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This piece is a mixture of modern and traditional so there are plenty of things to comment on.  This is my first use of the VSL solo string library which I like but I could use some criticism and suggestions on the use of that as well.

The attached score has some rough spots and omissions but hopefully it will work as a guide.

So all comments and criticisms are welcome.  Thank you for listening.

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Yes, the score needs to be seen. I talk to a cellist friend quite a lot about my own work and double stops came up. Those in this score are quite easy, they'd probably be barred across (initially on the G & D strings and 3 bars later on the C & G strings). Trouble starts when playing 2 part counterpoint double stops or changing the interval between adjacent stops. 

But a work like this is intended for quartet 'quality' players anyway....

gregorio X said:

I am not able to view the score, but it seemed like there were some places where the cello had double-stops using an interval of a 5th. If that is true, you should be aware that That interval is very difficult to do on the cello, (unless using the open strings).

Thank you Bruce for listening and commenting. I agree that the mix here has some issues.  VSL and Reaper both have lots of mix controls and I'm still learning what's what with that so thank you for the suggestion. I listened to your video 'Morning Light' and it is very well done and enjoyable, I feel you should post more here for others to appreciate..

Bruce Irving said:

I really enjoyed this little musical journey. Lots of great musical ideas and varying textures to please the ears. I can't add to the detailed musical and technical analysis from Dane and Liz. The VSL instrument sounds are very good but somehow don't all feel like they are in the same "space." That may be a matter of further tweaking of dynamics and mix, or possibly a change to whatever you are using for reverb for the overall mix. Nice work! Thanks for sharing. 

Good ears you have on the vibrato issue Tim, thank you! VSL offers an extended articulation library and a '2nd Violin' library which probably would help with this, although I could possibly do a work around with a bit of study, but there are a number of loose ends here so we'll see.  I don't know about Kontakt other than it is widely used and liked.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Timothy Smith said:

I enjoyed this and was especially impressed by the creative parts construction. Begins with a very baroque  feel which seemed to depart from rather quickly while still retaining some of that flavor.

I hear what seemed to maybe be three different  smaller movements? I only say this because there are two larger breaks in the music. Breaks aren't long enough to give a total detached feeling.

The VSL sounds themselves are pretty good, I especially noted the cello part which sounded like a real cellist. The group play sounds were a little less convincing to me since the slight vibratos were synced. Didn't sound like independent players in a group. Sounded like a patch attempting to sound like independent players ;) I know this is a tough thing to pull off in any string library. Ingo, Can you tell me if the VSL orchestra library in Kontakt full is similar to the VSL you are referring to?

Probably not. The name is the same causing me to question if it came from the same place. I occasionally use those sounds and they sound ok. 

Ingo you are quite the talented original composer, especially for someone who hasn't used this library for any length of time. Congrats on it!

That's a good question LIz and I don't have a good answer. Sometimes I think they (the separations) work and sometimes I want to shorten them but I hadn't analyzed them as intelligently as you so this will require further study, thank you for pointing that out and recommending Mr. Carter.

Liz Atems said:

Just to echo Timothy's mention of the breaks - I noticed those too and wondered if they were supposed to be separations between movements, or just silences within the music (sort of like in Carter's 1st Quartet)?

Thank you for listening and giving good advice here Gregorio, I appreciate that. I'm sorry you aren't able to view the score, perhaps it is an issue with your browser, it seems to work for Firefox and Safari for me anyway.

Thank you for pointing out the double stop issue. I'm not a cellist and I should have checked on that. The passage is supposed to mimic a rock band with 'power chords' underneath a pentatonic melody and lots of parallel fifths which I thought was funny, so I forgot that cellos tune differently. Dane Aubrun who has been a great help to me says elsewhere here that he feels they should be playable but I should have been more careful with that.

And the ending, ha! Well yes it is possibly the most eccentric part of an odd piece and I have tried actually to change a number of things with this piece (which I wrote several years ago) so I may yet do that and I will definitely consider your suggestion. Good to see you around these parts!

gregorio X said:

Hi Ingo. Wonderful work here! I enjoyed this very much. I like your sense of harmonic movement - reminds me a bit of neoclassical style in that way.
The ebb and flow of the rhythm felt natural and very effective.
I am not able to view the score, but it seemed like there were some places where the cello had double-stops using an interval of a 5th. If that is true, you should be aware that That interval is very difficult to do on the cello, (unless using the open strings).
I have a feeling that it may not be in the range of the viola - (to allow the viola to help out) but also, the viola may be already occupied at those spots.
The ending - last 10 seconds or so, I didn't quite get. That half-step mordant threw me a bit, in the context of the piece. The ending seems like more of a question and resolution - but I am thinking that is what you were going for. Even so, perhaps you might consider giving a tad more definition.
Thanks for posting!

