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Here's my first attempt at putting up a work in progress—one not released in its final form to my adoring public. :-)

Originally, this piece was written for a wind quintet + trumpet, violin and cello. I've decided to transfer all the pieces scored for this odd ensemble into a completely standard wind quintet. Not only is the piece more likely to get performed, but the process of reduction allows for less sloppiness and sometimes brings out a clearer sound. It may also make it more fun for the performers, as they have more to do.

It's called One because it's supposed to be one of four matching fugues for wind quintet. I have Two written and am working on one that might become Three. Sometimes (often) a piece goes its own way and no longer makes a good match for One and Two, so it winds up as an independent piece.

The music sounds jazzy but I tend to think I write "classical" music. If nothing else, it's not jazz because it's not supposed to be improvised.

Update Jan 20, 2016: Here are the score and MP3, version 2:

One- Wind Quintet v2.pdf

One - Wind Quintet v2-transposed.pdf

One - Wind Quintet v2.mp3

Hear are the score and MP3, version 1:

One for Wind Quintet.pdf

One - Wind Quintet.mp3

For comparison, I happen to have an old version of the piece scored for the octet up on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/freixas/new-work/s-ZrsHd

This forum seems a lot less active than the Music Analysis and Critique. A recent thread there was for a work clearly in progress and received a lot of attention. If the posting languishes here, I may re-post in that forum.

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Another excellent and enjoyable piece for winds!  Although most of my performance experience in recent years has been as a mandolin player, I am a wind player at heart so woodwind pieces generally catch my attention. My current work in progress is in fact a woodwind sextet.

Im always hesitant to provide other composers with suggestions since composition is such a subjective process. I will provide a few observations and comments for what they're worth.

Overall this is a very interesting, enjoyable and engaging piece. I would be interested in hearing “Two” to see where you take things. My initial impression on hearing this is that it would sound great played by a saxophone quintet. In terms of overall mood and concept, this piece reminds me a bit of the closing section of the third movement of Stravinsky's “Ebony Concerto.” That piece also has a strong jazz feel and gradually builds from a somber start to a strong and towering finish.

Regarding the score you posted, some sticklers (Im not one of them) might suggest that you post the final score with the appropriate parts transposed. That would enable musicians to more easily see how the parts sit on their respective instruments. For study purposes however, I think the un-transposed score works fine to facilitate analysis.

When I simply listen to the piece and dont follow along with the score, the rhythms in the piece sound very straightforward. I wonder, however, if it is possible to simplify the way some of the rhythms are notated – particularly the syncopated sixteenth/eighth note motif that repeats throughout. Another example would be the figures where two or three sixteenth notes are immediately followed by a half note. Since the natural inclination is to begin the half note on the down beat, this may cause some confusion. I dont think the way you have these notated is  unplayable, but these figures do seem to require a bit of mental math to resolve.

My only notable quibble with the music itself would be the closing “blue note,” F - F# - F - F# motif that first appears in the Clarinet part at measure 42. The piece throughout its entirety seems to be building in an elegant and striking fashion towards a dramatic finish. After that buildup, my ears were expecting something either more dramatic or more melodically and rhythmically complex. The sudden transition to a straightforward blues motif seemed a bit off putting. Maybe the issue could be resolved by eliminating the some of the repetitions of the F – F# pattern or by making the pattern more complex rhythmically. Interestingly enough, when I listened to the original octet version, that pattern was less prominent in the mix and the section didnt seem so off putting. Nonetheless I do like the concept of introducing the slight blues feel to the mix.

As I noted, take all of this for what its worth. Quibbles aside this is an enjoyable piece and I look forward to hearing the other sections. Dont get too discouraged if you dont receive a lot of feedback. Things seem a bit quiet on the Forum lately and the level of feedback seems to vary. Almost everything that is posted receives at least some feedback and only a few pieces seem to generate a lot of activity. The topics that seem to generate the most activity lately seem to focus on non musical issues – occasionally interesting to peek into, but not my cup of tea.  Thanks for posting - keep at it!

Thanks so much for your comments. As an unfinished work, suggestions made here have a higher probability of effecting a change to the piece.

When all the parts are not transposed, it is easier to study harmonic problems. When parts are in their correct transposition, it is easier to find performance problems. Given that the latter requires an accomplished musician willing to go through the entire score, whereas the former is simply used to examine problems first found by listening to the piece, my assessment is that the untransposed piece is more likely to prove useful.

That said, I would gladly provide a transposed score to anyone who actually wants to spend the time checking out a part.

Like you, I noticed that the music sounds straight-forward, but the notation might create some performance problems. I just glanced at the piece and I think I can probably clean it up. A wind player friend also complained about the way I wrote some notes—what I wrote was technically correct, but confusing to someone who expects beats and notes to coincide. My excuse is that I mostly play the piano, where the left hand often clarifies any rhythmic problems that this notation might create. But yes, I need to fix this, thanks for reminding me.

