orchestration you want, that's one of the advantages of using NotePerformer; you can get instant feedback on any combination of instruments with a good quality of sound to guide you.

I think you could be a lot more aggressive with the use of drums here, as any rock drummer most likely would. The bass drum would probably be better with some damping but NP probably doesn't have that?

Hi Ingo, funny you should mention it as a dance track as I recently submitted it for a dance concert that's going to be held in the fall. We'll see if that works out. NotePerformer is unbeatable, you get instant, realistic feedback on it. Your point about the drums being more aggressive is interesting, and since I am sure I will write again for RD, I will remember it. Not sure about dampening, I will have to investigate that. Thanks as always for your most thoughtful comments -

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