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Wrote a String Quartet. Would love some feedback and comments :)

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Well said Saul. I should give up now since I don't have a very good character ;) 

"Thanks a lot to everyone who has come forward and shared their opinion on my music. I appreciate this space and I didn't know that my composition would cause such a debate both addressing the technical and philosophical. "

I don't think it was necessarily your composition that caused the philosophical discussion. It probably facilitated it. Would be a good discussion on a more dedicated thread for the subject. That way, we could take it as far as it can go. I wouldn't want to interfere any more in this thread. I wish you the best in your work and thanks for sharing it.

LOL TIM!

Well I agree maybe a new thread should be created about it.

And I'll second that: "I wish you the best in your work and thanks for sharing it".

Regards,

Hah. I knew you'd be a pianist. I checked, just to be sure... bingo!

What gave it away is the slurs, which you use exactly like they're usually used in piano parts - big picture phrasing. Adler's Study Of Orchestration gives a great example of Liszt, I think, falling for this very same pitfall in his scores. You should probably get Adler's or an equivalent, anyway, but a 5 minute explanation:

String instrument parts generally don't have phrasing marks, and slurs are instead used to show bowing. Many of your slurs are either extremely impractical or just flat out impossible to play, so the players will just delete those and add their own bowing marks. While your current usage of slurs *is* in fact better than leaving everything completely unmarked (because you convey at least some of the intent now), you're missing out on a large field of creative possibilities where it comes to small-scale phrasing - a change in bowing direction is a small hiccup in a longer phrase, like a comma in a sentence. And the changes *have* to happen somewhere. May as well learn exactly how to place them well and let your music benefit greatly from it. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the bowing capabilities of strings and use the knowledge to your advantage.

Wow, Saul practically took the words out of my mouth. Though because there are so many "themes", I wanted to suggest that you develop the one at 1:14 more. I personally love it and it could go so much farther than the few seconds you gave it. Let that one really shine! It seems as though you're desperately trying to make the piece interesting, though it could be much more interesting with much less going on. This piece sounds like what's going on in my head all day! Make it sound like organized cacophony rather than plain cacophony. 

Saul just say "I didn't like the music" instead of trying to seat this dislike within some wider authority and vague philosophy. Its so much easier. Just imagine if someone tried the same thing on you!

Awesome thanks for the help. I'll definitely change that :)

Greg Brus said:

Hah. I knew you'd be a pianist. I checked, just to be sure... bingo!

What gave it away is the slurs, which you use exactly like they're usually used in piano parts - big picture phrasing. Adler's Study Of Orchestration gives a great example of Liszt, I think, falling for this very same pitfall in his scores. You should probably get Adler's or an equivalent, anyway, but a 5 minute explanation:

String instrument parts generally don't have phrasing marks, and slurs are instead used to show bowing. Many of your slurs are either extremely impractical or just flat out impossible to play, so the players will just delete those and add their own bowing marks. While your current usage of slurs *is* in fact better than leaving everything completely unmarked (because you convey at least some of the intent now), you're missing out on a large field of creative possibilities where it comes to small-scale phrasing - a change in bowing direction is a small hiccup in a longer phrase, like a comma in a sentence. And the changes *have* to happen somewhere. May as well learn exactly how to place them well and let your music benefit greatly from it. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the bowing capabilities of strings and use the knowledge to your advantage.

Nicely put OscoBosco - you're clearly a very bright fellow.

OscoBosco said:

Thanks a lot to everyone who has come forward and shared their opinion on my music. I appreciate this space and I didn't know that my composition would cause such a debate both addressing the technical and philosophical. Everyone who have graciously commented seem to me like great individual musicians in their own right––as it should be. I have thought about all your comments and feel as I've grown as a musician trying to wrestle with everyone's distinct beliefs. I did consider each comment with the utmost respect but feel as though there is no reason to argue and debate, and therefore have tried to keep myself out of the discussion. Now with the misinterpretation of my need for "praise" lacking regard and appreciation for critical viewpoints, I must step in and clarify myself. I read everyone's comments and I appreciate the support both for the music and for the art of composing itself. I really just wanted to share something that was very personal to me and that means the world to me: this music gives me great joy and I just wanted to share it with you guys. I could endlessly debate and quarrel with each of your comments but I honestly don't think I'm qualified enough with everyone's experience in the matter. I value your guys' opinions and I hope this is not taken in the wrong way. Many thanks to all who enjoyed it and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Many thanks to those who offered amazing criticism––I have a lot of things to consider. 

