Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

The main requirements towards producing interesting music in any genre!

We can argue for days, weeks or eternity about, good or bad genre of music. Personal taste seldom alters although taste can and does change with age and experience but imho, there are a couple of things truly critical when creating music as a listening experience regardless of genre.

1. Dynamic range (as wide a variation as possible).
2. Timbre (changing over time).
3. ?

What do you think? Have you listened to performances of others that you 'should' be using as reference when producing your own work?
It's not just about the form and theory as that necessitates the listener imagining the same sound you're hearing in your head. If you start with a score then put every mark in there needed to tell the performer be they human or software application exactly what your intentions are. I really do not enjoy telling anyone their piece sounds crap just to get the reply 'but this is only a rough guide and I hope to have real players use it'. No it isn't because you've published it for the world to listen. It is an example of your lack of skill.

Yes I know, I'm BAD but please give us all your thoughts.

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Ray--I still think Gregorio's reply was spot on, and I feel nothing else needs to be added.

Thanks Bob Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

Ray said:

Bob, the dissenting posts here choose to ignore my point on writing for performance by citing prohibitive costs involved in creating finalised recordings. It has nothing to do with finalised recording or employing musicians. IMO a necessary skill for any composer is that of things as simple as knowing a piano makes a different sound depending on how you press a key. It just isn't good enough to produce a piece where all the notes are struck at the same velocity. Even low brow pop and rock musicians know the value of light and shade.
Music has to have soul.

3- relevance to present consciousness and reflecting that/it  artistically.

Ray, what bad? An honest critique from someone with your experience,

or anyone else here, should be a blessing, if it is constructive criticism.

Is this really a forum for 'finished' products?.... I think not.

Reflective input from peers, or people with experience in the 'field'

is a unique feature/potential of this type of forum.

Granted, there is no real professional bar set here for display.

No one starts out as a Pro, and even Pro's can use some feedback.

On the other hand, no one's appraisal of anothers work should be taken

as a 'final' word. Regardless of experience, it is still an opinion. 1 opinion.

This forum is NOT the world. It is a tiny segment of a smattering of people

interested in musical composition... and skill is always a developing process.

ps-Your statement,'please give us all your thoughts' can be taken 2 ways.  RS

The idea of a musical score depicting musical thought of someone has reached through centuries of development almost a perfect state as far as semantics go, that is. To me it is more important to approach with honesty that musical thought and with ability to hear it mentally in one's head (by use of the "inner ear" if you prefer that definition). Now, a midi realization of that score (whether bad or good) is an extra unexpected bonus and it helps enormously making appreciation of musical thoughts a faster process.

That is why I always insist on a score been presented with every submission of a piece. When one submits a piece for peer consideration he either means that the piece is finished or he seeks advise for its further development.

We are not midi programmers in this forum, neither sound engineers nor conductors or anything else, we are primarily composers, so by writing our scores in as much detail and instruction to performers as we can our job may be considered done. (If we happen to be also midi programmers, sound engineers and conductors, or we have other desirable qualities, then our sequences and midi realizations are bound to sound better, but those are also extra bonuses). The ability to understand what is written on a score and more or less to actually hear it without sound been produced is of paramount importance for any musician.

So, what are we talking about in this thread? I'm still unclear.

"I really do not enjoy telling anyone their piece sounds crap just to get the reply 'but this is only a rough guide and I hope to have real players use it'. No it isn't because you've published it for the world to listen. It is an example of your lack of skill."

Oh, boy. We're doing this again?

A composer isn't obliged to make a good, accurate mockup if their endgame is live performance. A "rough guide" might indicate a lack of skill, but it's not a necessary skill to acquire. Useful, certainly, depending on your field, but composers writing specifically for live scenarios have no real need for it unless they themselves decide. The quality of a mockup has nothing to do with the composition.

Now Gav tells us this is the premier composers forum on the interweb so I'm reading every line here for my education.
Thanks and keep em coming.

Ray

"The quality of a mockup has nothing to do with the composition"

It can. Unless I'm a brass expert, I might think I want the trombones to play thirds down low. But a quality sound file might show the sound to be muddy. Do I really want the violins to double the melody an octave higher? Often a good choice, but not always. How long and how much of a crescendo do I want? Unless I'm an expert on the instruments I'm writing for, I need the best quality sound file to help me out. This is why good notation software comes with recorded instrument sounds. To give the composer an idea of what they are writing will sound like. Not a finished product, to be sure.

Sure, write a piece in score format and post it. We can look it over and make suggestions. Fine. But post a poor quality sound file along with that score and it might do more harm than good.

Yes, I was tempted to include the caveat "except these specific situations in which mockups are useful" but couldn't face it. I did say "composers have no need of it UNLESS they decide otherwise." Having a bad mockup when you're writing for performance and don't much care how the mock sounds isn't grounds to be attacked for a lack of skill, is my main point. I agree that in situations where people can read scores and parts - which you'd hope to be the case when getting recorded - a bad, or even good, mock isn't even necessary. Except for caveats.

Bob Porter said:

"The quality of a mockup has nothing to do with the composition"

It can. Unless I'm a brass expert, I might think I want the trombones to play thirds down low. But a quality sound file might show the sound to be muddy. Do I really want the violins to double the melody an octave higher? Often a good choice, but not always. How long and how much of a crescendo do I want? Unless I'm an expert on the instruments I'm writing for, I need the best quality sound file to help me out. This is why good notation software comes with recorded instrument sounds. To give the composer an idea of what they are writing will sound like. Not a finished product, to be sure.

Sure, write a piece in score format and post it. We can look it over and make suggestions. Fine. But post a poor quality sound file along with that score and it might do more harm than good.

You're talented, have experience and skill. That doesn't mean taking a general swipe at the forum because they don't all work with samples like you is going to stand up. Your way is not the only way to work.

Ray said:

Now Gav tells us this is the premier composers forum on the interweb so I'm reading every line here for my education.
Thanks and keep em coming.

Ray

For a general audience of non-musicians I would try to make a sequence on the Sibelius sounding as good as my ability and equipment allows me. But presenting the same piece in a composers forum, I would expect the composers to follow the score pdf more closely than any sequence I may provide. In fact I don’t know why I should provide any such sound file. I find it very time consuming tweaking with pan and volume knobs etc. and not part of my job as a composer. It's not in the job description, so to speak. I have studied composition to post graduate level in the university of London. Fucking about with Sibelius, logic audio, samples, knobs etc., was never part of the lectures. Analysing scores by Bach or Boulez was!

And during this study, did you note anything ambiguous in their scores? We're their scores marked showing dynamic variations?
Read my posts again, I'm not referring simply to mockup but the very basic marking of intentions however an individual composer wishes to present their music.

Socrates Arvanitakis said:

I have studied composition to post graduate level in the university of London. Fucking about with Sibelius, logic audio, samples, knobs etc., was never part of the lectures. Analysing scores by Bach or Boulez was!

Sure, 20 or 30 years ago it wasn't in the job description. I don't know about now, but there are universities using notation and DAW software.

As for this forum? We have the full range of people who are well trained and experienced to those who know nothing about music.

Me? I prefer a listenable file. If the music is interesting I might go to the score. After all, isn't music mainly a sound experience?

I don't think Ray is expecting a professional sound file. Just one that doesn't hurt to listen to.

I agree, Ray, someone who just posts a score should mark it as completely as possible. 

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