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As a few of you might know, I have been working on my symphony as means of completing my dissertation for my degree. Im in the editing phases of the writing process and thought it would be a good time to share with you what I have beyond just the audio one movement at a time. 

A little bit about the symphony and this movement:

The symphony pulls its inspiration from the Ocean, but through a scientific lens as oppose to nautical life. Each movement refers to a depth zone in open ocean:

The first movement is The Epipelagic Zone, also known as the Sunlight Zone. Its descends around 200 meters from the surface and is where most marine animals and photosynthesizing plant based organisms live. 

The music is meant to reflect both the organisms that live in this zone as well as ocean conditions here (such as currents, weather, and sunlight). 

About the score:

The music for the most part is done, though there are some areas that I might change or re-tweak. Notationally, however, it still needs polishing.

What I hope to gain from your criticism are a few things;

What do you think of the piece? Do you get a sense of the ocean and specifically the Epipelagic Zone?

Do you spot any notational errors that need correcting? Do you see anything that just not clear enough?

Lastly, what are your thoughts on the 4+5/4 composite time signature? Originally it looked like this:

However the problem with this is that it prevents multi-rest to form in the individual parts and can be very difficult to count (not that composite time signatures are any better).

Let me know what you think. I look forward to your comments. 

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Glad you liked it. 

Olmn said:

I am enjoying this again, after my first listening.

Nice expansion of tonal layers.

Thanks for posting it here.

Glad you liked it, and I am considering rebarring the opening to 9/4. When reviewing the music again its clearly not in 4/4 + 5/4 but a clear 9/4 with the musical ideas repeating every measure in a 2+2+2+3 pattern. Ill probably keep two files ready just in case that becomes a problem. 

Socrates Arvanitakis said:

If I had to choose one of the four elements for this movement in all probability I'd choose water and certainly air would be my last choice. So in the abstract sense it creates within me near enough associations to those that your music seeks.

On a first hearing (I will come back for more), I discerned 4 main sections following naturally from each other and I thought that the third section had some material from the first which starts its development like a passacaglia (well, a first impression), but I have to look more closely for that.

It certainly has (orchestration wise) the transparency and clarity that I would like to associate with the epipelagic zone and generally with water transparency and life. The challenge for subsequent movements I thought it would be how to go deeper and still keep this desirable quality, but I'm sure you will see to that. :-)

 

Excluding necessary changes of time signature between 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 & 5/4 where the music dictates it, I thought that scoring in alternating bars of 4/4 & 5/4 is not necessary and I would have done it completely in 9/4, but my rhythmic concept of 9/4 is totally Greek.

 

There is a traditional rebetiko dance called "zeibekiko" which is always written in 9/4 (take what wikipedia says on it with a pinch cause it is never in 9/8 apart from one specific version of it) and its main sub-divisions (and groupings thereof) are either 2+2+2+3 or 3+2+2+2, but never 3+3+3 as per western European usage. Both these sub-divisions come in a strait and in a syncopated form and I provide two links for songs from my web page demonstrating these later versions. The obvious rhythmical instrument to look for is the guitar and in the syncopated version it reminded me some of your practice.

BTW, the pdf provided is from the 1st song giving the recorder part which starts with a multi rest bar in 9/4

 

I enjoyed it very much and I look forward to listen to more of this work as you progress.

Thanks for posting.

 

LIFE-LONG LOVE AFFAIR

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YOU BIT IT IN FRENCH STYLE

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Glad you found the piece pleasant to listen to and that you got most of the imaginary I was going for with this piece. There is an implied center, though I wouldn't call it so much a tonal center but an implied center of D, as that is the note I tend to sustain and rest on the most. The key itself is made up of a sort of invented scale of D E F# G A Bb C, with the occasional Ab. Their are section that use more traditional keys but only briefly and through rapid modulations. But for the most part I tried to avoid too many traditional key schemes to give it that mysterious and uneasy feel, which contrast yet complements the soothing nature of the piece. 

H. S. Teoh said:

Wow. I wasn't sure if I would like this piece, but after finally listening to it, I have to admit that it's actually pleasant to listen to. The first section is very reminiscient of shallow waters, close to a distant, pristine beach, untouched by human activity, with gently lapping waters. The instruments are nicely chosen to give a sense of both (what i perceive to be) the surface water movement, together with gentle undercurrents.

Wasn't quite sure what the subsequent sections might refer to, but there's quite a lot of interesting, contrasting material that it doesn't sound boring, in spite of being quite "repetitious" in the sense that many of the passages are rather static in mood.

Although this is clearly modern in harmony, I nevertheless hear a persistent tonal center throughout the piece, a mostly minor key sort of feel, that gives it a sense of mystery and remoteness, like a remote ocean far away from human activity, in depths never before seen by human eyes.

Sounds like it would serve as a good soundtrack for a documentary on ocean life, or as background music to an aquarium. :-)  Reminds me of certain sections of Sibelius' Tapiola, though much slower in pace.

