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Hello to all members,

This post is to announce our Winter Music Contest - members were asked to create a piece which evokes the idea of Winter. The rules of the contest are simple: any instrumentation, 7 minutes or less in duration. 16 members total submitted entries, making this one of the most-participated-in contests which I have run on this site! Please take some time to listen to these entries and vote your top three. The winners will have the honor of having their entries posted to the top of the home page of the site until the first day of summer! Please click the link below to cast your vote! Deadline is 2/14/2015 at 5 pm EST!!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/R2733RF

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All good to know, Gav, thanks. I'm wondering, though, if you have any plans for a Spring or Summer contest? Although I don't have very much doubt that I probably fared pretty badly in this endeavor, I can also add that despite that I really had a great time doing it, in that it definitely motivated me to stay on task with the project and not get so easily side-tracked into placing a piece aside for later consideration, which is kind of a too typical predilection of mine.  

Gav Brown said:

HOW THE CONTEST RESULTS WILL BE POSTED. The contest consists of 5 questions. The first question is to name your favorite piece (and optionally, offer comments). The second question is to name your second favorite piece (again, comments optional). The third question is to name your third favorite piece (again, comments optional). The fourth question is to rate the entries according to “fun” categories such as “coldest piece” and will not be counted towards the total. The fifth question is to guess the composer and it is also a “fun-only” question which does not count towards selecting the winners (the top three vote getters). I will be posting the contest results in four separate posts. The first post will reveal the composers’ names and also how many people guessed correctly who the composer is (from the answers to question five). The second post will reveal who got the votes in the “fun” categories (from the answers to question four). The third post will reveal the winners based on the answers to questions one, two, and three, and will include any comments made by voters (as of this posting, about 15). The fourth post will be to put the top three vote-getters on the top of the home page.

HOW THE VOTE COUNTING WILL BE DONE. Again, only the votes for first, second, or third place will count towards who wins. For every first place vote, I will give the entrant 3 points, for each second place vote 2 points, and for each third place vote 1 point. Whoever has the most points wins. The three top vote-getters will have the honor of having their compositions posted on the top of the home page until the first day of summer. I will post the points for every composer and I am happy to say that as of this posting every single composer who entered has gotten at least one vote for first, second, or third.

WHEN THE CONTEST RESULTS WILL BE POSTED. Since Saturday, when the contest deadline happens, is Valentines Day, the results will be posted on Sunday.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CONTEST RESULTS ARE POSTED. This thread will remain open for any commentary by members. Although comments members made on compositions in the survey are anonymous, members who made those comments should feel free to step forward and identify themselves as the person making the comment, if they so wish. I ask the entrants to hold off on submitting their works anywhere else on the forum for a week to give this thread some time to be the central discussion point, but after that, entrants should feel free to post their works on the Music Analysis and Critique or Suggestions Wanted forum to get a deeper level of commentary than can be gotten out of a contest such as this.

LASTLY: THANK YOU! If you are one of the contestants, thanks so much for taking the time to put your original music on this forum so that others could listen and look! This is one of the premiere sites in the world for composers to share their music and get commentary and by participating in this contest, you have contributed to keeping original music alive. If you voted in this contest: thank you also! By voting, you have shown that you care about original music - and BTW, consider entering your own original music next time!

Deadline to vote is 2/14/15 at 5 pm EST

Hi Paul, I have indeed thought about the possibility of a Summer contest. So glad you enjoyed participating in this one!

Paul Smith said:

All good to know, Gav, thanks. I'm wondering, though, if you have any plans for a Spring or Summer contest? Although I don't have very much doubt that I probably fared pretty badly in this endeavor, I can also add that despite that I really had a great time doing it, in that it definitely motivated me to stay on task with the project and not get so easily side-tracked into placing a piece aside for later consideration, which is kind of a too typical predilection of mine.  

Gav Brown said:

HOW THE CONTEST RESULTS WILL BE POSTED. The contest consists of 5 questions. The first question is to name your favorite piece (and optionally, offer comments). The second question is to name your second favorite piece (again, comments optional). The third question is to name your third favorite piece (again, comments optional). The fourth question is to rate the entries according to “fun” categories such as “coldest piece” and will not be counted towards the total. The fifth question is to guess the composer and it is also a “fun-only” question which does not count towards selecting the winners (the top three vote getters). I will be posting the contest results in four separate posts. The first post will reveal the composers’ names and also how many people guessed correctly who the composer is (from the answers to question five). The second post will reveal who got the votes in the “fun” categories (from the answers to question four). The third post will reveal the winners based on the answers to questions one, two, and three, and will include any comments made by voters (as of this posting, about 15). The fourth post will be to put the top three vote-getters on the top of the home page.

