Music Composers Unite!
As most of you probably know by now, I am quite more then a bit in love. So, time to write something down. Yeah, the Love Symphony is almost getting started. I wanted a small duet first.
So here it is. It is a song without word (Lied ohne Wörter), a duet between me and her. I am the bassoon, she is the viola.
It discribes the start of our feelings for each other, it is a small conversation.
Again, it is slow and easy-going. I did write it last night, and at this moment I do not really want to change anything. Unless some of you has a very good advice, of course.
Hope you like it.
I dedicated this little song without words to my Jamila.
To me, the piece sounds comical rather than romantic and I find it rather dull. There's very little variation in the rhythm (and sometimes also in the notes!). Occasionally, the two instruments begin to play together and I start hoping that things are going to get interesting, but no, it goes back to boring again.
I have to admit I bailed out around 2:30. The score doesn't show much new happening further on.
Sorry, I don't like to post negative comments (particular on a love song!), but I assume that by posting here you are looking for honest critiques—and it's just my reaction, someone else might love it.
I would suggest you try again with a more lyrical line. What are you trying to say? Does the music reflect that? Will the listener understand your message without having you to explain it? The story I hear in this music is not a love story, sorry.
I always appreciate an honest reply, and you are not breaking me down, you explain why you think what you think. That is what I like, and no, I don't think you have to be sorry for giving your opinion.
May I ask you what you would have expected? You say more lirical, but in what way?
That could help me and I might rewrite the whole piece... ;)
Firstly let me say, Congratulations for being in love! That is a desirable state of existence.
Now, to the nitty-gritty:
In romantic spirit I would mark my score as "Andante Amosroso, con moto", but that is only subjective as Italian word "amoroso" has a more romantic ring in my ear than English word "loving".
While we are on the score subject, please put the viola in the top line and the fagotto in the bottom so that we can read it a little more easily.
It definitely gave me the idea of a dialogue. Two characters agreeing, disagreeing, monologuing, singing simultaneously etc, etc.
Weather their subject is love I am not in a position to comment. Every one must by necessity have his own ideas on the subject and if this is how you view it, fine, but you must take into account also how it strikes other people. Antonio gave a valuable reaction above by perceiving it as comical. I think that is quite apt description but not necessarily negative cause comedy is a fine element in an all-containing love dialogue.
I rather agree with Antonio in the purely musical critique of being not very interesting rhythmically, and I would add that it is too long without exploring other tonalities and processing in other ways the material or inventing new.
And as always, it is only an opinion I offer, not a gospel.
Thanks for sharing and good further workings on it!
For you too: thanks for sharing your thoughts.
You got the idea of getting into a dialoge, thanks.
Well, after relistening it a couple of times, I think I do agree with both of you.
I was thinking of a transposition into another key somewhere, and may be even speeding up a little at some places.
Could you give me a hint what you mean with other tonalities? Is that what I said in the line above? (Lack of English, I suppose).
Glad to hear you're in love! It must be a beautiful feeling.
I had a listen to your piece and I can make the following observations.
It is certainly very much conversational and the dialogue between the 2 is very clear.
Now having fairly recently posted a similar meaning piece I hope I am in a reasonable position to comment.(http://composersforum.ning.com/forum/topics/song-of-love)
When I wrote this I wrote it for a concert and my GF (now my wife) was to be there at the premier having never heard it before. She is not knowledgeable in classical music, but is intelligent and has naturally a good ear for music. So for my piece I wanted something that was :
-Immediately likable and "tuneful"
-Has enough substance that on many subsequent hearings it will continue to reveal itself while not getting tedious.
Now with your piece, could you plonk your partner down and have her being impressed by it and have her experience your expressions of love? On the other hand you may have wrote it more for yourself than for her in which case ignore the above.
Specifically with your piece I (in my idea of a love piece) possibly has the following "problems".
1.I think the bassoon is very much unsuited to "love", to a lesser extent the viola too! Antonio's comic comment above was probably influenced heavily by the bassoons intrinsically comic sound. I think if my piece was written for say a bass trombone and bagpipes id still be single. As a duo a violin and viola would be a better couple, or violin and flute or 2 violins. And having a piano accompaniment would make it more likable to an average listener I would think.
2. I think a very melodic, memorable (and hopefully beautiful) theme is absolutely mandatory and I don't hear one here.
3. Very clear, fairly simple harmony and harmonic progressions are important.
4. The instruments although conversing with each other I feel should interact more and be more "in harmony" with each other. They sound quite distant to each other to me and im hoping your relationship is not like that!
I hope this helps a bit Erwin.
Above all write something that you could play to her and be confident that she feels it is beautiful....
I like your lovesong, btw.
The reason I choose a bassoon and viola, is actually because I wanted to voice our voices. I do have a bass (catually baritone) voice, and she has this full, darik, rich voice that black women (no offence) meant) have. I thought viola came the closest.
May be I wanted to be too litterally. May be I wanted to be to close to the reality in having the converstation.
So, actually, what all three of you are saying is: go back to the drawingboard, am I right? I mean, for this song, that is...
Well, as I said before, if the music doesn't match the title, you can do two things. Either change the music or the title.
So, if I may ask, to stay with the wood and string, whould an oboe and a violin suit better?
Lol well in that case I'd say too literally!
