Introduction

Hello to all!  I just joined the forum yesterday and wanted to introduce myself.  My name is Greg, I'm 47, and I've been composing since college.  Although I majored/minored in history and philosophy, I did take a number of advanced music courses in college with a beloved professor who took an interest in my passion for classical music.  Other than that, I'm largely self-taught.  I've spent a lot of time studying scores and listening to the masterworks.  I never mastered an instrument, though I can play a little piano. My main interest has always been composition.

Because life took me in certain directions, I never did anything formally with my musical interests, and I must admit I do have some regrets about that.  But I have to say I've been lucky to have a job doing meaningful work in the community that has also allowed me a lot of time and flexibility over the years to compose.  

I've written 3 symphonies, 2 piano concertos, a harpsichord concerto, variations and fugue for orchestra, and a lot of other miscellaneous single-movement pieces.  I love composing for the orchestra!  I know, I know -- that lowers the chance of my stuff ever getting performed.  But I can't help it, I just love it.  I've been a little slow to get these into score format, but do have my 2 piano concertos and 3rd symphony scored and audio files (Finale electronic "performances") of them that I can share.  It's hard to describe my style; I do try to write accessible music -- tonal, with transparent structures.  I'm not interested in originality for originality's sake, though I do strive not to "sound like" other composers.  The word of the day when I was in college in the 90s was "derivative" -- the last thing you wanted to be was derivative.  And they really drilled that into my head because it's always at the forefront of my thoughts when I'm composing.  Sometimes I fear I've lifted some melody from another composer subconsciously.  But I suppose almost all composers (and artists of any kind) struggle with that.  At the end of the day, I do this mainly for the joy of it.  I experience a unique "high" when I compose -- it's unlike any other fulfillment I've ever felt.  I don't know if my music is any good, or if it has any value beyond the pleasure I get out of writing it, but I keep doing it because I feel that I have no other choice.  It's an insatiable hunger.  I'm sure many of you have similar feelings.    

I mainly wanted to join the forum so that I could meet others who have a passion for musical composition.  Unfortunately, my small circle of friends in the real world does not include anyone who's involved with music to any great extent.   I've been content all these years working in isolation, but now I'm really wanting to make connections.  I think artists need to connect with their creative peers so they can share ideas, give feedback, and be supportive of one another.  I believe it inspires and nourishes the soul to do so.  I'm happy to do my part.

Anyhow, enough of my rambling.  I'm glad to be here and look forward to some interaction.

 

Greg           

You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –

Replies

      • Looks like you backed a winner there - Noteperformer seems to win praise wherever I see it - on forums particularly the one for my engraving software which many use for composing. What's fascinating is that it seemed to be moving into 'modelled' instruments rather than samples. My brush with modelling is Pianoteq that occupies 50MB rather than competing sampled pianos at closer to 100GB. The downside will probably be needing an immensely powerful computer to handle all the calculations needed for a full orchestral tutti !

        • Man, I sure did.  It is fantastic!  It's really brought my music to life as I've been toying with it these last few days.  Honestly, I haven't really put a whole lot into composing since 2018, as I've mainly been trying to enter into score pieces I had already composed before then, and I've also been tied up with some literary projects on top of that.  But NP has really got me excited about composing again.  I probably wouldn't have known about it had I not joined this forum.  There's so much conflicting information on the web and a ridiculously huge quantity of it that it's sometimes hard to know what's legit and what's not.  The recommendations here, though, were spot on. 

          As I said elsewhere, I do plan to post some of my music here at some point, hopefully soon.  But I really want to contribute first.  I don't want to just take and not give back.  I've been in some other online forums in the past (namely Facebook) that were mostly just a waste of time.  I tried to give feedback when I felt I had something of value to add, but I didn't get many contributions from others when I would post something.  I realized the problem was a lot of people wanted to post their stuff and have others comment on it, but they rarely returned the favor.  I don't want to be that guy that takes but doesn't give back. 

          I like Marty's ideas below, btw.      

        • just to clarify -- NotePerformer has always been a primarily modelled instrument with a small sample base. Because of the small sample base, the actual timbre realism of the instruments is less than with good sample libraries so it's certainly not as accurate as leading orchestral libraries from VSL, Orchestral Tools Berlin symphony, Cinematic Studio or Spitfire BBC. It has always been best with crisp, rhythmical, well articulated music for full orchestra when the intelligent programming shines through. It's weaker with chamber arrangements or perhaps slow-moving romantic music. The big advantage is the ease of use which is why it's so popular with those using notation software (originally it was Sibelius-only). It also requires modest system resources and hardly any hard drive space.

          Its piano partner is indeed Pianoteq which for a while was my go to piano until I realised that it does lack the full power and range of a decent sampled piano in the bass in particular. I'd still recommend it , though.