HOW THE VOTE COUNTING WILL BE DONE. Again, only the votes for first, second, or third place will count towards who wins. For every first place vote, I will give the entrant 3 points, for each second place vote 2 points, and for each third place vote 1 point. Whoever has the most points wins. The three top vote-getters will have the honor of having their compositions posted on the top of the home page until the first day of summer. I will post the points for every composer and I am happy to say that as of this posting every single composer who entered has gotten at least one vote for first, second, or third.

WHEN THE CONTEST RESULTS WILL BE POSTED. Since Saturday, when the contest deadline happens, is Valentines Day, the results will be posted on Sunday.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CONTEST RESULTS ARE POSTED. This thread will remain open for any commentary by members. Although comments members made on compositions in the survey are anonymous, members who made those comments should feel free to step forward and identify themselves as the person making the comment, if they so wish. I ask the entrants to hold off on submitting their works anywhere else on the forum for a week to give this thread some time to be the central discussion point, but after that, entrants should feel free to post their works on the Music Analysis and Critique or Suggestions Wanted forum to get a deeper level of commentary than can be gotten out of a contest such as this.

LASTLY: THANK YOU! If you are one of the contestants, thanks so much for taking the time to put your original music on this forum so that others could listen and look! This is one of the premiere sites in the world for composers to share their music and get commentary and by participating in this contest, you have contributed to keeping original music alive. If you voted in this contest: thank you also! By voting, you have shown that you care about original music - and BTW, consider entering your own original music next time!

Deadline to vote is 2/14/15 at 5 pm EST

Oh, yeah! And, believe it or not, if that happens, I very well may just do a little boning up on some different approaches and dare to try something fairly radically left-field of anything I've had the guts to post here so far. Which... come to think of it... probably means I ought to get busy studying up right about now. I've always been pretty darn timid in my harmony (among other things...), and I've just about grown thoroughly sick of my disinclination to take more chances with that. 

Gav Brown said:

Hi Paul, I have indeed thought about the possibility of a Summer contest. So glad you enjoyed participating in this one!

Paul Smith said:

All good to know, Gav, thanks. I'm wondering, though, if you have any plans for a Spring or Summer contest? Although I don't have very much doubt that I probably fared pretty badly in this endeavor, I can also add that despite that I really had a great time doing it, in that it definitely motivated me to stay on task with the project and not get so easily side-tracked into placing a piece aside for later consideration, which is kind of a too typical predilection of mine.  

Gav Brown said:

HOW THE CONTEST RESULTS WILL BE POSTED. The contest consists of 5 questions. The first question is to name your favorite piece (and optionally, offer comments). The second question is to name your second favorite piece (again, comments optional). The third question is to name your third favorite piece (again, comments optional). The fourth question is to rate the entries according to “fun” categories such as “coldest piece” and will not be counted towards the total. The fifth question is to guess the composer and it is also a “fun-only” question which does not count towards selecting the winners (the top three vote getters). I will be posting the contest results in four separate posts. The first post will reveal the composers’ names and also how many people guessed correctly who the composer is (from the answers to question five). The second post will reveal who got the votes in the “fun” categories (from the answers to question four). The third post will reveal the winners based on the answers to questions one, two, and three, and will include any comments made by voters (as of this posting, about 15). The fourth post will be to put the top three vote-getters on the top of the home page.

HOW THE VOTE COUNTING WILL BE DONE. Again, only the votes for first, second, or third place will count towards who wins. For every first place vote, I will give the entrant 3 points, for each second place vote 2 points, and for each third place vote 1 point. Whoever has the most points wins. The three top vote-getters will have the honor of having their compositions posted on the top of the home page until the first day of summer. I will post the points for every composer and I am happy to say that as of this posting every single composer who entered has gotten at least one vote for first, second, or third.

WHEN THE CONTEST RESULTS WILL BE POSTED. Since Saturday, when the contest deadline happens, is Valentines Day, the results will be posted on Sunday.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CONTEST RESULTS ARE POSTED. This thread will remain open for any commentary by members. Although comments members made on compositions in the survey are anonymous, members who made those comments should feel free to step forward and identify themselves as the person making the comment, if they so wish. I ask the entrants to hold off on submitting their works anywhere else on the forum for a week to give this thread some time to be the central discussion point, but after that, entrants should feel free to post their works on the Music Analysis and Critique or Suggestions Wanted forum to get a deeper level of commentary than can be gotten out of a contest such as this.

