Music Composers Unite!
I'm several months late, but this piece was intended to have been an entry to the past "Emotions" contest by Gav. It's subtitled "Exuberance" for its boundless optimism. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
There are probably many things that need to be improved. So comment away!
P. S., I hope Gregorio will enjoy the little secrets (or not-so-secrets) I put in here. ;-)
Edit 2017-08-03: prettied up the score a little, fixed a few voicing issues.
Edit 2017-09-06: fixed up several passages based on Gregorio's feedback -- thanks!! Dialed back tempo a bit for clearer melody lines. Re-rendered .mp3 with a Kawai soundfont, just to add a little character.
Hey HS - this is really wonderful! 'Exuberance' is a totally fitting title. When i hear Bach Italian concerto, exuberance is the word that comes to mind - and in spirit, it reminds me of that one. I've listened about 4 or 5 times, the last 3 following the score, which goes by so quickly, and I'm sure I'm missing stuff..
This theme is very catchy, and a lot of fun.. I like where it goes inverted (on the 4th entrance of the theme)..
I realize to understand this better, i must take it to the piano and play it..
My only reservation (which may change as i get to know it better) is from the (high d#) pick up to bar 50.. which is again asserted as the high note in bar 51, and the first part of 52….. i guess I'm thinking too much d# :) but as i say, my perspective on that could change.. It takes a while to get to know these fugue things.. :)
Thanks for your kind comments, Gregorio! Glad you liked the subject.
And yes, the tempo is pretty fast. I think I need to learn to pack less into a piece at this tempo. I rarely write something so fast, and I think I have the tendency to jam too much into the music that probably won't be appreciated because it goes by so quickly. Gotta learn to write less densely, I think. :-)
Very happy to hear you'll try this at the piano. Maybe you'll discover more of the "secrets" or not-so-secrets I put in there. :-P If it's not too much trouble, I'd love to hear the result. ;-) (Don't feel obligated, though... I'm just curious.)
As far as the d# is concerned, I did also sense that passage is somewhat on the high side. Perhaps I should consider rewriting the melody from the end of m.51 to m.52. Though I can't touch the two d#'s in m.51 itself, because ... well, I'm sure you'll figure it out soon enough. :-D Alternatively, I could try transposing mm.48-52 down an octave. I think I did try that initially, but couldn't find a convincing way to pull it off. But maybe if I give the transposed melody to the 2nd voice, and write counterpoint on top, it might work... But it would likely lose its current (IMO) charming dance-like character, and may require extensive surgery in the subsequent passages. Ah, the joys of editing a fugue... as if writing it wasn't already hard enough in the first place. :-P
Absolutely wonderful and refreshing, my friend. This is probably one of my favorites of yours. Would you consider this a 3 voice fugue? Also, I know you like it fast, but have you considered actually slowing it down? It might sound a little more elegant letting us enjoy both the vertical and horizontal more, and I could easily hear this arranged for strings or even a brass quintet.
In fact, this was written as a 3-voice fugue. The score even says so. :-P It was just a little cheeky experiment on my part to see if not having "fugue" in the discussion title would draw more people in. I guess not. :-P
Anyway, upon your recommendation I ran it through a slightly slower tempo: 105 bpm instead of 115 (attached). You're right that it sounds more elegant, and the lines are heard more clearly. It does lose a bit of ... exuberance, though. :-D
Nice and light. Sounds like a happy piece to me. Nice to listen to.
A very nice flowing example of 3 part writing Theo! I enjoyed it very much and I find it quite positive/hope-creating :-).
I find it a little fast, imagining it is hard to play but maybe it is becoming it the way it is. Thanks for sharing.
Great stuff HS a joyous piece incredibly well written, each line has a wonderful independant musical logic - that's where some of the real art of fugue lies.
I agree with Ray that it'd be wonderful on a small intimate pipe organ with a delicate flute-ish registration, it'd somehow add a little more charm to it - funny how we hear things differently!
