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Hello Colleagues, this is one of a series of 3 pieces written to be interstitial music at a dance concert hosted by my local composers group, the Baltimore Composers Forum. It was to be played between dance numbers to allow time for stage tear-downs and set-ups. However, this concert moved to be online, so the piece became no longer necessary. Why the low-strings instrumentation? It's because that was the musicians who were available! Score included in the YT below and comments as always invited >

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Hi Gav 

liked the dance part of this piece and, as a viola player, quite happy with instrumentation.

i thought that the intro was a little long, you could cut the first eight bars I think. Unless they’re still moving the set around.

Also I think you missed an opportunity to be more “canonical” with the ‘cello and viola rather than having them together for the whole dance. Have the ‘cello occasionally start a beat after the viola and similar.

Hi Michael,l

Thanks for this feedback. It would certainly have been easy to cut the intro down, as long as I made up for it somewhere else - they wanted 2 minutes for each of these pieces for the set changes. I take your point about the cello and viola always moving in unison, starting a half-beat later on the cello might have added interest. Appreciate you taking the time to listen and offer thoughts -

Gav

Great use of rhythm and varying meters Gav, the pulse is never lost yet never boring. Michael has a good point about using counterpoint but it's a short piece and you do have some contrary motion there. I felt you could do more with the ending, you've built up considerable momentum by then, it's sort of hard to just stop. 

You always have the best pictures for your opening shots!

Hi Ingo,

Thanks for this commentary. I especially take your point about the ending, it is rather simple. One thing I had to be careful about was that the music was intended not to stand out too much as it is performing a secondary function to the show. I didn't want to have any fiery finishes. But now that it's independent of its original purpose, perhaps that no longer applies. This is only my second foray into writing for strings and I have learned something each time I have done it.

Gav

Hi Gav,

I can see this as being a very front and center mood piece used for the purposes intended.In fact I think it works excellent for that. The bass added a real upbeat feel to it. 

Not every day I hear a viola as top instrument. Nothing personally against violists. Worked very well here and kudos to you for using only the instruments you had available at the time. I liked the up beat feel of it personally. A shame it wasn't eventually used. The key changes weren't a surprise. The 7/4 was. 

From a mixing perspective I can't help wonder how it would sound if the viola were a little louder as compared to the other instruments? I say this because it seems to be taking the most lead role here instead of everything combining together as one unified whole in terms of dynamics.. I am envisioning a louder bass and lead, in this case the viola. These are just my opinions.

Nice work!

Thanks Tim for this comment. I had originally notated the viola volume one degree higher, but a violist told me that wasn't necessary, it would be assumed by the performers. Of course software output is regulated by what's written. Next time I'll experiment with a second version of the file with the volume up. Thanks again!

A fun piece, that would have really fitted well the original purpose, but also works well on its own!

This is a completely personal comment (and an indicator of my relative lack of musicianship in parts): does it really, really, make practical sense to put 7/4 bars and such in there, instead of writing as 3/4 and 4/4 etc.? The musical outcome for the listener would be the same (would it not?), whilst the musicians would actually, reliably, stay together on the path.

But, as said, that is just me, who would struggle to read and play it well.

Hello Gav,

Very well done! given the circumstantial limitations.
I like the changes in timing, it gives it a Copland-ish feel.
It’s a cheerful piece that makes me wonder how it would work for a larger ensemble. I imagine the addition of a woodwind section.
Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for these comments Tillerich, and in specific response to your comment about time, writing it as divisions of 3 and 4 would have been a perfectly good way to do it. I do it as I do because I am using the longer times to signify phraseology, where a phrase begins and ends. You could do this with slur marks in 3 and 4 beat time as well, so again, it is a matter of personal choice -

Tillerich said:

A fun piece, that would have really fitted well the original purpose, but also works well on its own!

This is a completely personal comment (and an indicator of my relative lack of musicianship in parts): does it really, really, make practical sense to put 7/4 bars and such in there, instead of writing as 3/4 and 4/4 etc.? The musical outcome for the listener would be the same (would it not?), whilst the musicians would actually, reliably, stay together on the path.

But, as said, that is just me, who would struggle to read and play it well.

Thanks Joost for your listening and for your comments. Copland is indeed a big influence on me, so you have probably picked up on something there!

Joost Visser said:

Hello Gav,

Very well done! given the circumstantial limitations.
I like the changes in timing, it gives it a Copland-ish feel.
It’s a cheerful piece that makes me wonder how it would work for a larger ensemble. I imagine the addition of a woodwind section.
Thanks for sharing!

Thank you very much...I am relieved, actually :-)

Gav Brown said:

Thanks for these comments Tillerich, and in specific response to your comment about time, writing it as divisions of 3 and 4 would have been a perfectly good way to do it. I do it as I do because I am using the longer times to signify phraseology, where a phrase begins and ends. You could do this with slur marks in 3 and 4 beat time as well, so again, it is a matter of personal choice -

Tillerich said:

A fun piece, that would have really fitted well the original purpose, but also works well on its own!

This is a completely personal comment (and an indicator of my relative lack of musicianship in parts): does it really, really, make practical sense to put 7/4 bars and such in there, instead of writing as 3/4 and 4/4 etc.? The musical outcome for the listener would be the same (would it not?), whilst the musicians would actually, reliably, stay together on the path.

But, as said, that is just me, who would struggle to read and play it well.

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