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It's come up a couple of times that music I post here should or could, for some people, be longer - or that it would be better longer, or feels like it should be and variations thereon - so I thought it'd be interesting/boring to explain my thinking and tastes, especially since I have some pieces coming up that to some people might seem intolerably short to the point of outright offense.

Speaking very generally and obviously, most well-known classical pieces - most popular pieces of music in general, in fact - have that moment, or multiple that moments. The part that everyone knows and probably most people, certainly myself, are waiting for when listening. That moment, almost inevitably, has to be surrounded by music that isn't as intense or joyous or powerful or beautiful or huge or [adjective]. Take that music away and those moments wouldn't be anywhere near as powerful, but - for all that there's much to love and respect in the buildups - you're probably not principally there for them. It just wouldn't be possible to have forty minutes of glorious crescendii, it'd get boring.

Some that moments for me include the first two minutes of the 4th movement of the New World Symphony, the last two minutes of Adventures on Earth, the first four minutes of the Tallis Fantasia. I finally managed to see a performance of the latter recently and it was sublime, but I was still mainly there for those four minutes - which coincidentally is around the length of Tallis' original.

I suppose you could make an argument that I'm a jumped-up neophyte who only reacts to populist notions of the "best bit" of a particular piece and doesn't have the intellectual stamina to assimilate the rest, to which I'd say "eh what can't hear you over my enjoyment of music on my own personal terms".

Coming to the point, this is probably why I'm drawn to soundtracks. Soundtracks, at least the ones I like, tend to be like mini-symphonies. There's rather more glorious crescendo, swelling beauty and raucous excitement with rather less waiting around, and my pieces tend to reflect this. Additionally, writing is time-consuming and my current work is to demonstrate different styles in a fairly short duration, as soundtrack pieces so often are. I like to write just enough buildup to permit a big theme.

Thoughts?

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All I would say is beware the request that asks, your piece should be shorter, as that probably would be thin disguise for 'have a nice day' critique. :-)
There obviously can be development in longer pieces but very often the length is padded out by repeat. Music is nothing without an audience. Do what you need to do to make it listenable.

Yo guys, forgive me if this seems to be a fringe observation.

But I think Freud would have a field day with this discussion.

He might post saying, 'it's not the length of the piece, but the

depth of the emotion'. ha ha

I could go on, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Passion and 'sexuality' are key elements of good music and

can 'inspire' an audience to come back for more.

Granted, this is not the only approach to good music, but it is

a facet worthy of consideration.

Do you agree or disagree?             RS

Ahha Herr Porter, I see you have chosen to use the vord hard instead

of difficult...... veerry interestink , no?  Is not all passion rooted in sexuality?

or are you suggesting a possible er um, spiritual nature to dis phenomenon?

Sexuality has nothing to do with my music. Passion does, of course, but as Bob said there's multiple passions. Quite possibly Freud has said somewhere that sexuality, or a need for sex, drives human endeavour and therefore sexuality IS an element of my music. To which I'd say no, really, it's got nothing to do with it. This denial is probably also something Freud anticipated and my desire to nob the world through music is deeply sublimated and subconscious, so obviously I deny it. To which I'd then say "Sigmund, you're dead and largely a figure of ridicule, think what you like."

So, I disagree. Also, to your later comment "Is not all passion rooted in sexuality? or are you suggesting a possible er um, spiritual nature to dis phenomenon?" I'm with team Bob on this one: neither. As far as I'm concerned there is no spiritual world that informs my composing, and I'm sufficiently mature that I don't write music purely to try and get sexed. I could not adequately explain my passion for creating new music, but sexuality isn't part of it.


roger stancill said:

Yo guys, forgive me if this seems to be a fringe observation.

But I think Freud would have a field day with this discussion.

He might post saying, 'it's not the length of the piece, but the

depth of the emotion'. ha ha

I could go on, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Passion and 'sexuality' are key elements of good music and

can 'inspire' an audience to come back for more.

Granted, this is not the only approach to good music, but it is

a facet worthy of consideration.

Do you agree or disagree?             RS

Hi Dave, it was merely an hypothesis, not a proof.

Are you saying that all music, or just your's, is cerebral only?

and that the enjoyment of a piece of music is limited to the mind?

Without going into detail, some of the phrasing in the last

paragraph of the orig. post seemed to suggest otherwise, and I'm not at all

saying that this is a bad thing, or pointing a finger at you. We all chose words

that reflect or personalities, and this 'notion' most likely spills over into the

music we write.

I don't put much stock in Freud either, tho' he did have some curious insights.     RS

Is this because I used adjectives like "glorious", "swelling" and "raucous"? Roger, I never said I was a robot and music/composing doesn't move me or excite me, I just said my music has nothing to do with sex.

