Music Composers Unite!
Someone said it was OK to post another piece already, so I'm doing that.
This recording features very raw midi (I'm (as yet) on Linux with no good tools), and (referring to another discussion here) a total lack of diminished chords despite extensive modulation.
There is as yet no real orchestration. String orchestra should be sufficient, no need for any winds, brass or percussion here.
I think of this as either usable as film music, or in a televised "easy listening" performance (i.e. a flamboyant pianist in the style of Richard Clayderman, pulling his fingers through his rich hair; the camera clipping to romantic scenery with mountain tops etc., ). I have no realistic chance of getting it performed that way, but some days I dream of myself in the role of such a pianist...
I'm content with: the third theme (beginning in bar 83), and its smooth modulations. I'm not so sure about: the modulations when the orchestra takes over the melody in bars 26-34 and bars 59-68 (They sound a little more Hollywood old school there, than the rest of the piece, which pop-habituated listeners might find troubling (hope you understand what I mean)).
I would like comments on: The style I went for here. General issues of composition, like large scale form and so on. Is it too cliché? Or, in contrast, too complex?
I would not like comments on: the quality of the midi rendition (sound fonts, panning, mixing etc.) I know it is really bad.
UPDATE: There is now a simple full score for piano, strings and electric bass guitar. Would love comments on my "orchestration" since I'm a beginner at that.
Finally got round to this again.
I like it!! I think this has improved from the previous version that I heard. I like the climactic arpeggios you added at N and the chords in mm.125-139, as well as the additional flourishes in the cadenza. Also, I see that you're scoring for the string section in 5 staves, which is a very good start.
Here are some comments on this latest version:
- m.9: here I'd change the 2nd violins part to Eb (half note) -> D (half note).
- m.10: it feels like the B in the bass isn't held long enough. In the ideal case you'd want a diminuendo here, lasting all the way to m.11 when the piano enters, though I understand that's a bit tricky to achieve in Lilypond. (There is a way, though, and I have a .ly file I wrote just for this purpose; if you're interested I can send it to you with some instructions on how to use it.)
- mm.17-18: good job here on smoothing the diversion to F: I didn't look more carefully into what exactly you did here, but it sounds much smoother than before, and no longer sticks out to my (biased) ears. Good job! ;-)
- m.58: I'd strengthen the piano LH here with an octave below the low C.
- Overall, I like the contrasts you wrote in the string accompaniment, but I felt that the string writing could be greatly improved. It mostly sounds quite OK, but after a while it seems that it's almost entirely just block chords and the occasional melody line. The strings are capable of much, much more, and using them effectively will greatly enhance this piece. Here are some specific examples, just to be more concrete:
* mm. 65-68: I felt the string writing here should contrast a bit more with the preceding 4 bars. Perhaps an ascending countermelody in the lower strings? (Say violas, or cellos, or cellos + basses). Just for contrast, and to add additional tension in the extension of the main melody here. Or, alternatively, move the violins up an octave. Violins sound stronger in the higher register; in their low register they are somewhat weaker in tone.
* mm. 69-83 (H): Try the following little "trick" to add some extra flavor in the string part in this passage: at each long note in the piano melody, shorten the lower notes of the string chords, e.g., in m.70, shorten the viola note to a quarter note, 2nd violins to half note, and only 1st violins hold the entire whole note. Similarly in m.72, drop the viola note (and perhaps also the 2nd violins) in the 2nd half of the bar, and then in the next 3 bars shorten the viola/2nd violins like in m.70. Similarly in the subsequent answering melody in mm.76-83.
* Section marked (J): the string chords here sound quite appropriate, though I was hoping for the occasional variety, such as, say, the violins occasionally echoing some fragments of the piano melody after the piano plays it, to add some extra color. I did like how you gradually thicken the string chords through the passage, though, esp. how you expanded the range of the string chord in m.104 - that added a nice freshness to the passage.
* m.110: unfortunately, unlike the impression the midi rendering may have given, the bass line here would sound quite weak in a real orchestra. Basses in their high register are quite weak; I would double them with the cellos here for added clarity. And in m.112, I'd perhaps have violas + cellos, in order to contrast it with cellos + bass in m.110.
- mm. 125: while I like the new piano chords here, they sound a bit deflated for a climactic passage. Perhaps transpose them an octave up? Or at least, transpose the chords an octave up starting at m.132 when the strings leap into the high register for a climactic melody. Also, it may help hit the bass notes on the piano with LH octaves in this passage, for a stronger sound.
Finally, I'd recommend exploring more variety in the string writing. For example, the occasional string arpeggios might be just the thing you need to break up the monotony of string block chords throughout the piece. Perhaps the occasional very high string chord in the violins.