           

          • I hadn't known about Noteperformer until I read these posts, so I looked at their web site, which I found interesting.  Noteperformer claims to be a state of the art Artifical Intelligence (AI) music audio app.  

            I'm now considering creating a state of the art AI listening app.  This could take the form of a listen-bot, maybe represented by a face thingie on a screen.  You could input the audio from an AI music generation app into the listen-bot, which would respond with, for instance, a smile when the music was happy, a trickling tear when it was said, a look of determination when the music turned rousing, etc.  What do people think?

          • David, thanks for the information you posted on my comment wall about the orchestral libraries.  That was very helpful, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain that.  My computer is 4 years old and is sort of mid-range in terms of processing power.  I'm probably going to be investing in a new system before too much longer (if inflation doesn't get too much out of control, that is), so I'm going to look at maybe spending a little more so I can have a system sufficient enough to handle some of these options.  Anyway, thanks for pointing me in the right direction.  I know what to look at now!  

  • In furtherance of the general statements about being supportive of each other, commenting/commenting back, and "drive-bys," etc., yes, the CF has all the same issues of general low energy/participation as you also see in other forums. I am sure it is for the reasons already discussed, particularly drive-bys, which is not only some people who post-n-disappear, but also some people who post only their own stuff and rarely if ever comment on the works of others. I think CF has a bit of a nicer culture than most of the other boards, there is very little open hostility to be seen here like you find elsewhere. If, in addition to drive-bys, there is one other contributing factor to the low level of response, it is (in my estimation, not asking anyone to share this opinion) the quality of the submissions. I realize I'm stepping into what could be considered judgmental territory here, but all I want to do is point out something that I suspect everyone feels: we won't comment on works that we don't like. Average works all sound the same to me and to a certain extent, unimprovable, and thus I don't have anything to contribute to the composer which they will take as a positive, and I decline to be negative just to put a comment on a composer's work, because I don't want them to feel bad.

    I try to dip in and offer a positive comment when I can, and every now and then something does jump out at me as better-than-average, and if I think so, you are likely to hear from me (if I have time and notice your piece - I don't always).

    A further further thought. Everyone has to start somewhere, and some people stay where they start. Composition is a deeply personal business and some people are exactly where they want to be, and satisfied with it. If that is the case, and you are not getting comments, it may just be a sign that your music, while fulfilling to you, is not to others. Maybe you're ok with that and don't mind the lack of comments, in which case, keep on doing what you are doing. But if you do want comments and you are willing, I suggest you consider changing something about what you are doing. Try a different direction, a new style, an instrument you've never written for, *something*

    Again, just a personal approach to it, not asking any to share it.

    Gav

     

    • I'll probably have to agree with Gav by and large. The fact I haven't written a comment on some work may mean it's simply not my style and therefore there's no point in saying anything. It may mean I have simply missed a work as sometimes when I'm busy, I may not look at the forum for a week or more. It may be that I quite enjoyed the work but several others have already commented and I don't feel I have anything substantive to add. If I come across an interesting work which shows real originality but has imo objective flaws, I'd certainly comment on those with the proviso that of course the composer might not agree with my assessment and would be free to do so.

      And Dane remarks on being self-taught certainly have a resonance. I'm glad I never formally studied composition, otherwise I would have almost certainly never written what I actually want to write as I would have felt too inhibited about composing works which are completely politically incorrect in their naive nostalgia.

      • I second the remarks by Gav Brown and David Owen above.  I'll add from my own experience that participation rates should be understood in the context of what types of composition are most often posted to this site.  I myself have no interest in composing or listening to game music, film music, or electronic music, so there isn't much point on my commenting on those genres.  This means that a large section of music posted here is out of my range.

        As long as I'm on the subject, I'll add that I find the most valuable comments on my own work to be those from performers on specific performance issues in the work. Unfortunately I can't return the favor, since I have only very rudimentary performing ability myself -- give me a score and a keyboard and I can pick out melodies and chords -- but, then that is why I particularly value comments from performers.

        • And I'll add by udate (to late to edit) that I do try to reply to at least some of the types of compositions posted that aren't in the categories I mentioned.  I think I'v had a decent record of replying in the past, though more recently I've been somewhat remiss.

      • I love your last paragraph, David.  Theory, form, orchestration -- all those things can be taught.  But the individual voice, the essence of creativity, cannot.  I think there are many valid avenues an artist can take to arrive at the excellence of his/her craft.  I do have a little formal education in music, and had some mentors in college and beyond, but most of what I know has come from a close study of the scores of the great composers.  And they set the standards before us, right?  Humans tend to want to formalize knowledge, analyze every aspect, and put everything in a theoretical box.  I understand the value of doing that, but I think it has the potential to inhibit the creative soul if the rules are followed too rigidly.  Whether we, as composers, are trying to conform to a natural order of things, or whether we make our own rules, seems to be a deep philosophical question that goes back at least to the Greeks.    

This reply was deleted.