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Digitizing past summers' verse-melody manuscripts never ends!

One of my main challenges here (as in all lengthy poems) was how to contain all ten stanzas within a time limit bellow five minutes, so that a song-size piece can result. I don’t always succeed in that.

I used Sibelius + Note Performer for this one.

Any comments/criticism, artistic or technical welcome.

Thanks for listening.

LEMONIA

=>SUMMER BLAST

=>A DREAM OF LONG AGO

MONDAY

21/7/2008

 

THE TABLE NEXT TO MINE

 

Let's make some sober, serious  thoughts,

I mean, devoid of all plots,

if one and one makes two,

why am I in this blue?

 

I came to this sea side,

my feelings here to hide,

to talk with my old friend Nectaria,

to meet my summer boss, fair Sofia.

 

I can observe quite a lot

on this hot sea side spot,

Germans on holiday,

Greeks on starvation pay.

 

I think I’ll make a pass

at every pretty lass,

and maybe soon enough I’ll get lucky,

or failing that at least get drunk with raki.

 

I had my coffee hot,

is she or is she not?

My beer I find refreshing,

her eyes I find caressing.

 

My table is in a mess,

but useful none the less,

half cups and empty glasses,

and there those hanky lasses!

 

The table that's next to mine,

is full of summer wine,

three German-speaking birds,

amongst those tourist herds.

 

One of these three is she,

beautiful like the sea,

she came a while ago when I was busy,

exactly I don’t know cause I felt dizzy.

 

The other two young girls

are beautiful sea shells,

but she’s the big blue sea

that calls me to be free.

 

Is she or is she not?

she’s looking pretty hot!

our eyes meet and drift,

thanks Heaven for this gift.

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Socrates,

Long time no speak - I hope you are well.

This is an interesting and pleasing piece let down only by the rather poor voice production in SIB....even Note Performer doesn't bring it up to scratch.

As ever, your guitar writing skills are to the fore. I like the forward motion of the piece caused by the excellent driving rhythm throughout. I gather this is but one of your verse-melody constructions and I look forward to hearing the remainder of them. A good idea that's well executed - I enjoyed this piece very much.

My only criticism is the poem itself....it doesn't scan correctly in places, for example: she came a while ago when I was busy,
exactly I don’t know cause I felt dizzy. I presume the word cause is an abbreviation of 'because', if so it should at worst be spelled 'cause, but whichever way is written I am not keen on it. There are others but this will do as an illustration of what I mean.

Maybe the words of the poem are acceptable to younger (maybe American?) people and maybe I'm just an old fuddy duddy but I would categorise this more doggerel than poetry. The sentiments are fine but the execution rather backward I'm afraid.

Your music is always a pleasure but in this instance is let down by the lyrics.

Keep writing.

Stephen

Hi Stephen,

Still in Spain? I hope you have a nice life there! I came to Greece last summer for a 3 month stay and I am already six months here due to family reasons, but next week I go back to London.

 

I agree with a lot of things you say here. Especially with your observations on the verse, which I would expect to find, and I do find helpful in a poetry forum sometimes, but not in this site, as there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in that side of music composition (in that sense I am more old fashion than most, as I still think that verse and music should be created and operated upon by a single person as in the times od Sappho-poetry is as much part of music as music is part of poetry).

This is an old lyric idea of mine, half-finished up to a few days ago and standing as a separate but connecting structural element between to song cycles. I did the work very quickly and tried to change some original verses in order to fit the melody better, but I did not take all necessary care and you spotted it easily. My use of words and punctuation are not up to standard, and I will review them. I hope that with a few changes here and there, either in melodic rhythm or verse I can improve it. The hardest thing is how to improve it verbally, but still keep the mood light-hearted as intended originally.

I also agree that Note Performer is a big let-down when it comes to human voices. I like mainly its strings and some WW, but I think they have to improve a lot on Brass and other instrument or voice samples.

 

Thank you very much for your very valuable observations. Exactly the kind of criticism that I don’t meet often in a song.

Best regards,

Socrates

Hi Socrates

I enjoyed listening to this, as I did with your last song. I would agree with Stephen's comments that the verse is more doggerel than poetry - this wouldn't matter so much in a throw-away pop piece but it does when your arrangement aspires to something other (btw, if you want to experience the king of doggerel check out the great William Topaz McGonagall, poet and tragedian of Dundee and one of Scotland's finest!).

Musically the song works for me - questions over the final production notwithstanding. I wonder what it would sound like without the guitar, relying purely on the quartet to carry it? - if Paul McCartney can do it so can you!

Thanks for posting and keep 'em coming.

Colin

Hi Socrates,

As usual, your part writing is excellent. I just picked on a few things, three of which are practical and one subjective.

