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H. S. Teoh
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H. S. Teoh's Discussions

Heat: the melting of an icecube

Started this discussion. Last reply by Mike Hewer Feb 9. 21 Replies

It's kinda late for this, but I've been wanting to do this yet never got around to it until now.  This is my contest entry for last year's Heat contest.  It didn't win any awards, but I'm not exactly…Continue

Noises in Two Voices: a fugue in D

Started this discussion. Last reply by gregorio X Feb 2. 24 Replies

Fugues have a reputation of being "serious" -- "academic" fugues, that is, meaning the rigid, dry grading standard of counterpoint class imposed upon composition students -- so I thought, what about…Continue

A fugue in 1 voice? Ludicrous!

Started this discussion. Last reply by Serenity Laine Jan 15. 47 Replies

Recently I noted that all 3 of my fugue attempts have been in 4 voices, and so I started sketching a 2-voice fugue instead.  While doing that (which will be a separate piece, btw), a crazy idea…Continue

Fugue in C# minor

Started this discussion. Last reply by H. S. Teoh Dec 19, 2016. 60 Replies

Continuing in this quarter's fugue fever, here's another attempt at fugue from l'il ole me.My last fugue elicited a comment that if I was going to break conventions, it should be up front. While I'm…Continue


H. S. Teoh's Page



Latest Activity

H. S. Teoh replied to Joel Becker's discussion Mastering Modern Composition
"I don't compose in the "modern" idiom (whatever that means) so I'm not really qualified to contribute to this discussion, but what Mike said echoed my own experience: "Not hearing what you write is against all principles of…"
Feb 28
H. S. Teoh replied to Gav Brown's discussion Proposed Contest: “Emotion” - contestants sought
"Hooray! we just need one more!"
Feb 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Mark DuBerry's discussion Writing for choir
"@Dave: In my young and ignorant days, I also assumed that every instrument in the orchestra plays an independent part.  But now, with a (tiny) bit more experience, I can say that a very large part of the art of orchestration lies in knowing how…"
Feb 23
Mike Hewer replied to H. S. Teoh's discussion A fugue in 1 voice? Ludicrous!
"HS Not fugue but a fugato part perhaps. Maybe you would have achieved a conceptual fugue if you had baked in from the outset more octave/register displacement and written the line in such a way as to exploit it."
Dec 31, 2016
H. S. Teoh commented on Kristofer Emerig's blog post Prelude-Like and Fuguish in A Rather Flat
"Sounds like an out-of-tune farmhouse harpsichord trying its best to sound like Bach. Very much evokes the image of being out being in the countryside in a farmhouse or cottage improvising on a dusty old wooden harpsichord."
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Art Lowell's discussion Playable Harp Line?
"OK, you got it. I think. :-P Yes, you can have flat, natural, or sharp.  Though, according to the article you linked, harpists apparently prefer flat keys over sharp keys. Not sure I fully understand why, but nonetheless. Where the whole…"
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Art Lowell's discussion Playable Harp Line?
"Art, I think you're still not 100% clear.   The way it works is this:  the harp has about 47 or so strings, all tuned to the notes in a C major scale (i.e., C, D, E, F, G, A, B, spanning about 6 and a half octaves).  …"
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Art Lowell's discussion Playable Harp Line?
"@Art: no, I mean in-performance adjusting of the pedals.  E.g., set the C pedal to the sharp position so that the C strings sound C#, and set the D pedal to the flat position so that all the D strings sound Db."
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Art Lowell's discussion Playable Harp Line?
"Actually, Art, if you read the other parts of the article you linked, you'll see that harps can have both sharps and flats in their "key signature", as long as they aren't on the same note. :-)  The enharmonics section talks…"
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to H. S. Teoh's discussion A fugue in 1 voice? Ludicrous!
"Haha I know, it's pretty ridiculous to call it a fugue.  But it did come from me trying to write a fugue-like thing in 1 voice.  After I wrote the subject I was actually sorely tempted to write a 2nd voice for it... but resisted the…"
Dec 30, 2016
Greg Brus replied to H. S. Teoh's discussion A fugue in 1 voice? Ludicrous!
"This would play well as solo viola, but calling it a fugue really is a pointless stretch :P"
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Art Lowell's discussion Playable Harp Line?
"I don't know the harp very well, but from what I do know, some amount of care is needed in writing for them. Basically, the harp consists of 7 strings tuned to a C major scale, repeated over a number of octaves. A set of pedals allow the…"
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh posted a discussion

A fugue in 1 voice? Ludicrous!

Recently I noted that all 3 of my fugue attempts have been in 4 voices, and so I started sketching a 2-voice fugue instead.  While doing that (which will be a separate piece, btw), a crazy idea occurred to me: what if I took the reduction of number of voices to its (il)logical conclusion -- i.e., a 1-voice fugue?Well, the debate about whether there is even such a thing will probably be endless, so let's skip that part and just look at what I wrote. The single voice states the subject, then…See More
Dec 30, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Mariza Costa-Cabral's discussion A character witness account of my friend Wesley L. Curry II
"To be frank, this entire debacle sickens me to the stomach.  So Wes said some stupid / inflammatory things, OK, he crossed the line and a slap on the wrist is in order. But somehow now that justifies insulting him and verbally abusing him and…"
Dec 28, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Erwin van Delft's discussion Glory Mass - 1. Kyrie
"Didn't realize I missed this for so long.  Took a listen today.  Although this genre isn't what I'd listen to, I think it's clear that you are improving a lot, Erwin. The orchestration sounds much more sophisticated, as…"
Dec 27, 2016
H. S. Teoh replied to Stephen Brown's discussion Requiem for the Victims of Religious Violence for String Orchestra
"Finally, a word of wisdom from the Dave. ;-)"
Dec 27, 2016