Oscar 

Some clarifications about what I said:

All those things that I have listed before such as Honesty, integrity, truthfulness, humbleness are things that every decent person should strive for, and I didn't mean to suggest that I have already achieved these traits in a perfect state, but I'm striving for them and working on achieving them, not only for music but for simply been a decent human being, which is important regardless. I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression that I'm sort of a self righteous individual that has mastered all these traits. But as long as the individual is aiming for these and tries to achieve them then that's already wonderful and positive.

I also didn't mean to suggest that Oscar's music is reflective of his decency as a human being, though from the comments that I made, someone might erroneously interpret that, so I wanted to clarify that was never the case, and I'm sure that Oscar is a wonderful and decent human being. I have never doubted that.

My comments were philosophical in nature and were aimed towards everyone including me. 

The theme of the question that remains is whether good music can be achieved independent of the person's decency as a human being? and the other question is what is 'good music'? which is of course a matter of opinion. Well, I don't claim to have all the answers to these questions, but I guess I have an opinion about it as I have articulated on this thread, and I want everyone to know that this is only an opinion, and I don't claim to know that this opinion is the absolute truth, it may not be.

Said all this, I think that it interesting and productive to engage in dialogue about these matters, as it enriches the mind, and one may learn a different perspective about these topics that they didn't know before and that can be productive. 

Maybe it wasn't the greatest idea to discuss this matter at length on this thread and a different thread should have been created about it. At any rate, I hope that these comments have clarified some misconceptions that might have risen while reading my posts here.

As for Oscar's work, there are some elements in his work that I like, and as I have suggested what he can do to make the work much better in my opinion. He is of course free to consider my suggestions about this work, or ignore them. Which is a natural right for every composer to either consider the criticism on his work or not. 

Regards,

Saul

Saul I think you are similar to myself. I'm a writer of sorts and can fill pages quickly. I seen this in you right away. You were simply translating deeper issues to yourself and rendering it here. I do it all the time. Some thread deviations can be interesting.

I'll try and start a thread here on this subject when I get a chance unless someone else beats me to it.

The person who doesn't venture, doesn't gain. The more we venture in type, the more we open ourselves up to speculation from others. Writing is a form of expression that should not be flagged unless it personally belittles someone IMHO. 

I think sometimes people are afraid to tell us what they really think for fear of not fitting into some imagined online buddy system. The people I see as holier than thou are the ones who tell us what we should say or should have said and how we should have said it. True, we all make written blunders that result in misunderstandings, especially so online. And TBH some people are very easily offended.

It's all good Saul. This is a small thread in a small forum. This is how I see it. Not to say I think it isn't great that Gav made this available. It's nice to touch bases with other and agree/disagree respectfully.

Thank you Tim, I think you got that right.

Regards


Attracted to the string quartet medium I spotted this down the list. I haven't read all the exchanges as they seemed to veer away from the music itself. Frankly I thought it was fine. Regarding certain comments, the work seems to me no more frenetic or complex than, say, some of Bartok's quartet movements nor even late Beethoven, like the Scherzo in the Op 131 or that in the Op 135. It works fine. The rhythmic inflexions are exciting especially in contrast to the calmer episodes. Easy to visualise it being performed. The players will be kept on their toes all right.

My only concern was that in this particular production, the 1st violin line was a little understated. I've assumed you're au fait with how chordal stops work on strings. 


Very nice. Glad I listened.

Many thanks! Glad you liked it, and I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. I'm a pianist so I'm still learning how to write string music properly but I'd gladly appreciate your input :)

Dane Aubrun said:


Attracted to the string quartet medium I spotted this down the list. I haven't read all the exchanges as they seemed to veer away from the music itself. Frankly I thought it was fine. Regarding certain comments, the work seems to me no more frenetic or complex than, say, some of Bartok's quartet movements nor even late Beethoven, like the Scherzo in the Op 131 or that in the Op 135. It works fine. The rhythmic inflexions are exciting especially in contrast to the calmer episodes. Easy to visualise it being performed. The players will be kept on their toes all right.

My only concern was that in this particular production, the 1st violin line was a little understated. I've assumed you're au fait with how chordal stops work on strings. 


Very nice. Glad I listened.

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