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The longest single movement I've written. It was an attempt to unify material stated in the first couple of minutes. I started it late in March and brought it to its present state two weeks ago. There's a slight deviation from the scheme in the shape of a small scherzo in the full version. It took a huge effort on my part trying to get it into shape, seemed to steal from my energy but I soldiered on. 

Very aware that I'm trespassing on people's time hoping they'll give it a listen, I've presented a short version here (about half the piece down to the start of an Adagio). 

https://soundcloud.com/acitore/sinfonietta-part-1-only  (Withdrawn)

But if you could be kind enough to listen to the whole work. many thanks indeed. Truly appreciated. However in the absence of a meaningful score I don't expect detailed comment

 I know that there are still revisions to make so any general comment would be really appreciated.

The FULL version:

https://soundcloud.com/acitore/sinfonietta-150719

Cheers, Dane

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Dane,

There is no law that states a full symphony has to be an hour long. Longer pieces do not automatically mean better. There's nothing wrong with writing a long piece, but you can't force it. If you are struggling to fill a time slot, don't. Write music instead.

 As far as a score goes? Meh. If you are writing in the hopes of getting things played by real musicians, then you need to be able to produce a score. Period. That needs to be considered from the start. And you need to be able to show it in the forum. My experience is that when you produce a score, people use it more to correct your markings than to use it to listen. They point out lack of articulations or questionable ranges. They will point out when they see things that are not normally done, at least not the way they would do it. They might be right. They might be wrong. All things that need to be considered.

But what if you are writing because it's what you love to do, or because you have to do it, because you will burst if you don't? What then? Personally, I find that a score can be distracting. It is possible to be so busy paying attention to details that the greater picture might be missed. When I listen to something, I what the music to take me somewhere I've never been before. I what the music to have my full attention. I want it to rip my guts out, jump up and down on them and stuff them back in my body. Loud, soft, fast or slow. That's what I want. I can't do that if I'm paying attention to how the flute part might not need to double the first violin part in measure 42 because I don't think the flute sounds good in that range because of an up coming key change which really should have been a full step modulation rather than a half step. Oh and the first three notes of those parts need to be phrased together. 

If someone posts something that clearly has problems, people that know how to listen will be able to help without a score. 

Lots of people write for video games or indi films. If they can produce a good enough audio file, they don't need a score. It just depends.

There is much about your piece that I like. Nice work. As far as detailed comment goes, what are you after? My personal taste would be to not write something like this. I know many here will really like what you have done. And that's fine. You have put together many short episodes punctuated here and there by percussion or loud brass notes. Many short melodies or non melodies are put one after the other. I get it. I could go section by section and give you reasons why I like something or not. But it would just be my opinion. Is that what you want? I could drag out my music degree and apply what little I remember to your piece. I hated that in school. It ruined a lot of good music for me. Personally, I prefer memorable melodies and strong harmonic progressions. But that's me. I would ask you this. What is the glue that holds this piece together? What is it that drives it forward? Each of us will take away from this piece what we will. But what is your takeaway? Why is this piece important to you? Composing is such a personal thing. It's like exposing your soul. How do you express your soul?

Now I have given myself a headache. Time for a nap :)

I'm partly with Bob here, I find scores distracting... They put me in "academic" mode. The only reason one would need a score is if:

a) you want to do a detailed critique and want to reference specific areas, or

b) the rendering is so bad that you need the score to actually interpret what the composer intended.

I also agree with Bob about length. You should never TRY to write long, it will happen naturally as you develop as a composer. Personally I struggle now to write short...!

Concerning your piece, I heard the full version since I like your writing. You do remarkably well considering the idiom you've chosen. Here too I find myself agreeing with Bob, but I don't believe it's just taste. There's a correct way to write music and an incorrect! However, the correct way is a 100 times broader and more profound than the incorrect which usually has two or three dimensions. In your case you did little wrong and I do like it, but for the sake of feedback:

1.- Some bits would work better with a more rigid counterpoint. Counterpoint has this amazing ability to make really odd things or things that shouldn't work, work!

2.- I found in many of the angular lines that its harmonic resolution ruined the bigger picture of the bigger statement. For example when you have a series of short bursting "licks" and a conversation between sections. There's a moment where it all comes to a stop and that is the place I would expect the resolution, not at the end of every lick.

3.- Structurally it's almost there, but it's missing some element of unity. It's hard to track it down without a score, but my guess would be that in your endeavor to be jagged and angular you forgot that fragments need to have some relation to something. In your piece in particular I would venture to say it's the logic or thematic narrative of the individual sections' melodies i.e. the lines they play individually should have some sort of coherence between them (parallel motifs), so that the subconscious can makes sense of it, but consciously it still sounds really abstract. By this I mean the line that say the violins play should have some correlation to the next line the same violins play, not the other instruments. Of course this is not the only way to make the structure work better, but it's one of them.

4.- finally only a suggestion related to point 2. I find the big finale would work epically if you just delayed all resolutions (internal and external) until you get to that point. Just leave everything hanging and unresolved, then when the finale arrives it would be an orgasm of satisfaction... But this is just an opinion!

As always, great job, keep at it and I'll keep listening!

Dane,

I listened to the full version and I've got to say I think your opening theme is terrific - I'd like to steal it and develop it until its ears fell off.