LASTLY: THANK YOU! If you are one of the contestants, thanks so much for taking the time to put your original music on this forum so that others could listen and look! This is one of the premiere sites in the world for composers to share their music and get commentary and by participating in this contest, you have contributed to keeping original music alive. If you voted in this contest: thank you also! By voting, you have shown that you care about original music - and BTW, consider entering your own original music next time!

Deadline to vote is 2/14/15 at 5 pm EST

Hello Paul, let's see some of what your radical idea of harmony is in the next contest, whatever it might be about! I would not classify the harmony I've seen in your rags as timid, it seems quite avante-garde to me (and interesting) to me


Paul Smith said:

Oh, yeah! And, believe it or not, if that happens, I very well may just do a little boning up on some different approaches and dare to try something fairly radically left-field of anything I've had the guts to post here so far. Which... come to think of it... probably means I ought to get busy studying up right about now. I've always been pretty darn timid in my harmony (among other things...), and I've just about grown thoroughly sick of my disinclination to take more chances with that. 

Gav Brown said:

Hi Paul, I have indeed thought about the possibility of a Summer contest. So glad you enjoyed participating in this one!

Thanks Stephen for your comments, and you may know by now that I am always half joking when I talk about (human beings) arriving at a fully objective set of criteria for judging the quality of music, and for ranking compositions and composers.  And YET, that means I am half NOT joking.  Great set of quotes you posted.  Thanks for sharing them with us.

 

I will comment on a few of them.

 

---“Following on from our subjective/objective theme for a little while longer herewith a few quotes...the first by Hector Berlioz: 'There is one God - Bach - and Mendelssohn is his prophet'.”

 

Well, that’s true about Bach, according to all objective assessments. He ranks number one (See list and link below). So no disagreement on that, however ironic Berlioz’s remarks may seem.  As for Mendelssohn being his prophet, that’s not really a statement about the quality of M’s compositions, but merely a jibe at his role as a cultural promoter.

 

Now when Mendelssohn says, “'Berlioz is a regular freak, without a vestige of talent,” he may be right. (It was well known that Berlioz could not perform on the piano, or play the violin, or any standard orchestral instrument). I am not sure that Berlioz had “talent,” which is a somewhat bland word.  In fact, if someone told Berlioz that he had talent, he might have taken offense.   As a composer, he had irregular and haphazard flights of genius, and produced many startlingly original works and passages of music.   He was, in a way, “a freak,” and if that is so, then that is the sort of “freakishness” that made him one of the great early Romantics (and one of the 30 greatest composers who ever lived—see statements about objective rankings below).

 

---Tchaikovsky in his diary wrote: 'I have played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms, what a giftless bastard!'

 

I think that’s right too.  Brahms did not have “a gift,” in the way that Tchaikovsky did.  That was partly why Brahms was so hesitant to compose large scale works for so long.  Tchaikovsky did have a gift (for melody and unfettered expression), but what he did not appear to have was Brahms’ work ethic, and ability and dedication to craft his melodies and put them into extremely coherent forms.  Meanwhile, Tchaikovsky’s gift for melody and orchestration was so overwhelming that development and clear attention to form often eluded him.

 

 

---Pierre Boulez says: 'I hate Tchaikovsky and I will not conduct him'.

 

Of course, and quite rightly, Boulez should hate Tchaikovsky, for the reasons just given, and because the Romantic excesses are the last thing in the world that Boulez wants to indulge.  

 

 

 

---Stravinsky says of Boulez's Pli Selon Pli  'Pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty'.

 

That’s a backhanded compliment, and it is completely true, given Stravinsky’s own penchant, during his middle and later years for neo-classicism himself, and very restrained formal methods of composition.  He and Boulez are two birds of a feather in their compositional approaches, with regard to the emphasis on form, emotional restraint and very tight and minimal orchestration (though their friendship and falling out are a matter of historical record).

 

We now know, by the most objective means possible how these composers you mention rank in relation to one another, and I will restate the results here, for anyone interested.

 

http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/music/images/stats6.pdf

 

Of course, we have all learned about this list, and many have agreed that this system of ranking is completely objective, and devoid of any subjective bias whatsoever. 