Haven't really looked closely at the score, as I'm currently away from my home PC; the score is far too large to follow on a tiny laptop screen. But nevertheless I found that the sections are distinct enough that I could actually visually find my place in the score by looking at the general contours and patterns of the notes that look like what I'm hearing, even though I can't actually see clearly enough to identify individual pitches!

Isn't D E F# G A Bb C just a Myxolydian mode with a flattened 6th? Sound pretty tonal to me. ;-)

Almost, however the fact that their is a flat 6th makes it not a mixolydian scale. One can even say that its an aeolian scale with a sharp 3rd. It also doesnt act tonally, some of the motives terminate not on D or any note within the D major triad, but on the 2nd or the 4th. 

H. S. Teoh said:

Isn't D E F# G A Bb C just a Myxolydian mode with a flattened 6th? Sound pretty tonal to me. ;-)

Sounds like g minor, but with no strong chord progressions especially V to I. Those notes are from the ascending g minor melodic scale...

Wouldn't it be a good idea to add B flat to the key signature Tyler? It would help any player since the bs are all flat anyway. 2 flats would be more "correct" but since most E's are the raised 6th not the flattened it would be a bit redundant putting 2 flats in key sig.
 
Tyler Hughes said:

Almost, however the fact that their is a flat 6th makes it not a mixolydian scale. One can even say that its an aeolian scale with a sharp 3rd. It also doesnt act tonally, some of the motives terminate not on D or any note within the D major triad, but on the 2nd or the 4th. 

H. S. Teoh said:

Isn't D E F# G A Bb C just a Myxolydian mode with a flattened 6th? Sound pretty tonal to me. ;-)

One has to keep in mind that it isn't souly in this mixed mode. its only in that mode for 46 measures and then again at the end. With the variety of harmonic textures, including an atonal section, key signatures raise the possibility of mistakes. Chromatic scores are also common practice in modern music; this also include chromatic transposed parts. Key signatures have a lot of weight to them and imply a lot of things to the performers and the conductors. They really are used mainly for pieces that are strictly in a key of some kind. And because this piece could easily be interpreted in G major with a flat 3rd, or D major with a flat 6th and 7th, or even Bb major with a flat 4th and raised 5th. Its ambiguity demands a keyless signature. 

Paul Halley said:

Sounds like g minor, but with no strong chord progressions especially V to I. Those notes are from the ascending g minor melodic scale...

Wouldn't it be a good idea to add B flat to the key signature Tyler? It would help any player since the bs are all flat anyway. 2 flats would be more "correct" but since most E's are the raised 6th not the flattened it would be a bit redundant putting 2 flats in key sig.
 
Tyler Hughes said:

Almost, however the fact that their is a flat 6th makes it not a mixolydian scale. One can even say that its an aeolian scale with a sharp 3rd. It also doesnt act tonally, some of the motives terminate not on D or any note within the D major triad, but on the 2nd or the 4th. 

H. S. Teoh said:

Isn't D E F# G A Bb C just a Myxolydian mode with a flattened 6th? Sound pretty tonal to me. ;-)

Ok, nice start... Nice and light, good build-up.

You know me, I am not able to link this to something specific, but I do like the piece.

Oh, at 4:38 I hear a whale... ;) Great!

It is a nice movement, I do really like it.

Tyler,

I think this music very effectively paints the picture you are trying to portray. It's a great shape. I'm wondering if you could have notated it in a simple meter with the the phrasing occurring off the bar. I'm not sure what would be easier to read or conduct. I'm on to the 2nd movement. Sounds great.

Rich Hill

Tyler,  I've re-listened to this piece and listened to your 2nd movement. I think I know what I'm missing. (This is a general gripe I have about not only classical pieces, but pop stuff, as well). All the elements are there for great listening. Ambience, tension-release, instrumental tonalities, all the emotive qualities. Everything except . . . compelling melodic content. I could only dream of creating this kind of soundscape. Maybe it's because I'm old-fashioned, but if I can't take something away from it that I find myself humming or whistling to myself, then It's kinda forgettable. In an age of synthesizers, rap and "gee-whiz" electronic sounds, in the movies and on the radio, it seems that composers are no longer much interested in melody. 

That's my criticism. It shouldn't detract from my admiration of all the rest.

Tyler,

I have re-listened to your 1st movement as well as the 2nd. Here is my critique.

The music is wonderfully effective. It has all the elements. Beautiful ambiance, tonal color, excellent instrumentation, vivid ambience, tension-release. I could only dream of creating a soundscape like this. What's missing, for me, is compelling melodic content. If I can't take something away from a piece of music that I will hum or whistle to myself, then the piece is quickly forgettable. This is a gripe I have had with both "classical" and pop music for some time. With classical, it probably started with 12-tone experimental stuff. More recently, in pop, with rap and horror and suspense TV series soundtracks. Melody seems to no longer be an important element in composition. At the same time, with the development of "gee-whiz" synthetic sounds, melody has become all but irrelevant to a musical passage. 

That's my critique. It should not detract from my admiration of all the rest.

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