Hello Folks,

After posting a wind band piece about a month ago, and receiving zero feed-back, I guess there are three possibilities:

- no one is interested in band music;

- you didn't like the piece, but are too polite to say so;

- you liked it, but had nothing to say?

So, I'll try again, posting an orchestral work based on old Australian folk songs. The songs used are: KOORINDA-BRAIA; AUSTRALIA'S ON THE WALLABY; BRISBANE LADIES; CLICK GO THE SHEARS; ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR (National Anthem, 1878).

This is scored for full orchestra and includes use of traditional orchestral instruments simulating Australian folk instruments, like the Bull Roarer and didgeridoo. The piece begins with an old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander song, including a traditional koo-ee greeting. It ends with a blending of an old sheep shearing song with the Australian national anthem. I have submitted this to the Sydney Symphony as a possibility for one of their Pops concerts. They were at least interested enough to request a score.

I truly hope you enjoy this and will give me some feed-back. URL:

https://soundcloud.com/user-379760088/under-the-southern-cross

Thanks,

Ken

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Replies

  • Just wanted to drop a note that I've been very busy since late December and haven't been able to listen to any new works on this forum all this time. I hope to get around to it eventually, but right now I just don't have the time. So it doesn't mean I'm not interested in band pieces, just haven't found the time to listen to them yet. 😅

    • Hello HS -

      Not to worry about not having time to listen. When you get to it, I'd be interested in what you think.

      In the meantime, I've just finished a piece for brass quintet that I call "All You Can Play, Brass Buffet". It is four movements: appetizer, spicy soup, main course fugue and raspberry dessert. I thought you'd be interested in the third movement, a fugue. I've taken in consideration comments on this forum about including changes in key and mood in a fugue into this piece, and like the result. If you can spare 12 minutes or so, here is the URL for the piece: https://soundcloud.com/user-379760088/sets/all-you-can-play-brass-b...

      Hope you enjoy it!

      Ken

       

  • Hey HS -

    Thanks for the response. There is no hurry, just wondered why everything was so quiet!

    Let me know what you think when you get the time.

    Ken

  • my main issue with this work and the wind band piece is that the renderings sound curiously electronic and bloodless which makes it harder to focus on the musical merits. The impression is given of more repetitiveness and monotony than is probably actually in the music. I know from "Solar Maximum" that you can write imaginative and inventive music. Which library/ies are being used here?

    • Hello  David -

      I use the sounds provided by my notation software Notion 6. It would be wonderful if I could hire people to perform and render the music, but I don't have the money for this, (boy would I love to!)

      Sorry if you find the music repetitive and monotonous. I don't. We can agree to disagree. So it goes....

      Thanks for taking the time to listen. I appreciate it!

      Ken

       

      • I didn't say the music was repetitive and monotonous, rather than the rendering could give that (quite possibly false) impression. I think the free Musescore could probably do a better rendering if the money's tight. It's true that neither work is particularly the sort of thing I'd normally listen to -- too light for my taste really -- so on the music itself, I'd best leave comment to others. But I'm certainly interested in what you come up with in the future!

         

        • Hi David -

          I'll check out Musescore and see what it offers. Changing horses in mid-stream can be a real challenge, as almost everything of mine is in Notion's format. Maybe the two programs can exchange files? I'll have to look and see. Years ago I used Professional Composer, (now I've really dated myself!), and spent God knows how many hours transcribing my old Composer files into Notion manually. I'm not looking to that again!

          Thanks for the suggestion; I'll look into it.

          Ken

           

          • I don't myself use MuseScore but Dorico Pro so for specific advice on the former you'd need to ask someone else. Actually even the Dorico Elements package now includes the Iconica library which isn't bad and the whole package is just 99 euros.  If you can run to that, it might be worth trying it out. Dorico forum support is very good -- you can usually get an answer to virtually anything within a few hours.

            Normally, to share files between different applications, you'd go with MusicXML format. I had about 50 Sibelius scores I had to convert to Dorico which did take time but was doable. Dorico MusicXML import is now quite good but it will of course also depend on Notion's export abilities. You could do a test export and try importing into both MuseScore and Dorico to see what happens.

             

          • Hi Ken,

            I agree with David. The current way your music is being presented doesn't showcase its quality well. David is correct about the MusixXML export; it shouldn't be difficult to convert. However, if you plan to create a lot more music, it would be advisable to use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and virtual instruments or consider Dorico. You might find inspiration from the composers and arrangers on Vi-Control. There are experts in that forum who can show you how a proper render should sound.

             
             
             
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  • I was especially interested in listening to this, since I myself have composed a number of works based on folk song melodies. Though I should make it clear that I find this an accomplished and sophisticated work, it is almost orthogonal in style to my own attempts at folk adaptations, which tend to use small ensembles, often even duets or solos, and to emphasize clean melodic lines with a minimum of overlaid decoration, An example if anyone is interested is on SoundCloud at

    https://soundcloud.com/jon-corelis/scottish-suite-for-alto-flute-an...

    My sort of interpretation of folk music is more characteristic of popular and folk artist ensembles than classical music; Under The Southern Cross is more mainstream classical and indeed reminds me of some of Aaron Copland’s compositions based on or including folk melodies.  It’s an impressive and valuable piece, and I hope it gets the performance it deserves.

    All that being said, I will add, not really as a criticism but just as a statement of one listener’s taste, that I found myself wishing that at least some passages of the piece would present the melodies more cleanly.  I find that Australian folk songs have a sort of ironic vigor (I’m not sure what I mean by that but it’s the phrase that come to mind; as an example, I find that this quality comes through very strongly in some of A. L. Lloyd’s performances, like this one at

    https://youtu.be/D-c08urapc4?si=OfPGDIdP83GlbiE6

    Here this quality seems to me to get lost under all the decoration.  But as I say this is a matter of personal taste.

    On the other hand, one decoration I thought was clever and successful was the use of a percussion instrument (I couldn’t tell which one it was) to imitation the clicking of sheep shears.

    Since this piece is clearly meant for performance, it may not be germane to criticize the sound quality of the audio, but since this has been commented on, I’ll say that I also found the audio somehow faint and tinny – it reminded me of the musical soundtrack of an old black and white movie.

    As for MuseScore, I use it exclusively and so have extensive experience with it.  I find it is excellent for producing printed or pdf scores.  The current version has better sound fonts than previous versions, and while they are probably not good enough for deliverable film, video or gaming music, they are fine as demo versions, which is what I use them for.  And MuseScore is free.

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