 

(See Overview of the Data Collection, for explanation of the 11 objective criteria to rank the composers: Hit green ‘Statistics’ link in upper right hand corner)

 

http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/music/index2.htm

 

 

The five greatest composers, ranked in order:

 

1. Bach,  2. Mozart, 3.  Beethoven, 4.  Schubert, 5.  Brahms.

 

Handel is number 8,

Tchaikovsky is 11,

Stravinsky 16.

Mendelssohn 17,

Berlioz 29

Boulez 124,

 

.   ---

 

So while the statements you cite appear “subjective,” they can be seen in the light of a comprehensive analysis of the objective rankings of all the greatest 500 composers, and the positions of the composers vis-à-vis one another, in history and in terms of style.  The quoted statements mostly dramatize the binary opposition between the “classical and romantic poles:  Mendelssohn vs. Berlioz, Tchaikovsky v. Brahms, Boulez v. Tchaikovsky.  Seen from the larger perspective of the comprehensive analysis, the “subjective remarks” are really reflections of the qualifiable reality which consists of the objective values contained in the works of the composers mentioned, and the composers’ personal and individual efforts to stake out their own positions in their approaches to musical form and content.  

 

If that seems like nonsense to you, then … it probably is.

 

Well, I have to ask, are you entirely sure you aren't confusing me with someone else...? I'll admit I usually like a rather loose formal structure, and won't make too many apologies for that, and I could even accept the idea that my orchestration is generally fairly sound (if very conventional) enough, being that I must have read and studied K Wheeler Kennan's old book on the subject about six or eight times, but... harmonically? I'm pretty boring in that sense, imo, but it's a business it may not be altogether too late to remedy... I hope!  
Gav Brown said:

Hello Paul, let's see some of what your radical idea of harmony is in the next contest, whatever it might be about! I would not classify the harmony I've seen in your rags as timid, it seems quite avante-garde to me (and interesting) to me


Paul Smith said:

Oh, yeah! And, believe it or not, if that happens, I very well may just do a little boning up on some different approaches and dare to try something fairly radically left-field of anything I've had the guts to post here so far. Which... come to think of it... probably means I ought to get busy studying up right about now. I've always been pretty darn timid in my harmony (among other things...), and I've just about grown thoroughly sick of my disinclination to take more chances with that. 

Gav Brown said:

Hi Paul, I have indeed thought about the possibility of a Summer contest. So glad you enjoyed participating in this one!

Nonsense!.....no, not at all nonsense, in fact a very interesting and, as ever with you, a comprehensive and well informed response to my maunderings. Thanks for your comments, although despite the breadth of your quoted research and the quality of the method used to achieve some form of ranking, I am still (being a psychologist by trade and extremely suspicious) unconvinced that art and the appreciation thereof can be aught but subjective. You state ....a comprehensive analysis of the objective rankings etc....wherein lies the rub - I don't believe the word objective rightly belongs in that statement. But all is not lost as I may yet (in my dotage) eventually soften my views somewhat.
 
Ondib Olmnilnlolm said:

Thanks Stephen for your comments, and you may know by now that I am always half joking when I talk about (human beings) arriving at a fully objective set of criteria for judging the quality of music, and for ranking compositions and composers.  And YET, that means I am half NOT joking.  Great set of quotes you posted.  Thanks for sharing them with us.

 

I will comment on a few of them.

 

---“Following on from our subjective/objective theme for a little while longer herewith a few quotes...the first by Hector Berlioz: 'There is one God - Bach - and Mendelssohn is his prophet'.”

 

Well, that’s true about Bach, according to all objective assessments. He ranks number one (See list and link below). So no disagreement on that, however ironic Berlioz’s remarks may seem.  As for Mendelssohn being his prophet, that’s not really a statement about the quality of M’s compositions, but merely a jibe at his role as a cultural promoter.

 

Now when Mendelssohn says, “'Berlioz is a regular freak, without a vestige of talent,” he may be right. (It was well known that Berlioz could not perform on the piano, or play the violin, or any standard orchestral instrument). I am not sure that Berlioz had “talent,” which is a somewhat bland word.  In fact, if someone told Berlioz that he had talent, he might have taken offense.   As a composer, he had irregular and haphazard flights of genius, and produced many startlingly original works and passages of music.   He was, in a way, “a freak,” and if that is so, then that is the sort of “freakishness” that made him one of the great early Romantics (and one of the 30 greatest composers who ever lived—see statements about objective rankings below).

