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Hello, I've been watching the Composers Forum for quite some time now, and after hearing a lot of great pieces, I finally had the guts to actually join the community and post an original piece for critique! I would love to hear what everybody's got to say with all their experience!

So, this is a new piece called Super Nova. It's sci fi themed, made with orchestral sample libraries and tries to resemble the Super Nova phenomenon; which is the "death" of a star. The star shines more than ever just before it explodes and vanishes completely, but it's light continue to irradiate for years after the explosion.

I used only two chords intentionally for the entire piece as I wanted the musical elements to really repeat themselves to exhaustion and then change little by little. That way I could build up the piece just by changing small aspects, like dynamics and variations of the ostinatos. Near the end, I tried to illustrate the successive explosions within the star by really pushing the dynamics alternating pp small passages and fff attacks.

I would really appreciate some advice and critique on orchestration, mixing and mastering, harmony (as it's poor, I know), and every little aspect that you can think of! I've been reading Adler's Study of Orchestration so I think I might improve with time, study and work! Don't be too harsh, though! I don't take rejection very well :(

Just kidding! I know you guys are nice!

Here's the video:

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Hello Andres -- My name is Dan -- I too just joined the Forum and am interested in sharing ideas as well.

Your piece is nice -- it evokes the whole outer space experience. I hear the chords going elsewhere -- you're using a minor tonic chord with a flat 6 major, going back and forth, using the dynamics to achieve the sense of the star exploding. I hear the chords wanting to change (maybe to a IV major or minor from the minor tonic chord and then to a II minor, after the flat 6 major chord. The change in harmony would contribute greatly to the buildup of suspense in the piece. Just a thought...

The orchestration is fine...lots of different timbres. It fits the piece very well.

Fredrick zinos said:

This is really quite good. I am impressed that you were able to make so passionate a composition out of such meager means.. That, in my opinion,  is that mark of a very good imagination. This work is raw, however,by which I mean it is unsophisticated. learn more of the craft of compostion and 5 years from now you will work on an idea like this and leave the audience shaking in their boots.

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Thanks a lot for your thoughts, Fredrick. You just gave me a future task, you know that? I'm gonna revisit this piece 5 years from now and see what happens. I'll post it here so we can discuss about it. That's what I find great about talking with and getting feedback from fellow experienced composers, we always learn something. I'll keep studying composition and orchestration anyway I can and see if I can improve this!

Thank you so much!



Daniel J. Scerbo said:

Hello Andres -- My name is Dan -- I too just joined the Forum and am interested in sharing ideas as well.

Your piece is nice -- it evokes the whole outer space experience. I hear the chords going elsewhere -- you're using a minor tonic chord with a flat 6 major, going back and forth, using the dynamics to achieve the sense of the star exploding. I hear the chords wanting to change (maybe to a IV major or minor from the minor tonic chord and then to a II minor, after the flat 6 major chord. The change in harmony would contribute greatly to the buildup of suspense in the piece. Just a thought...

The orchestration is fine...lots of different timbres. It fits the piece very well.

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Hi, Dan! Thanks for your considerations! I just tried that change from the minor tonic (Cm) to the IV major (F#) and then from the flat VI (G#) to the IIm (D#m), and it really adds up to the suspense! As it would be a new element I think it might just suit the path to the modulation I was planning to implement! Maybe someday in 5 years I'll do it and give you credit, buddy!



André Colares said:

Ondib Olmnilnlolm said:

Thank you, André, for the very kind words about "Quantum Concatenations."

I was very gratified when you said you liked the part "near the end when you introduce the pizzicato strings and from there on it's pure bliss."

Not simply gratified by the compliment, but by this:   I felt after hearing your piece, and getting a partial sense of your "musical personality" (if you will permit me use of that term), that the passage you mentioned was precisely the part you would like, which was why I posted the link.

There was some kind of symmetry, or "fellow-feeling" in my mind, with what you are doing in your piece, and what I was doing there (in writing a piece connected with science and/or science fiction).

I have listened to your Super Nova piece several times now, and think perhaps my judgements about the end were misguided.   There is a certain rightness about the way the conclusion works, especially in light of your efforts at "pushing the dynamics alternating pp small passages and fff attacks," as you put it.   I heard and felt that more clearly after the first few listenings.  Who wants to hear something so terrible as a real super nova anyway?   Furthermore, if this were the score to an actual film,  I would see this as the opening, or the "overture" to the film.   The super nova itself, if depicted musically, would come later.  I refer to the complete and final destruction of the star.  You were talking about the explosions which preface the super giant's annihilation.  Now if you do figure out a more shocking, grotesque or terrifying way to represent such a terminal cataclysm, you might write another "movement" or episode, in which that occurs, if you feel so inclined.

Thanks for "having the guts" to post the piece.

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Wow, talk about synchronicity, eh? For me, that final part on Quantum Concatenations comes as a closure but as a new beginning as well. The beginning of a really chaotic phenomenon that progresses and result in a "new order", if you may. That's what I feel about science and physics too, he. Apart from that, your explanation makes total sense to me, as my piece serves well as an overture to something bigger coming after. I tried to give the impression of something mysterious, yet beautifull and inevitable. Maybe it didn't happen to the end of the piece at all! Maybe it was just the organized beginning of a tremendously chaotic future event! What a trip!

Thanks, man!

I just read these words, which you wrote a while back, on March 30.

I sometimes get distracted on this forum, with so many messages flying around.  So I am replying a bit late, I hope not too late.

I liked it when you spoke of:

"a closure but as a new beginning as well. The beginning of a really chaotic phenomenon that progresses and result in a "new order", if you may. That's what I feel about science and physics too, he."

Yes, I understand what you are saying, and the phenomenon you are discussing.  It's a thought of something that modern man, just having entered the age of space exploration and nuclear power, is only now beginning to glimpse.  It can and will be reflected in music.  As you have done in your work.   It's terribly exciting, and bodes well for humanity's discovery of itself  NOT as something small and insignificant in a large and impersonal cosmos, but as being connected with a larger reality, where innumerable new kinships and relationships with other entities and forces will be revealed.   Some will be impersonal, of course, but I assume and believe others will be personal and sentient.   It's a feeling, a belief, almost a kind of faith.  

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