Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

I wrote this piece for orchestra but unfortunately I am limited by my vintage MacPro which crashes whenever I even think of additional timbres. So, here is a piano version of it. I used 4 piano’s to cover all the parts, try to imagine a wide spectrum of coloration. The idea is to orchestrate it in due time. I have added a score without details, just the notes.

I wrote this piece as a result of the Corona pandemic. It’s a musical description of how I perceive the impact that it has on me personally.

It starts with a clear scene, a simple life as a pilot. The regularity of the metronome is the “ticking-of-boxes” fulfilling the numerous checklists items before each flight. Then the full thrust sound of planes taking off followed by the idle thrust sound of planes landing, business as usual.
Then Corona hits, the atmosphere changes, there is a threat in the air, society gets de-railed worldwide. The widening of chords is the increasing number of people infected. Then the second wave hits us (in Holland, right now) Thereafter my hopes for the near future….planes taking off again…

My questions are:
- Disregarding my description, what do you hear? What images come to mind, if any?
- Any ideas on how this will work for orchestra?
- Any suggestions, remarks, idea’s, mistakes that I may have made?

All comments are welcome, I’m here to learn….
Thanks for listening!

Views: 82

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi, Joost,

Well, it's a most exciting piece suitably tinted with tension and a degree of doom. It builds up well, reaches a climax then heads toward the ending in an elaborated Ic - Va - Ia tierce (with a suspension on the Va of bar 60). A powerful resolution. The harmony progresses well and coherently.

It came across more as dance - its rhythm, tango-like to me that grows in wildness which symbolised for me society starting to fall apart because of restrictions, the anguish.

Orchestration is going to be great fun - I'm interested to see how you arrange it. But it's tricky. A literal translation note-by-note to orchestral instruments won't work well. As usual it's capturing the idiom of the original instrument(s) as if it were written for orchestra. 

= = 

Not so much suggestions but just me looking at it.

It's an incisive, percussive piece with well defined rhythms that work brilliantly for the piano(s).

The bass between bars 41 and 50 (pianos 1, 2 and 4) will need care to avoid sounding muddy, losing its bite. 

The bass of 'piano 4' is fairly obvious.

The 'piano 3' arpeggii between bars 19 and 22 may be a problem, may have to be split between 2 instruments although a good E flat clarinettist could manage them and would be agile enough (but may cost you a few beers!)

The wide-spanning chords in, for example, bar 10 can be split between different instruments and would probably sound good for that (though I'd spread the chords differently for an orchestra). 

If I had to orchestrate it I'd probably be sparing with the brass. Some brass may provide a chordal background... not sure. 

There's plenty of scope for coloration. Even the 'metronome' figure could be assigned to new instruments when it recurs - e.g. bar 10 although presumably you'd keep it on the same instrument throughout a phrase.

What are your thoughts on it?

Anyway, a brilliant, pianistic piece and thank you for a look at the score.

Cheers,

Dane

Hi Dane,

Thanks so much for listening and your extensive comments.

When I started writing the idea was to write a “Firedance”, inspired by memories of something I saw in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. But for some reason the music didn’t cover the memory clear enough. That’s why there is a reminiscence of a dance.
I was looking for some uncomfortable, a little bit irregular, peculiar rhythms combining several patterns and out came a tango….haha, you’re quite right. I think I may have to re-think that and take out the tango since it doesn’t contribute to what I was trying to convey.

“The bass between bars 41 and 50 (pianos 1, 2 and 4) will need care to avoid sounding muddy, losing its bite”…..Duly noted! I will change it and make it more transparent.

I have fragments of ideas as far as the orchestration is concerned. I would have to experiment with it.
The metronome figure,…maybe marimba combined with wood winds against horns and bass trombone. I would like to try alternating groups (marimba/flute/clarinet - marimba/oboe/bassoon) per bar just to see how that works.
The arpeggio’s, yes, that’ll be a challenge. I’m thinking piccolo, flute and maybe clarinet, as long as it stays smooth and uninterrupted. Maybe it’s a challenge for them to precisely synchronize.
The wide spreading chords in, for example bar 10: these are sequences of 3 chords. Maybe horns and strings in all the chords plus low brass in the first chord, trumpets in the middle chord and woodwinds in the high chords maybe I’ll try that first and see how that works out.
I imagine brass soloists punctuating the tutti orchestra in the de-railing of society section.

An infinite set of choices, I can’t wait to start working on it.

Thanks for listening and for your comments, highly appreciated!



Dane Aubrun said:

Hi, Joost,

Well, it's a most exciting piece suitably tinted with tension and a degree of doom. It builds up well, reaches a climax then heads toward the ending in an elaborated Ic - Va - Ia tierce (with a suspension on the Va of bar 60). A powerful resolution. The harmony progresses well and coherently.

It came across more as dance - its rhythm, tango-like to me that grows in wildness which symbolised for me society starting to fall apart because of restrictions, the anguish.

Orchestration is going to be great fun - I'm interested to see how you arrange it. But it's tricky. A literal translation note-by-note to orchestral instruments won't work well. As usual it's capturing the idiom of the original instrument(s) as if it were written for orchestra. 