Dave asked me for a midi file to import into an organ patch, so here we go, see attached.
Of the 3 organ versions posted by Ray & Dave (thanks, btw!), I like Dave's full organ version the best, mainly because it has a stronger bass line, and also because the 16th notes seem to come through the clearest.
Unsurprisingly, though, the pianisms didn't work very well. The last beat of m.49 totally didn't come through in all 3 versions, mainly because it was written with the piano in mind. :-D In general, the wider leaps didn't work very well due to the nature of the organ. If I were to write this again for the organ, I'd try to minimize the leaps, rather than have the current wide-ranging leaping lines that work OK on the piano but not so well on the organ.
Generally, I didn't like the upper register that much, but that's just my personal bias on all organ music in general, not just on these particular organ renderings. The high-register flute-y sound for whatever reason just doesn't appeal to me very much. Perhaps if the upper lines were closer together so that there are less open intervals, it might work better. I wrote a lot of open chords to maximize the sound on the piano, but that doesn't work very well with the organ timbre.
One interesting thing, though, is that some of the 16th notes passages became quite clear to me that they would work quite well on strings. Perhaps I might try arranging it for a string orchestra or something... ;-)
Thanks, Dave. Glad you liked the music. I suppose I should reserve judgment until I hear it performed on a real organ. :-P But generally, I'm not a fan of organ music. Maybe excepting Saint-Saëns' 3rd symphony. Well, maybe Erwin would appreciate yall's organ renderings of Exuberance, since he's not a fan of piano music. :-D Funny how music preferences go.
As far as piano is concerned, yeah it has its limitations, and actually I'm not a big fan either (though I still prefer it over organ, given the choice). But some things just work better on piano than on other instruments, unless rewritten specifically for that other instrument. The bass line in mm. 30-36, for example, works better with the piano timbre esp. when it dips into the lower register. And the RH 16th note figures in mm. 37-40 sound more opulent (don't know if that's the right word) on the piano, even though it does work somewhat on organ, and probably also on strings. The different timbre does give it quite a different feel than on piano, nonetheless. The off-beat accents in mm.56-59 also seem to work better with the hammer sound of the piano than on the organ. In an orchestral setting I'd add timpani strokes to emphasize them, I think. And the cadence in m.65 simply doesn't have the same effect on organ. Here's where the hammer sound of the piano really shines. Maybe in an orchestral setting I could have low brass hit that bass note to produce a similar effect. Although if that low E were transposed an octave down, I suppose it could work on the organ too, though with a somewhat different effect.
Anyway, some amount of tweaking would be needed to make it work better on organ.
@Ray: You're right, once the score is out in the "big bad world" all bets are off. :-D However, I actually welcome different interpretations of my music. Even if, given the choice, I wouldn't perform it that way.
About your video: very interesting demo of what Cubase can do. :-) The bass line is clearer in this setup, though I still find the upper lines a blur of high frequency flute-y noise. :-P No fault of yours, though. I'm simply not a fan of organ music, that's all there is to it. But I'm not opposed to people performing my music on organ.
Maybe I should send the score to an organist and ask for a recording, on the off-chance that a real performance might actually change my mind about organ music. :-P
Though, come to think of it, I wonder if it would sound better if transposed an octave lower on the organ...
Today, I came across a sample of a Kawai upright piano of not-bad quality, so I decided to try it out on this piece to see what it sounds like. The initial result wasn't very impressive, but thanks to Ray's recent mastering tips, I discovered that adding a little reverb warmed up the sound significantly. Since lately this forum seems to be filled with more invective than music, I thought I should counteract that, even if it's only by recycling an already-posted piece on a new virtual instrument. :-P
So here it is, Exuberance on a Kawai upright piano in a virtual large room.
The reverb settings were: 25% reverberance, 85% HF damping, 100% room scale (no idea what that means, that's what it's called with no further explanation -- any ideas?), 80% stereo depth, 150ms predelay, and -5 dB wet gain. What do you audio production experts think?