Profile Information

What have you composed for? Or what medium do you work around?
What is your favorite genre or style of music?
classical / art music / concert music
Is music your main income source?
No - Not at all.
Where do you live?
About Me (Must include biographical information about you as a composer):
I'm a professional software developer by day, and various things by night, including amateur composer. I've been interested in composition since my early teenage years many years ago -- Beethoven being my initial inspiration to pursue composition (specifically, the storm movement of his 6th symphony). My first attempts at composition date from 1990. Sadly, I never pursued music as a career, and ended up doing software instead. My time has also been very limited, and I have not composed as much as I would have liked to. I also lack formal music training, having picked up most of what I know from books, listening to classical music, and piano improvisation. Most of my pieces are written for piano, but my dream has always been to compose for an orchestra. So far, however, that has not yet materialized, though I do have at least two pieces (one skeletal, the other scored for computer but I feel the orchestration needs to be completely reworked) that I hope to flesh out and one day hear performed live.

Comment Wall (3 comments)

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At 12:06am on August 13, 2015, J Joe Townley said…

Hello H.S. and thank you for your very kind message. Actually, I'm just coming off a very serious eye condition triggered, I suppose by an equally serious upper and lower respiratory thing I picked up on a flight back from Berlin in May (I'm in Los Angeles). The eye required surgery to set things right and I'm just now getting my vision back in the one eye (the other was unaffected). Actually I've had problems with this eye in the past so I'm not surprised the respiratory condition reignited it. This is since May 3 when I got back and I'm just kicking the respiratory infection now. It's been a grueling---what--three months? I've never had anything like this before. Had to be some kind of exotic bug from the deepest parts of Asia or Africa or something because I usually bounce back from these things in 4-5-days. This took 3 different courses of antibiotics to finally get under control (coughing up blood and blowing blood out of my nostrils at one point, but no TB) and I was still coughing a month afterwards. Beware flying internationally. Nowadays you take your life into your hands getting exposed to all these potent diseases like Ebola floating around.

Greatly appreciate you letting me know you enjoy the concerto. You're right; I do get discouraged frequently because generally speaking most musicians aren't interested in doing an ultra-Romantic work these days, especially one that requires such large forces (expert pianist plus accomplished orchestra) to pull off properly. I did get word from someone who loves the concerto--psychologist and author Darrel Ray that he had a friend of his try to get it into the hands of David Stern, violinist Isaac Stern's son who is the conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra but I haven't heard anything since. This was about 6 weeks ago. Got my fingers crossed. Maybe someone can pull a miracle off. I hope so. Thanks so much for getting in touch. I will keep you apprised of any developments. Wishing you all the best and looking forward to any news you might want to share about your own career happenings. Take care,

J Joe Townley

At 1:44am on March 10, 2015, J Joe Townley said…

Hi H. S. and thank you for your very kind comments re My Piano Concerto No 2. Not sure if you were able to get to my bio. Thunbnail; started studying piano seriously at 10; wanted to write a piano concerto desperately by 16 but didn't actually do it until 18 when I wrote a horrid 1st mov. to a Piano Concerto in C Minor in 2-piano/4-hand. Injured my RH forefinger severely at 19-20 (don't remember) but continued with BA and injured finger until giving piano up at 25.

I agree. I'd love to hear this live. The screen-capture mutilated the audio. The SoundCloud audio is much better, but still sounds like an electronic rendering. To put on a performance of this concerto would cost roughly 150K for a top-tier orchestra/pianist so that's not in the offing anytime soon. My advice: don't write piano concertos if you're thinking of getting them performed. Stick with smaller works for small ensembles. Much greater chance of getting them performed live. I will check out your music tomorrow. Just getting this message really late (nearing midnight--yawn) So glad you enjoyed the concerto and noticing that it is cyclic. You're the first out of roughly 5000 viewers to comment on that (including earlier versions on YouTube which I have since deleted). J Joe

At 7:31pm on March 7, 2015, Tyler Hughes said…

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H. S. Teoh's Blog

Did I really write all this crazy hard stuff?!

Posted on January 4, 2017 at 10:05pm 5 Comments

Today I finally got a chance to actually sit down at the piano (well, an electronic one, but still) and try to play my fugue in C# minor myself for the first time. And I was greatly dismayed to discover that I couldn't play it at all... What sounded relatively tame in midi turned out to be extremely difficult for me to play.  That's probably a sign of how lousy my non-existent piano skills are, or perhaps fugues are…


A nice tuba concerto

Posted on November 30, 2015 at 9:55pm 2 Comments

Recently I've been listening to many tuba concertos, to get an idea of the repertoire out there and what's possible on a tuba solo. Today I found this one, which, while it doesn't really feature any particularly unusual solo tricks or virtuoso stunts, is nevertheless a fun-filled romp with many beautifully scored passages:

Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by Giancarlo Castro D'Addona

Just thought I'd share.

Trouble submitting new discussions

Posted on August 13, 2015 at 9:16pm 4 Comments

This blog entry is really more of a test than anything else... I'm having trouble submitting a new discussion to the analysis and critique section (it keeps ending up in the "we're sorry" page -- this is the 3rd try now), so this is just to see if blog entries will go through.

Some resources on compositional basics

Posted on May 9, 2015 at 10:30am 1 Comment

Here are some resources that I posted in the chatbox, but decided to collect them in a blog post so that they don't get lost easily:


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