= = 

Not so much suggestions but just me looking at it.

It's an incisive, percussive piece with well defined rhythms that work brilliantly for the piano(s).

The bass between bars 41 and 50 (pianos 1, 2 and 4) will need care to avoid sounding muddy, losing its bite. 

The bass of 'piano 4' is fairly obvious.

The 'piano 3' arpeggii between bars 19 and 22 may be a problem, may have to be split between 2 instruments although a good E flat clarinettist could manage them and would be agile enough (but may cost you a few beers!)

The wide-spanning chords in, for example, bar 10 can be split between different instruments and would probably sound good for that (though I'd spread the chords differently for an orchestra). 

If I had to orchestrate it I'd probably be sparing with the brass. Some brass may provide a chordal background... not sure. 

There's plenty of scope for coloration. Even the 'metronome' figure could be assigned to new instruments when it recurs - e.g. bar 10 although presumably you'd keep it on the same instrument throughout a phrase.

What are your thoughts on it?

Anyway, a brilliant, pianistic piece and thank you for a look at the score.

Cheers,

Dane

This is very likable Joost, there's a lot of good stuff going on here. The overall dramatic arc with a recap, the very propulsive rhythmic feel, the combination of conventional tonality with some nice little clusters and flourishes, all works great.  It has more of a dance feel or possibly even some disneyesque night on bald mountain cinematic thing going on more than airplanes grounded by pandemic, but that's just subjective from me I think.

As far as orchestration. It would be a challenge, I don't know how experienced you are but if you really want to, then go for it.  I would think to learn orchestration it would be easier to start with something more straightforward and less dense. That way you can do a lot of experimenting without getting bogged down. This piece actually works fine as is, or you could reduce it to one piano without ruining it I believe.

I understand your computer is limited but you should be able to get either MuseScore or NotePerformer going to give you some orchestral sounds I think.

Hello Ingo,

Thanks for listening and for your comments!

I agree, in places it leans more towards a choreographic challenge than to a description of a scene. This is because I initially meant it as a dance piece.
No subjective feeling or interpretation is wrong because it’s an interaction between you personally and the music. As long as music takes you somewhere and makes you “see”, feel, think or sense something or if it reminds you of something then it’s “mission successful”.

In fact, I wrote it with an orchestra in mind. I have no experience orchestrating but I can’t wait to give it a try. I think orchestrating will be a fantastic challenge that enriches the hobby of making music. I am not afraid to make mistakes, I am counting on my friends here at the forum to correct me….haha. You are 100% correct by suggesting to start with something simple, thanks for that tip.

The problem with my computer is that it can no longer be updated. 15 years ago it got stuck in time, I took it offline because it’s vulnerable. There are more security leaks than security fences. I can’t use software that is younger than 15 years old or so. I think NotePerformer was released in 2013 and uses it’s own sample library. There is no point trying to get even that very first version of NotePerformer.
I build several score templates in my DAW (Logic 8 and Kontakt 3) but even a simple woodwind quartet crashes the machine. It’s a frustrating process. I could work with General Midi sounds but that sound frustrates me even more….haha

Anyway, thanks so much Ingo for listening and your comments, highly appreciated!

Hi Joost -

I understand money is a big problem and I don't know how determined you are to pursue composing but I thought I'd mention a few things.

I used to render instruments one track at a time when I had limited memory. I would then assemble them in the DAW without the audio libraries being loaded, uses very little memory. It's laborious but I could build up a chamber group that way.

I now run the current NotePerformer on a Dell laptop I bought new for $270 USD, has 8 gig of RAM. You can get refurbished ones for much cheaper.

You can get Sibelius First for free, and any Sibelius for a free trial. NotePerformer has a free trial also, and sells for $129USD.

Here are the Mac system requirements for NotePerformer.

Mac: macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), or higher
Sibelius First (free) supposedly runs NotePerformer, you have to try it.
1.5 GB Hard Drive space (main drive).
4 GB RAM memory, or more.
Intel Core™ 2 Duo, 2.0 GHz, or faster CPU
The real limiting factor here is the time and patience to do the research and experimentation to get a system that works for you. There are composers here doing credible work for very little money but it isn't easy. You have the talent, the rest is up to you.

Hey again, Joost, I'll join in to say that "arranging" from a piano (or multiple piano scores) is an art that doesn't really take much to start in with simple piano pieces but gets more complex as you progress. I believe you have the right idea - get to know the instrument articulations well, then experiment. Plenty of string staccato, detaché, spiccato, martelé in this piece, most of which are shown on youtubes so you can hear the effect,

I'm one of those who didn't take up any kind of daw until around 2007 and worked exclusively on paper both short and full score. Very recently I started going from rough piano sketches straight into a daw, adjusting as I go. Easy enough with pieces having key, less so the more chromatic things get.

The problem is that notation software seems to need a lot of tweaking to get the sound you really want whereas notes and how they're played are more controllable in a daw.

