Hello, this is a piece I composed for 2 pianos (+ Contrabass, optional). It's dedicated to my budgie who died this year in February. I would really appreciate any feedback you can give, it means a lot to me, thank you !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04ZYDX_FEtA

I wrote this in Logic Pro X 10.1.1 and used "Steinway Stage Piano", using the default sound library.

Brave Little Bird, Mila.mp3

Lead sheet.pdf

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  • Could you also post the score? It would help greatly in giving you more specific feedback.

    My condolences on your budgie... hope you are coping well. "Mila"... what a beautiful name for a budgie!

    The music itself sounds quite intense and emotional, as it should be. The electronic playback doesn't do it justice, though. I believe it would sound much better played on real pianos. (This is no fault of yours, obviously, just the sad state of technology when it comes to realistic performances.)

    I thought you could have thinned out the texture a little bit before the pause at around 0:59, or perhaps pulled back the tempo a little, so that it doesn't seem to sudden. At 1:55 the chord sounded somewhat out-of-place... not sure if that was intentional, or maybe it's just my classically-biased ears. If you post the score I might be able to look at it a bit more carefully and see if I can think of a better chord to use (assuming it's not just my bias).

    I thought at the end a rallentando would be in order, to lend a little more emphasis to the final heartbeats.

  • Hello, thank you very much for these kind words and your feedback. Yes, I'll post the score too.

    First of, yes the playback isn't exactly played as I had in mind the interpretation. I originally wrote it for String ensemble, so it isn't exactly the same for the pianos. The fact that the chord seems a little out-of-place was intended to sort of illustrate the moment when I knew she would die...I don't know how to explain it correctly though. At the end I wrote a ritenuto, I just couldn't manage to get it into the virtual performance. 

  • I'm at work now, so I'll have to listen to your piece again later, following along the lead sheet.

    I had guessed that the "out-of-place" chord may have been intentional. I totally understand the intent behind that. I'll have to look more carefully at it, maybe it's OK as-is, but maybe there's an even more "surprising" chord that can be used for that special moment. Or there may be a way to tweak the progression leading up to it, so that it doesn't sound strange, but still conveys that special moment.

    As for getting a ritenuto to work in playback, usually you just have to manually insert hidden tempo marks to gradually slow down the tempo. Such is the limitation of software renderings...

  • P.S. Just noticed that you originally scored this for string section / string quintet. I'm wondering if it might be more effective in this medium than on two pianos. Perhaps you might want to consider importing this original scoring into your software?

  • Ok, yes I would really appreciate if you could have a look at it, thank you again !

  • Listened to it again this morning. Having the score helped a lot in picking out some of the melody lines which got obscured by the poor midi rendering. Anyway...

    I thought at m.21 you could use a sus4 chord so that the pause doesn't sound too sudden. Try having the 2nd violins play C in m.21 and B in m.22 (leave everything else the same), and see what you think?   On that note, the (IMO) overly strong doubling of D makes the chord sound somewhat awkward in this context. Perhaps you could consider rearranging some of the notes to have G on the bottom instead?

    The "awkward" chord I mentioned earlier is in m.44 where you went from A minor in m.43 to B minor in m.44. Now obviously, this is just my opinion, you may have a very good reason why you chose B minor, but I thought about a few alternative chord progressions that might sound better:

    1) Rather bland: m.43, A minor -> m.44, G major -> (3rd beat of m.44) D minor on F bass

    2) Alternative of (1), slightly more colorful: m.43, A minor -> m.44 E minor (G on bass) -> (3rd beat of m.44) F major (F on bass)

    3) Another alternative of (1), yet stronger: m.43, A minor -> m.44 D minor 6th (F on bass, B on melody) -> (ditto) D minor

    4) Development of (3), quite emotional: m.43 A minor -> m.44 D minor 6th (F on bass, B on melody) -> E major 7th (E on bass, D on melody)

    5) Very intense-sounding: m.43, A minor -> m.44, B 7th (sharpen the D's, A on bass) -> F minor (flatten the A's, A-flat on bass)

    6) Modification of (5), might be closer to the emotion you're going for (I think?): m.43, A minor -> m.44, B major (D-sharp on bass) -> D minor (D-natural on bass)

    Well, these are the sequences I came up with, I'm not sure which one is closer to what you have in mind, I think (6) is pretty close, but that's just my own tastes, you may have something different in mind. But I just wanted to give you some ideas to work with to hopefully better capture this important juncture in the piece. (Hope I didn't completely ruin it for you!)

    (Please let me know if my chord names are unclear. Maybe, if I find some spare time today I could enter those few bars into my own software with some of my suggested chord sequences, so that you can hear for yourself which ones you think are closer to what you intended.)

  • Thank you very much ! I'll have a look at the chords tomorrow and I'll tell you what I think. I may don't have the needed experience of composing since I'm only 17 haha, so this will certainly help a lot !

  • OK, so I inputted mm.42-48  from your score and played around with it a little, and here's what I came up with. See the attached pdf.

    The first page is taken from your original, the second page shows variant A where I replaced the chord in m.44 with E minor. This is probably not what you had in mind, since it sounds pretty mild and doesn't stand out very much from the rest of the piece.

    The third page shows variant B, where I changed both m.44 and m.45 to go B major -> E major. I also had a variant C with other chord substitutions, but I didn't like the result very much, so I left it out. I think variant B is what sounds best to me among my experiments. I'm not sure how well it captures your original intention, though. I was going to try out some of my other chord suggestions but I'm out of time now.

    The attached mp3 is made from variant B. What do you think?

    While playing around with the score, I also had some ideas about mm.48, but I didn't have the time to try it out so I restricted myself just to mm.48-49.

    variants.pdf

    variantB.mp3

    https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/8608233875?profile=original
  • I listened to your changes and I like that very much ! I'll see if I can develop those chords throughout the piece...

    Thank you for your invested time !

  • Glad I could help!

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