Drawing board is possibly a little harsh!
If you redo this piece keep in mind that it should sound beautiful. I think oboe and violin should work fine. I think clarinet or flute and violin would contrast even more. And don't discount the possibility of having a piano accompaniment, if only to make it easier to listen to and understand for Jamila. Without a good deal of prior exposure to classical music (Bach especially) a purely polyphonic piece may not sound like much at all to the inexperienced listener.
Again congrats on your new romance and the way you are feeling - now CHANNEL THAT EMOTION SOLDIER!!!
I can do that except for one thing: I don't know how to write for piano. Want to master it, but not yet.
I just have been working on it, here's the B-version, so to say...
What about this?
I listened to just the first part of your revision (the "A" section using your rehearsal marks). I'm not hearing much improvement. I think you have some great advice from Paul. I'll give you some of my own FWIW.
My photography teacher said a good photographer has to learn to "discriminate", a word that normally has a bad connotation. What this means is that you need to learn to be your own critic. If you want to write a love song, start listening to successful love songs, in all styles. When you hear something that moves you, study it and try to figure out what the composer did that made the music successful as a love song. Within the variety of love songs, see if you can identify elements common to all of them. Check out their scores.
Let's take a look at the viola part from measures 11 to 22. I hear it as an exercise for a beginner, not a love theme. Why? Because that part consists of a set of notes (mostly) of equal length, almost all one or two diatonic steps apart.
Just to give you an idea of what I would be hoping for, I took a few measures of your music (shown at the top in the image below) and then wrote what I might have put in at that spot (lower staff). Of course, I'm not you and what I wrote is not what you want to write nor is what I wrote really great music. But I think it's more interesting to listen to and sounds less like viola exercise for a beginner.
The viola is playing alone and so it needs to provide all the musical color and drive that would make someone want to keep listening.
If this were my piece, I would probably try to harmonically support the viola with a bass line. That would add depth and harmony and not leave the viola all by itself. The bass line need not be intrusive. As a love song, it would say you are still there to support her. And she could do the same for you. You have only two instruments, neither of which is a common solo instrument.
Anyway, that's what I might do, but it's not my piece, it's yours and you need to come up with something that tells the story you want to tell, but in interesting way that someone else might want to listen to.
Whenever I write anything, even a short phrase, I often come back to it a few hours or days later and listen to it again. I try to listen to the music as though someone else wrote it. Often, I hear a lot of problems and I spend time considering how to fix them.
There are some people in this group who can probably write something in one evening and have it be great music. I am not one of them. I would encourage you to spend some time with this piece, listen to other Lieds, practice doing self-critiques, and then return with your revised work in a few weeks. We'll still be here :-)
Hmmm... I just listened to Paul's piece and, while I don't want to intrude into your thread, I also have a song written for my wife and their might be some value in suggesting you listen to it (since I'm the one making comments about yours).
Like your piece, it uses two instruments in a dialog. Mine are violin and cello.
I just listened to it and I'm not super-happy with the MIDI mix. My self-critique switch is always on, it seems, :-) and if it weren't already "published", I would probably work on it some more. You would be well served by listening to the real pro composers, but this piece will give you some idea of where I'm coming from.
Thanks for all the work you put in my little miserable piece, 'cause it is just that. I liked it when I finished it at 2am, but the more I listen, the more I think you all are right. It is not what it should be.
It is true that the second version sounds like the first, but I have changed quite a lot. I have done 3 transitions (starts in D, then goes to F, then to G, and then back to D). Also I implemented 4 tempo changes. And I have been playing with the length of the notes. Correct: the melody is the same...
I am actually thinking of leaving this one for what it is, and just starting over. I might may be better do that. The only thing I will keep, is the theme (and that is the bunch of notes appearing first in m. 35-38).
I really do appreciate all the advice, for sure. When I wrote the introduction, I was quite on a high. Now I'm more down to earth and I see that this is not nearly as good as I had in mind.
There remains only one question: if I want a dialogue, I need the instruments to play after each other, do I? Or do I just support one with the other, just a little softer?
I even might change both the instruments into an F-horn and a violin... Or an F-horn and a flute...
Just thinking out loud now, I am not throwing this away. Just abandoning it for now, looking back at it later.
Boy, if I had a nickel for every piece or theme I've thrown away! Accepting failure and allowing oneself to make mistakes is the surest form of learning and making progress.The people who never fail aren't trying hard enough.
If you have a question about something in a piece, feel free to post right away, although the Suggestions Wanted/Open to Revision forum might be more appropriate. If you have something you think is finished, spend a few days or a week without listening to it, then listen to it again, critically, before posting.If you can hear problems, you don't need us—fix them, repeat.
As for a conversation, I'm not an expert, so this may be the blind leading the blind, but I think two instruments can have a conversation even if they are both playing simultaneously. One carries the melodic line, the other supports the melodic line. Sometimes both voices may be featured together, either playing in unison or voicing different, but complementary themes. I tend to make the leading voice louder, but there may be alternatives. The supporting line may also be simpler.
Regarding instrumentation, I don't know if French Horn is what I would use for a love song, but I haven't tried. I think cello would be lovely but it's a little close to the viola. Of course, you could substitute cello for bassoon without having to make any changes to the current score, I believe, but you have more opportunities for contrast with a violin. Flute and cello may also be good.