There are some really excellent and ear-catching themes and idioms throughout, and I know you have the talent to utilise and coordinate them better than you have done here. I think you are attempting something a bit too avant garde for your own taste and have gone a little over the top in trying to achieve it. The first thing that deflated my already heightened expectations was the brass interjection at 0:16, there were numerous others that had a similar effect throughout.

For what its worth I think you should altogether forget this 'modernist' approach (not forever, just for this piece) and try to fuse the beautiful 'classical' bits into something more coherent and therefore better structured and more consistent. You have the ability to make something really memorable from the best of these materials and I'd love to hear you do just that.

I'm not expressing myself well here - my overall sense is that you have written some beautiful music and then thrown things at it to make it sound ultra modern: I suppose one way round it would be to take the ultra modern bits and forge them into one piece and then get your head down and develop the rest into something special and memorable. That opening theme lends itself to development and would make a wonderful start to your first symphony. Isn't it odd how different people react in such various ways to the same stimuli!

Finally, you have shown on various occasion here on CF that you have enormous talent - I'd love to see you harness it in a way that's true to yourself.

If you were to publish a score I'd be really cheeky and blue-pencil the slightly outlandish bits leaving you with what's left to develop into something moving and exciting.

I hope you don't think I've been destructive here - I'd love to think I've helped encourage you to rescue the best bits and make the most of them.

I'll certainly keep listening.

Interesting Stephen,

I can only assume that Dane wrote this thing the way he did for a reason. Maybe he likes it for the most part. Then you come along and tell him that bits of it are worth saving and the rest should be tossed. Plus you basically say you can do a better job of it than he can. Good job. 

Interesting response Bob. If I didn’t have great respect for Dane I wouldn’t have said what I’ve said...plus I know he will understand the direction I’m coming from. He’s a far better composer than most of us and I’m sure he will understand and grasp positively my very well intentioned sentiments.

Bob Porter said:

Interesting Stephen,

I can only assume that Dane wrote this thing the way he did for a reason. Maybe he likes it for the most part. Then you come along and tell him that bits of it are worth saving and the rest should be tossed. Plus you basically say you can do a better job of it than he can. Good job. 

Interesting indeed, Stephen. Interesting indeed.

It would also be interesting to hear the results of the collaboration for educational purposes. 

Samuel Johnson said that the best advice about writing he had ever received was from his tutor at Oxford, who advised him  that, when he had finished an essay, he should re-read it and cross out every phrase he was particularly proud of.

Ha, ha, ha, ha! Bob you crack me up!

Jon, interesting approach, I might have to try that one day...

Another often quoted rule when writing prose is to eliminate superlatives and adjectives (although I tend to follow this rule only when writing 'official' as opposed to 'social' documents): this may also be applied by analogy to musical 'prose'.

Jon Corelis said:

Samuel Johnson said that the best advice about writing he had ever received was from his tutor at Oxford, who advised him  that, when he had finished an essay, he should re-read it and cross out every phrase he was particularly proud of.

As a recently "outed" amateur composer, I can only say that Dane is a professional. how do I know? Like pornography, I know it when I hear it (although you don't really hear pornography, but perhaps they've come up with a Braille version by now). It all sounded good to me, and as a mere hobbyist (I have never claimed to be otherwise) I will not even attempt the erudite criticism offered above. Instead, I'll just say I liked it, like most of Danes's music. It sounded like modern music, very well done.

I finally know now who you sometimes remind me of, Dane: Paul Hindemith, whose music I have always liked, and whose Elementary Training for Musicians I once dutifully attempted to complete, when I was foolish enough to think I could someday be a professional (in other words, when I was young). While I do prefer Impressionism, which you also do quite well, I can listen to this and enjoy it. and as usual the rendition is superb. now that David C. has left, you are the standard for getting great sound out of a DAW. 

By the way, why does this place have a history of really good composers leaving? Jerry awhile back, more recently David. I just don't get it.

Hear, hear! Love Hindemith too! And spot on about Dane!

I didn't know people had left. I joined about 8 years ago but then completely forgot it existed till I got an email about the contest a few months ago. I'm trying to get a bit more involved now and I'm really liking the people and the incredible talent here, can't imagine ever leaving...!

michael diemer said:

As a recently "outed" amateur composer, I can only say that Dane is a professional. how do I know? Like pornography, I know it when I hear it (although you don't really hear pornography, but perhaps they've come up with a Braille version by now). It all sounded good to me, and as a mere hobbyist (I have never claimed to be otherwise) I will not even attempt the erudite criticism offered above. Instead, I'll just say I liked it, like most of Danes's music. It sounded like modern music, very well done.

I finally know now who you sometimes remind me of, Dane: Paul Hindemith, whose music I have always liked, and whose Elementary Training for Musicians I once dutifully attempted to complete, when I was foolish enough to think I could someday be a professional (in other words, when I was young). While I do prefer Impressionism, which you also do quite well, I can listen to this and enjoy it. and as usual the rendition is superb. now that David C. has left, you are the standard for getting great sound out of a DAW. 

By the way, why does this place have a history of really good composers leaving? Jerry awhile back, more recently David. I just don't get it.

Sincere apologies for not responding to your many comments received with thanks. Medical emergency. I'll do my best to catch up over the coming days.

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