 

---Tchaikovsky in his diary wrote: 'I have played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms, what a giftless bastard!'

 

I think that’s right too.  Brahms did not have “a gift,” in the way that Tchaikovsky did.  That was partly why Brahms was so hesitant to compose large scale works for so long.  Tchaikovsky did have a gift (for melody and unfettered expression), but what he did not appear to have was Brahms’ work ethic, and ability and dedication to craft his melodies and put them into extremely coherent forms.  Meanwhile, Tchaikovsky’s gift for melody and orchestration was so overwhelming that development and clear attention to form often eluded him.

 

 

---Pierre Boulez says: 'I hate Tchaikovsky and I will not conduct him'.

 

Of course, and quite rightly, Boulez should hate Tchaikovsky, for the reasons just given, and because the Romantic excesses are the last thing in the world that Boulez wants to indulge.  

 

 

 

---Stravinsky says of Boulez's Pli Selon Pli  'Pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty'.

 

That’s a backhanded compliment, and it is completely true, given Stravinsky’s own penchant, during his middle and later years for neo-classicism himself, and very restrained formal methods of composition.  He and Boulez are two birds of a feather in their compositional approaches, with regard to the emphasis on form, emotional restraint and very tight and minimal orchestration (though their friendship and falling out are a matter of historical record).

 

We now know, by the most objective means possible how these composers you mention rank in relation to one another, and I will restate the results here, for anyone interested.

 

http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/music/images/stats6.pdf

 

Of course, we have all learned about this list, and many have agreed that this system of ranking is completely objective, and devoid of any subjective bias whatsoever. 

 

(See Overview of the Data Collection, for explanation of the 11 objective criteria to rank the composers: Hit green ‘Statistics’ link in upper right hand corner)

 

http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/music/index2.htm

 

 

The five greatest composers, ranked in order:

 

1. Bach,  2. Mozart, 3.  Beethoven, 4.  Schubert, 5.  Brahms.

 

Handel is number 8,

Tchaikovsky is 11,

Stravinsky 16.

Mendelssohn 17,

Berlioz 29

Boulez 124,

 

.   ---

 

So while the statements you cite appear “subjective,” they can be seen in the light of a comprehensive analysis of the objective rankings of all the greatest 500 composers, and the positions of the composers vis-à-vis one another, in history and in terms of style.  The quoted statements mostly dramatize the binary opposition between the “classical and romantic poles:  Mendelssohn vs. Berlioz, Tchaikovsky v. Brahms, Boulez v. Tchaikovsky.  Seen from the larger perspective of the comprehensive analysis, the “subjective remarks” are really reflections of the qualifiable reality which consists of the objective values contained in the works of the composers mentioned, and the composers’ personal and individual efforts to stake out their own positions in their approaches to musical form and content.  

 

If that seems like nonsense to you, then … it probably is.

 

Paul, your rags I found intriguing. Your first post, which I remember commenting on, seemed to me the most successful. The other pieces you posted which I did not comment on, still intrigued me. I heard a lot of Joplin influence, but also a striving to have a unique voice. Your voice seems raw to me, in that I sense a composer who is still seeking to find that unique voice. Some of your harmonies seemed to me to work, others less so. But what I like about your postings most is that striving for that unique voice. Perhaps you have an entirely different perception of what you are doing - perhaps I am only projecting my own goal on you - I seek a unique voice myself and may be incorrectly applying that as an aspiration that others have -

Paul Smith said:

Well, I have to ask, are you entirely sure you aren't confusing me with someone else...? I'll admit I usually like a rather loose formal structure, and won't make too many apologies for that, and I could even accept the idea that my orchestration is generally fairly sound (if very conventional) enough, being that I must have read and studied K Wheeler Kennan's old book on the subject about six or eight times, but... harmonically? I'm pretty boring in that sense, imo, but it's a business it may not be altogether too late to remedy... I hope!  
Gav Brown said:

Hello Paul, let's see some of what your radical idea of harmony is in the next contest, whatever it might be about! I would not classify the harmony I've seen in your rags as timid, it seems quite avante-garde to me (and interesting) to me


"I am still (being a psychologist by trade and extremely suspicious) unconvinced that art and the appreciation thereof can be aught but subjective."

Interesting!  

Two close relatives of mine are professional psychologists, and I actually teach courses in introductory psychology (though I did much more course work in philosophy and literature than in psychology).