Thanks again Dane for further info on the VSL library and player, I'm sure many of us will benefit from that. And I appreciate you commenting on the cello double stops, that's an issue I need to be more careful with. It's  too easy to start throwing stuff on the page and let Sibelius worry about it.

Dane Aubrun said:

Yes, the score needs to be seen. I talk to a cellist friend quite a lot about my own work and double stops came up. Those in this score are quite easy, they'd probably be barred across (initially on the G & D strings and 3 bars later on the C & G strings). Trouble starts when playing 2 part counterpoint double stops or changing the interval between adjacent stops. 

But a work like this is intended for quartet 'quality' players anyway....

gregorio X said:

I am not able to view the score, but it seemed like there were some places where the cello had double-stops using an interval of a 5th. If that is true, you should be aware that That interval is very difficult to do on the cello, (unless using the open strings).

Hi Ingo,

A happy piece...  Sounds like a neoclassic piece.

I wonder what Gav would say about this.

It seems it is missing slurs.  Maybe it would perform them as slurs and the piece

would sound more tender as it is very tender in nature.

I believe this is/can be an excellent piece of work.

Please keep going on.

Graceful piece.  Congratulations.

Ali

That is a very good point Ali and I have a good excuse. Sort of. When I wrote this piece I had very few slurs. Then I got NotePerformer and it does a great job with slurs, inserting them automatically, maybe too well defined. So I got happy with inserting slurs in this piece, enjoying the difference the articulations made. Then I bought VSL and suddenly I had a much better sound, but now the slurs require proper technique to include.  So I'm still working on that. So there is a discrepancy in the score on that and other things as well.  I hope to learn better how to include the many things that VSL has to offer. 

Thank you for your excellent comments!

Ingo, and all:

Just a side comment about slurs and NP... when I first started with notation software it was with MuseScore and I used very few slurs. A neighbor who is a professional composer wondered why there were no legato markings in my string quartet (originally). Well, the pathetic answer was that in MuseScore there is no true legato! The slurs do nothing, or almost nothing, to affect the playback. Now with NP, the absence of a slur means what you get is played detache. If I want legato but forget to put in the slur, the playback immediately reminds me... VERY rudely!!

Hi Ingo,

I found this a bit challenging to get through, partly because the hidden staving threw me for a loop, but also partly because at some point after the rapid 16ths the score and the sound file part ways and I get lost. Overall, I found I had two main impressions, one, that the feel of the piece as a quartet involves a lot of the right things - shape / contrast / instrumental interplay / a kind of development or at least a forward motion. In these areas I seemed to sense that things were going well. Two, I am somewhat mystified by the harmonic language you are using. After 2-3 listens I don't feel I am any closer to understanding it - I couldn't get a sense of moving through a series of chord progressions and coming to a conclusive cadence for example. If anything, I almost felt that each part was a contrapuntal line unrelated to the other lines. I would be curious to hear from you what your approach to harmony is in the piece. Thanks for posting!
Gav

Hi Gav,

Yes my score for this piece is confusing. I'm sure Sibelius has a way of switching off the function that omits empty staves from the score but I haven't found it yet, sorry about that! The score has some other errors as well but it is accurate as far as following the music. It helps me to count 3 big beats per measure and not focus on the subdivisions when reading 9/8.

This piece is tonal but has shifting centers. There are few chord extensions and no bitonality or traditional cadences. As Gregorio has said, "The ending seems like more of a question Than a resolution". Here is a sketch (rough draft if you will) of the harmonic scheme that I started with. The piece does not follow this entirely.

Thanks for listening and commenting!



Gav Brown said:

Hi Ingo,

I found this a bit challenging to get through, partly because the hidden staving threw me for a loop, but also partly because at some point after the rapid 16ths the score and the sound file part ways and I get lost. Overall, I found I had two main impressions, one, that the feel of the piece as a quartet involves a lot of the right things - shape / contrast / instrumental interplay / a kind of development or at least a forward motion. In these areas I seemed to sense that things were going well. Two, I am somewhat mystified by the harmonic language you are using. After 2-3 listens I don't feel I am any closer to understanding it - I couldn't get a sense of moving through a series of chord progressions and coming to a conclusive cadence for example. If anything, I almost felt that each part was a contrapuntal line unrelated to the other lines. I would be curious to hear from you what your approach to harmony is in the piece. Thanks for posting!
Gav

Thanks Ingo, lots to consider!

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