Does anyone have a link or reference that explains the proper way to rhythmically break up a note? I'm guessing that if a half-note beings 1/8 note before the beat, I should probably notate it as a tied 1/8 note and dotted 1/4 note, but I'd like to understand the actual rules.

I wrote a straight-forward blues motif? Wow, I didn't know that. My style of writing is high on intuition and low on musical theory. Thanks for pointing out the problem you saw and explaining why you heard it as a problem. While this doesn't mean I will change the piece (and it doesn't mean I won't), I will definitely study the ending, keeping your thoughts in mind and trying out variations to find out whether I can improve it. That's exactly what I'm looking for in posting here.

It's a shame if the forum is quiet, but I also understand how much time it takes to 1) just listen to a piece, 2) to listen long enough to evaluate it and 3) to provide a useful critique. I have tried to contribute myself and I know how daunting the effort is In that light, I greatly appreciate your taking the time to comment. Thank you!


T.T. Gaudynski said:

 

Another excellent and enjoyable piece for winds!  Although most of my performance experience in recent years has been as a mandolin player, I am a wind player at heart so woodwind pieces generally catch my attention. My current work in progress is in fact a woodwind sextet.

Hi,

I've made a number of changes to the score to use more clearer (I hope!) rhythmic notation. I've provided the score in both transposed and concert pitch versions. And the piece has a new ending. I haven't decided if I'll keep the new ending or not. Any opinions?

The new materials have been added to the OP, which should be at the top of this (and every) page.

This would be amazing with some light drums behind it, just putting that out there. :)

I'm not a drummer and don't know how to write for drums. If you do, could you write 8 or 16 bars of drum accompaniment so I can get a sense of what you're imagining (plus I could learn something about drums)?

I'm happy to try just about anything—that's the point of posting it here. That doesn't mean that what I try will make it into the final piece. Everything is an opportunity to learn.

VERY interesting. I'm no critic, so I'll just make this short. Using the concert pitch version you have provided, in the first measure, I would give the oboe the Eb, move the clarinet down a step to the Bb and give the bassoon the E natural below that (an octave higher that you have the C now). Then lower that chord a half step when the flute hits the second G. Then lower it again a half step when the flute hits the E. Then raise it a half step when the flute hits the C. Then raise it a half step again when the flute hits the Eb. Hold it over until the flute hits the third G in the second measure, where you would lower it a half step. Carry on from there in that vein. I tried this in Finale and it sounds the way I had imagined. This may be more strident than you prefer, but I use this chord progression from time to time in my jazz. They say that the trichord was known as the Devil's cord in Medieval times, but I like it anyway. Just my opinion, so use it to line a bird cage if that makes you happy. Cheers.

Hi, Robert, thanks for your time. If you already did this in Finale, could you post as PDF of it? I'm happy to consider alternatives and it might be easier to interpret your score than your written description.

The extended closing section in Version 2 is outstanding!  To my ears, it does justice the buildup in the earlier section and still maintains a subdued bluesy feel to it.   The corrected notation is also clear as a bell.  Very nice work! 

Sure. I had deleted it but recreated it just now. Hope I can upload it OK (new at this).

Antonio Freixas said:

Hi, Robert, thanks for your time. If you already did this in Finale, could you post as PDF of it? I'm happy to consider alternatives and it might be easier to interpret your score than your written description.

Attachments:

Robert, thanks again for taking the time to think about my little piece. I will check out your idea when I get back to town.

I'm glad you liked it. I have a friend who has been critiquing my compositions for quite a while and he likes version 1 the best. Which to choose? 

Of course, for any piece, there will always be someone who likes it and someone who doesn't. I have to decide what I like and why. Learning to be one's own best critic is essential. 

Personally, I also sensed a shift to a more standard jazz idiom in the original ending. The piece is jazz-like but not really jazz. The original ending might shift the piece a little more into the standard jazz repertory than I want. This might not be a big deal for the piece by itsself, but it might create the wrong expectation leading into Two

I'm not convinced that the revised ending is as clear a it could be The sound seems a little busy and I might be able improve on it. 

I may sit on it a bit and start working on converting Two to wind quintet form. I'll post that when it's converted.

T.T. Gaudynski said:

The extended closing section in Version 2 is outstanding!  To my ears, it does justice the buildup in the earlier section and still maintains a subdued bluesy feel to it.   The corrected notation is also clear as a bell.  Very nice work! 

Your situation reminds me a bit of my first job which as a staff member for a local politician.  One of the first issues I handled was a complaint from someone who didn't like where their local mail box was located.  So, we had the Postal Service move it across the street.   A few days later, we of course received complaints from folks who were mad that the box was moved.  Go figure.  The end of Version 2 could be tightened up a bit, but it is still effective in my opinion.  Of course, it comes down to what you are happy with and where you want the piece to go.   I agree that the direction you take "Two" may have a bearing on how "One" should finish.  Looking forward to hearing "Two." 

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