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This poem is called "Facing West" and is by Walt Whitman.


I won't say any more than just give you the poem as I was given it - and ask you to comment on how you think I tackled this piece.




FACING west, from California's shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the
        land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western Sea—the circle almost circled;
For, starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia—from the north—from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south—from the flowery peninsulas, and the spice islands;
Long having wander'd since—round the earth having wander'd,
Now I face home again—very pleas'd and joyous;
(But where is what I started for, so long ago?                    

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Beautiful poem, and peaceful melody.  Nicely done!
thanks for listening!
You raise a good question, if one is writing for film, does the piano part always have to be full on thing, both hands?

Your composition skills have made leaps and bounds since I first met you. Great text setting, and your compositional choices are very mature. Again, I hear those Latin influences in their, this time it sounded at times like a tango in a way.


Now the following isnt really a critic, but more to make you aware of where this piece seems to want to go, thus where your style wants to go:

Your music overall, but especially in this piece, its beginning to sound very schmaltzy, yet refined. Much like Musical theater. In fact this piece sounds like it could very well be in a Broadway musical, possibly one about Walt Whitman. This can work in your favor if you decide to explore that route. a possible suggestion.

Yes I understand what you're saying totally, I can lapse into a Barry mainlow mode (yes, I have his songbook on my shelf).

The art to all of this is treading just on the right side of taste and decency and through things like key changes, deceptive cadences and harmonic interest my aim is to be popular, but never "cheap" and I hope I just about get the balance right!

thanks for listening.

Thanks for the detailed reply. I never appreciated the vowel aspect to the poetry - it was just a fairly uneducated response, but I can see what you mean in retrospect.


I will invetigate some more of his poetry to get an understanding of what you mean, and bear it in mind before I attempt another setting (if I decide to do another one).

Beautiful melody! I somewhat agree with Jon. I also think a singer would change some rhythms here and even some short melody lines, just to get loose from the score. Like singers do. I'm no singer, more of an allround musician, who also sings (I did sing a solo in a Moulin Rouge production last fall). I'd change bar 11. "From" would come on time as you wrote it. But "Ca-li-" I would place on two 16th notes at the very end of the bar (or two triplet eights), to get the word "California" more natural. Then in bar 16 I would feel unease to sing the melody line down to B. Instead I would leave on F# on "-found".

Maybe this is nit picking, but this was my first reaction - and only reaction, I only listened once. Over all I do like it very much.

I could go on, picking things here and there, but I guess it's not worth it. Immediate impressions after only one time listening might not be that important. I'm sure you have given much more thoughts to the whole song and each particular issue I would point out. It would be more interesting discussing face to face, or through a text chat.

I have now done an mp3 using the gypsy violin -please have a listen.

I hope people think that I've made a decent tune.


That's an idea.


I use the gypsy violin a lot because it sounds reasonable even for me - out of the box.


You never said whether you liked the piece...?

Well, don't take any software instruments too seriously. To me they are only for demoing compositions that are to be played with real instruments. Just use your imagination when you listen to them. Though you can develop great skills in editing the midi data to make it sound real.

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