= = =

However, I think you should save this piece in its piano arrangement. It could probably be rearranged for four hands on two pianos were you to have the time....after all, Stravinsky managed a two piano version of the Rite of Spring and Gershwin, his Rhapsody.

Hi Ingo,

Thanks so much for your valuable information. Certainly things that I will look into.

I have tried to render tracks one by one but as you rightly point out, it’s a laborious process. So much so, that it interferes a lot with the creative process. I feel, to really get the hang of Orchestration I would have to experiment with the entire spectrum of possibilities freely.

I just downloaded Sibelius Free on my laptop, It looks very nice but I can’t edit anything and seems to be locked right and left. I will certainly look into it more.

Thanks so much for your suggestions Ingo….I’m ready for your next piece



Ingo Lee said:

Hi Joost -

I understand money is a big problem and I don't know how determined you are to pursue composing but I thought I'd mention a few things.

I used to render instruments one track at a time when I had limited memory. I would then assemble them in the DAW without the audio libraries being loaded, uses very little memory. It's laborious but I could build up a chamber group that way.

I now run the current NotePerformer on a Dell laptop I bought new for $270 USD, has 8 gig of RAM. You can get refurbished ones for much cheaper.

You can get Sibelius First for free, and any Sibelius for a free trial. NotePerformer has a free trial also, and sells for $129USD.

Here are the Mac system requirements for NotePerformer.

Mac: macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), or higher
Sibelius First (free) supposedly runs NotePerformer, you have to try it.
1.5 GB Hard Drive space (main drive).
4 GB RAM memory, or more.
Intel Core™ 2 Duo, 2.0 GHz, or faster CPU
The real limiting factor here is the time and patience to do the research and experimentation to get a system that works for you. There are composers here doing credible work for very little money but it isn't easy. You have the talent, the rest is up to you.

Hi Dane,

Thanks for your additional remarks! I think it’s a good idea to reduce the score to a 2 piano version. I will certainly keep it as a piano piece. But, once I’m all setup, I will also use this piece as a study project trying discover the difficulties, pitfalls and pleasures of orchestration. I consider orchestration as a big part of creating music and I can’t wait to hear this piece in an orchestrated version. Once done, I will upload it here and get ready for a brutal punishment….haha.

I think everyone has his own particular way of working and since there are so many ways there is lots to discover and many YouTube video’s to watch.

Talking about Strawinsky….what additional masterpieces would he come up with had he lived today, using the technical possibilities we have?!….Can you imagine?! to create “The Rite of Spring” with just a pen, some paper and a piano! Unbelievable! Working the way I do now, my admiration for composers of the past has grown considerably.

Anyway Dane, thanks for your comments…(btw are you working on new music now?)



Dane Aubrun said:

Hey again, Joost, I'll join in to say that "arranging" from a piano (or multiple piano scores) is an art that doesn't really take much to start in with simple piano pieces but gets more complex as you progress. I believe you have the right idea - get to know the instrument articulations well, then experiment. Plenty of string staccato, spiccato, martelé in this piece, most of which are shown on youtubes so you can hear the effect,

I'm one of those who didn't take up any kind of daw until around 2007 and worked exclusively on paper both short and full score. Very recently I started going from rough piano sketches straight into a daw, adjusting as I go. Easy enough with pieces having key, less so the more chromatic things get.

The problem is that notation software seems to need a lot of tweaking to get the sound you really want whereas notes and how they're played are more controllable in a daw.

= = =

However, I think you should save this piece in its piano arrangement. It could probably be rearranged for four hands on two pianos were you to have the time....after all, Stravinsky managed a two piano version of the Rite of Spring and Gershwin, his Rhapsody.

Very effective the resource of using four pianos. You manage to fill the space with a lot of music, but well assembled and consonant.


With its rhythm that proposes to be danced, it has transmitted to me a feeling of affective, sentimental and emotional agitation, but it has always transmitted it positively and with sensitivity.

Congratulations on the piece.

Saludos!

Hi Ramon,

Thank you so much for the comments, highly appreciated!

Ramon Capsada Blanch said:

Very effective the resource of using four pianos. You manage to fill the space with a lot of music, but well assembled and consonant.


With its rhythm that proposes to be danced, it has transmitted to me a feeling of affective, sentimental and emotional agitation, but it has always transmitted it positively and with sensitivity.

Congratulations on the piece.

Saludos!

Joost,

I first commented on this yesterday saying that the main theme of this music is similar to that of Beethoven's third movement The Appassionata but then after listening to it several times again I came to the conclusion that the piece is different enough to stand on its on merit. It is more like a dance as Dane had suggested and a very good one indeed.

Regards,

Saul

Hi Saul,

Thanks so much for listening and your comment. Highly appreciated.....

Saul Gefen said:

Joost,

I first commented on this yesterday saying that the main theme of this music is similar to that of Beethoven's third movement The Appassionata but then after listening to it several times again I came to the conclusion that the piece is different enough to stand on its on merit. It is more like a dance as Dane had suggested and a very good one indeed.

Regards,

Saul

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!

Store

© 2020   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service