Not all psychologists believe that the appreciation of art is a "subjective process" of course, and I would guess there is as much disagreement within the domains of psychology and aesthetics as there is in any of the humanities.

But that's purely my subjective opinion.

My own personal dotage will also lead me to soften my stance, and admit that the subjective plays a major (even perhaps a decisive role) in statements about the value of an art object.

But I won't retreat on the "objective evaluation," 

"Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is superior to the Meow Mix Jingle, in terms of artistic quality,"

which I regard as an "absolutely true statement."

Of if I do, it will be because someone conditions me through torture to hate Mozart (the way Alex in ClockWork Orange was conditioned to react badly to Beethoven), and also conditions me to love the Meow Mix Jingle, by injecting me with Heroin every time I hear the latter.

O.O.

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't Berlioz's formal intruction on the guitar? If so, that would seem to be one that would come with some limitations, particularly in his day, for a more conventional understanding and approach to large-scale orchestral works, and yet I can't help thinking it was certainly for the better, as it turned out. Now, he isn't one of my favorites, but of the stuff of his I'm familiar with, I've always rather liked it. The man probably was admittedly just a little "crazy" in the boldness of his ideas, and which may have stemmed more or less directly from his "deficiencies," as some of his contemporaries didn't hesitate to call them, and a good many of whom, incidentally, now have no or not nearly as solid a place in the current repertoire. 

Maybe this potential piece of inaccuracy hasn't all that much to do with what you were actually getting at, but I just thought I'd add it. 

Yes, Paul.  On the guitar.  That's what I have read.  I have recall that the only "performances" he would give for friends or in public, were on the guitar.  I don't even know how "formal" or extensive his instruction was, or if he was at all good at performing.  This makes him somewhat unusual, and one can see why Mendelssohn and others tried to disparage him on that basis alone.  Of course, his compositions were so unorthodox that it is a wonder his works were performed at all.  They have very, very strange rhythmic and orchestral features that set them apart.  He's not my "favorite" either, but I enjoy a lot of his work, and respect his originality.  

I am sure, Paul, you are right to add this fact  of his guitar playing into the mix.  To me, personally, it doesn't matter much, because composing is not the same as performing, and good performers can be bad composers, and bad performers can be good composers, since the two are very different activities.     

Prokofiev was good at both, but said he wanted to give up performing piano sonatas and piano concerti because it took away too much time from his composing.  Liszt and Chopin were, perhaps, the other way around.  Good at both, but preferred the activity of performing to the act of composing.  (Just a speculation).  Perhaps the experts on Liszt and Chopin want to weigh in on that.   

Gav, I wasn't certain before, but now I am: You've got me mixed up with Greg Monks, our relatively new Canadian buddy stuck way up and out there in the Great White North, and who is, it just so rather irritatingly happens (lol), is quite a considerably more accomplished composer than I am. Oh, I did used to play some Joplin pieces back in the day when I still had enough free time and energy to keep my piano chops somewhat up to spec, but I've never yet attempted to compose anything more or less in his style, although I have pondered it once or twice. But I guess the mistake is understandable, seeing you've got a lot of members to keep track of, so... no offense taken. 

Gav Brown said:

Paul, your rags I found intriguing. Your first post, which I remember commenting on, seemed to me the most successful. The other pieces you posted which I did not comment on, still intrigued me. I heard a lot of Joplin influence, but also a striving to have a unique voice. Your voice seems raw to me, in that I sense a composer who is still seeking to find that unique voice. Some of your harmonies seemed to me to work, others less so. But what I like about your postings most is that striving for that unique voice. Perhaps you have an entirely different perception of what you are doing - perhaps I am only projecting my own goal on you - I seek a unique voice myself and may be incorrectly applying that as an aspiration that others have -

Paul Smith said:

Well, I have to ask, are you entirely sure you aren't confusing me with someone else...? I'll admit I usually like a rather loose formal structure, and won't make too many apologies for that, and I could even accept the idea that my orchestration is generally fairly sound (if very conventional) enough, being that I must have read and studied K Wheeler Kennan's old book on the subject about six or eight times, but... harmonically? I'm pretty boring in that sense, imo, but it's a business it may not be altogether too late to remedy... I hope!  
Gav Brown said:

Hello Paul, let's see some of what your radical idea of harmony is in the next contest, whatever it might be about! I would not classify the harmony I've seen in your rags as timid, it seems quite avante-garde to me (and interesting) to me

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