The change from pizz to arco from b25 to 26 is too quick for the players to engage the bow. The simple remedy is to leave the offbeat on beat 4 of b25 out. This will give the players time to adjust  and will not affect your music. Secondly, the double sfz markings feel a little awkward and might be better served with just horizontal chevron accents. One more thing, I think the string parts would benefit from more dynamic marks. Mf is fine for melodic work, but accompaniment pizz perhaps could  go down a notch and perhaps a forte here and there for climactic moments.

The third is subjective, I felt as though a rall. would be appropriate at the words 'our eyes meet and drift', before the final few bars.

If you ever get this performed live with decent players, it'll sound lovely.

Thanks for your kind words, Colin. As I said to Stephen above, I am becoming more and more aware of the pitfalls of trying to write a story with light-heartedness in mood prevalent. This problem is one of the biggest for me in what I have accomplished so far in "LEMONIA" story which is made up of serious verse, doggerel, and what some would term "pornographic" while others "erotic". The last two categories are tagged under structural element "BELLA GIOVENTU BEATA" and for the protection of my readers I wrote 10 days ago a prologue in two parts which is optional to read, but is here if you care to have a look.

FORWARDING "PORNOGRAPHIC" VERSE

FORWARDING "PORNOGRAPHIC" VERSE 2

As far as this present song goes, there are no such elements in its verse, but they may precede or follow and the difficulty is always present of how to make smooth musical transitions.

Referring to the 2nd item you raised: I think many times of dropping completely guitar accompaniment on many vocal pieces, but the guitar part is always there if I want to use it (as pre-written to the melody most of the time), and sometimes I do it, replacing its role usually by a cello, as here:

WITH THE SNOW AS A COMPANION

This song was conceived with bouzouki and guitar in mind, but changed to violin and cello. Did you mean something of that style?

Sorry, if I replied in length, but your feedback and that of Stephen and Mike raises always questions like that in my mind. Of course you can ignore them. I am very thankful for your interest.

Cheers.

----------------------------------------------------------

Hi Mike,

 

Thanks for your feedback and your always valuable suggestions.

I agree with all really, and certainly I am going to follow your advice on more dynamic variety etc.

I also agree with the "subjective" point you make on rallentando in verse 10. I will introduce it there.

I don’t understand the point you make in bars 25-26. All four instruments have passed to arco in bar 25 with 3 crotchets rest preceding it. (?)

But in general on this point I would like to ask your advice cause I am concerned about other bars in the piece. I usually try to give a crotchet rest before changing arco to pizz. or vice versa. Would you say that is enough in crotchet = 120 as in this piece? And in more detail, is it easier for pizz. to follow from arco if the arco ends with an up-bow, as I suspect it is?

Anyway, thank you very much Mike for all technical advice and encouragement you give in your reviews to my pieces, they are always appreciated and most of the time followed. :-)

Hi Socrates,

Your welcome mate.

My mistake on the  b25-26 issue, I was listening/watching on an ipad and the resolution was not great for the video and I missed the arco direction, of course it is fine. You are correct that a faster change to pizz. can be executed after an up-bow. At bpm120, a crotchet rest will be fine before a change to pizz. and vice versa.

Song revised as per above feedback. Unfortunately I cannot make big changes to the lyrics. (perhaps I like them as they stand :-)) Thanks to all.

 

THE TABLE NEXT TO MINE

 

Let's make some sober, serious  thoughts,

I mean, devoid of all plots,

if one and one makes two,

do I fit in this blue?

 

I came to this sea side,

my feelings here to hide,

to talk with my old friend Nectaria,

to meet my summer boss, fair Sofia.

 

I can observe quite a lot

on this hot sea side spot,

Germans on holiday,

Greeks on starvation pay.

 

I think I’ll make a pass

at every pretty lass,

and maybe soon enough I’ll get lucky,

or failing that at least get drunk with raki.

 

I had my coffee hot,

is she or is she not?

My beer I find refreshing,

her eyes I find caressing.

 

My table is in a mess,

still useful none the less,

half cups and empty glasses,

and there those hanky lasses!

 

The table that's next to mine,

is full of summer wine,

three German-speaking birds,

amongst those tourist herds.

 

One of these three is she,

beautiful like the sea,

she came a while ago when I was busy,

exactly I don’t know 'cause I felt dizzy.

 

The other two young girls

are beautiful sea shells,

but she’s the big blue sea

that calls me to be free.

 

Is she or is she not?

she’s looking pretty hot!

our eyes meet and drift,

thanks Heaven for this gift.

Very nicely done Socrates--I just enjoyed listening to this very much and will return again. It all works together very well, and FWIW, I thought the lyrics were and still are fine, just as they are.

Thanks so much for sharing!

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

Thank you Bob, I'm glad you liked it and you found the light style of the lyrics befitting.

It is hard work to me to write "lighter" sometimes. :-)

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