You've shifted the goalposts of your point somewhat. You were talking about passion and sexuality, you've now gone a bit vague and started using terms like "cerebral" and "mind". "Non-sexual" is not analogous to "cerebral" any more than "sexual" music cannot be "cerebral". Also, we can only enjoy music with the mind. Depending on the music and the mind, your body might react in certain ways, and you might choose to express your reaction to the music with your body, but without a mind to process the music there's nothing. I imagine this isn't what you meant, but you were being picky so I decided to follow suit.

roger stancill said:

Hi Dave, it was merely an hypothesis, not a proof.

Are you saying that all music, or just your's, is cerebral only?

and that the enjoyment of a piece of music is limited to the mind?

Without going into detail, some of the phrasing in the last

paragraph of the orig. post seemed to suggest otherwise, and I'm not at all

saying that this is a bad thing, or pointing a finger at you. We all chose words

that reflect or personalities, and this 'notion' most likely spills over into the

music we write.

I don't put much stock in Freud either, tho' he did have some curious insights.     RS

Hey there Dave, yeah... sorta kinda   in the US we sometimes use the term 'bingo',

is there a similar term in your neighborhood?

I am a mind, body and soul guy- believing that all 3 aspects are intrinsically

melded and a composite interactive whole. Honestly, folks that fail to see

or grasp true spirituality and/or deny that realm are in denial or, in rejection

of religion, which it totally understandable and acceptable.

Granted, our minds process our perceptions, and our 'personalities'

govern our responses. But how then would you equate this to someone

who simply 'feels' the music and acts/reacts directly, with no thought of

their response?

I didn't mean to be 'picky', actually I was trying to develope and add to the

theme of the discussion. I'll often attack an idea in a round-about way to try

to draw out a variety of responses.( tho' not very successfully here) hell, where's

the fun in a bland discussion?

Personally I love short pieces of work, if they are 'whole'.

A Haiku can say more than an epic poem. Depth and length are two different

aspects of dimension,  as are quality and quantity two different ways of expression.

It seems to me , the heigth of appreciation, no matter what the intent of the composer is,

depends solely/souly on the mentality of the listener. ( unless of course... you believe in

inspiration  lol)          RS

 

Good, but I'm not, and here's the thing - me not being spiritual doesn't mean I fail to see or grasp "true spirituality". It means I think it doesn't exist at all, and I cannot fail to see or grasp something which isn't real. Just as you would probably not agree that you have failed by my standards to see or grasp "true secularity". So, we can cross sexuality and spirituality off the list of things my music is informed by.

roger stancill said:

I am a mind, body and soul guy- believing that all 3 aspects are intrinsically

melded and a composite interactive whole. Honestly, folks that fail to see

or grasp true spirituality and/or deny that realm are in denial or, in rejection

of religion, which it totally understandable and acceptable.


The music is still being processed by the mind. Of course I know what you mean when talking about cerebral music; there's the music that you listen to with a great deal of nods and "yes, indeeds" and analysis and then there's the music that makes your hairs stand up. They can often be the same piece. But it all starts in the brain. Honestly, the effects of music on humans is worthy of a few thousand more paragraphs than I can muster here.

Granted, our minds process our perceptions, and our 'personalities'

govern our responses. But how then would you equate this to someone

who simply 'feels' the music and acts/reacts directly, with no thought of

their response?


Hey, we're back on topic! Yes, I am a slave to my audience. If I compose something which I think is amazing but most listeners don't like, that piece is probably not going to make the concert.

Personally I love short pieces of work, if they are 'whole'.

A Haiku can say more than an epic poem. Depth and length are two different

aspects of dimension,  as are quality and quantity two different ways of expression.

It seems to me , the heigth of appreciation, no matter what the intent of the composer is,

depends solely/souly on the mentality of the listener. ( unless of course... you believe in

inspiration  lol)          RS

Hey man, write what you love and based on what inspires you. It's as simple as that.

I really identify with this. I'm new to composing so I'm very insecure about my pieces being "too _____" or "not ____ enough" and one of those things is length. But my main interest is to compose background music, soundtracks, and the like. All of which, my favourites at least, are short (2-5 mintues compared to a 40+ minute symphony).

I've worked a lot of those moments out over the last year. Jessica Curry, composer for Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, had some great advice for absolutely never being ashamed of your style (once it's solidified, that is) that I try to take to heart. But there will always be . . . the other people.

Sounds like we have a similar career path! I'd love to write a symphony, but I'd rather write 10 4-minute pieces at the moment.

Tori Stark said:

I really identify with this. I'm new to composing so I'm very insecure about my pieces being "too _____" or "not ____ enough" and one of those things is length. But my main interest is to compose background music, soundtracks, and the like. All of which, my favourites at least, are short (2-5 mintues compared to a 40+ minute symphony).

Music: May Cause You To Explode With Too Many Emotions To Count (tM)

Bob Porter said:

I like music that rips my guts out, throws them on the ground, jumps up and down on them, then jams them back inside me. It can be soft, or loud, fast, slow, long, or short. But it has to let me know that I experienced something profound. It has to grab me and slap me around.

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