This piece was inspired by a walk past a park in town one summer night with entertainment activities just closing down. The first ideas were done in coloured pastels.

It was also tangentially set off by a post from another member, Andrew Gleibman, who posted a topic titled “Music Polyminiatures”

While this work doesn’t fit with his ideas in full it has similar properties: it’s quite short; no tune beyond a few motifs; through composed and relies on contrasts in the tessitura/registers of instrumental groups; sustained veils of sound punctuated by rhythmical outbursts usually brass; the time signature is arbitrary.  Texture is generally thin.

If I were to submit it to our BBC I’d rationalise the score a little. (Not that I think I’d stand a chance now the BBC has gone woke but things may change.) I can't imagine our County Orchestra playing it - but it's the way my music is going. 

One problem with the engraving is that this wretched notation software can’t “change voice” with a tuplet without making a right mess. So there are points in the brass with 2 voices on the same staff in triplets that I’ve left as chords rather than tails-up/tails-down. I’ll deal with that later. Also I set out with two trombones but in earlier bars wrote for 3. Something else to sort out. 


Critique is always appreciated and gratefully received, good or bad. Many thanks if you've listened to even part of it. 

Original taken on Ektachrome 160


Mus Orch XX mp3 160 211222.mp3

It starts fairly quietly so please keep the volume down.

Two versions of the score, the lower one has unused staves removed after P1. 

01 - Music for Orchestra XX 301222rv1.pdf

01 - Music for Orchestra XX used staves 301222.pdf

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    presumably by Woke, you mean that the BBC not only will only play atonal music which few want to listen to but also that it must be written by a black, female or trans person -- preferably all three in one?

    Excuse the cynicism; although I struggled initially with your piece, the textures began to grow on me and the final pages are ravishing. Some of your work is more easily assimilated for me than others but I do think you have an individual voice which commends respect (far from invariably the case)

    • Hahahahaha...yes, the BBC with its positive discrimination recruitment policy. Currently, the BBC regards atonal music as music you have to write/play to atone for being pro-British, anti-immigration, anti LGBQWERTY....

      Thank you indeed for your kind comments and giving the piece a listen, difficult as it may have been. It was a departure from my previous stuff. I can write tunes and tonal harmony (especially when drunk!). I've posted a few here though they always turn out like light music. My writing of Mozart's No 42, first movement, didn't go down well. Shame. I liked that one so maybe my accompanying note put everyone off ! 

      I'm fine listening to tonal music in formal structures but don't really want to write it myself too much. 

      So once again, many thanks and pleased at least some of it made sense.


      • I am tempted to say you should get drunk more often but no, that would be unfair. Although my own taste tends to the late romantic (not a Mozart clone), I do get along with some atonal music --particularly Ligeti-- and am always willing to try new things out. My only real criterion is that the music must express something and not be purely academic. And yours certainly fulfils that criteria

        • Many thanks. Yes, there's always something being said in my stuff that words can't. But you raise an interesting point. I suspect I was fired up to music by the late Romantics. One of the first was Bax's 3rd Symphony but it broadened well beyond just the British. As a back-burner project I've been trying to re-create a little piece I wrote as a memento...crikey, it must be nigh 20 years ago now. The score is lost, so is the midi so it's about reconstructing by ear.

          If you've time, here it is but the sound is poor, samples nearer their infancy, the mixing rough but it can't be other than Romantic! A kind of portrait of someone I knew. It goes on for about 2 minutes.

          Peggy-a proj.mp3

  • Hi Dane,

    I listened and sightread your work five times on seperate days.  Here are my impressions and what I learned from it:

    1-It is a slow piece although many fast short passages... It increases the sense of calmness.

    2-There appears to be a melody sometimes but it looks asif it is all the same.

    3-There are places meter can be sensed but there are also places not.  There appears to be not conscious manipulation.

    4-Rhythmic contrast between fast and static short sections are dominated by static sections.

    5-Fast rhythmic sections use more dissonance and appear more toneless than static slow sections which have somewhat tonal colors like in trompetes.

    6-An instrument to make post atonal music - fast rhytm vs static pseudo tonal chords

    7-The piece succeeds to build up and convey a single unifying feeling.  But misses the ample possibilites to build up a more structured and powerful affect.


    Thank you for making me to think and  having taught me so much.

    Glamorous work!




    • Hi Ali,

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, especially for listening and your observations which do seem to be right on the mark. Much appreciated. Yes, there are melodic fragments but they're never developed. It's a departure from pieces I was writing a year ago - at least, the thinking behind it is. I've been spending time on some other work and the break has done good. I was getting repetitive.

      Scoring wasn't difficult as it emerged orchestrally but writing it gave some problems. I think the thin texture and sustains make listening easier as there's more time to anchor on to 'events' - but that's just my view. Others may feel differently.

      I am flattered indeed by your closing line. I can teach you nothing of substance. You are miles more eclectic and methodical than me! If anything, it's two way. I've learned a great deal listening to/studying your work, some of which stays in my mind. Your choral writing... That's one of the values of this forum - we can learn from each other, a point Ingo has made several times.

      So, all the best and thanks again,


  • Tonal and lyrical work here Dane, less of the brilliant flashes of color that some of your other pieces have. This leans more to the cinematic style you've done some of I think, very film noir and glamorous as Ali says.

    The contra bass clarinet is gorgeous, we must have more of this, a concerto perhaps?

    You mentioned before getting involved with analog electronica I believe? Are you still pursuing that?

    • Hi, Ingo,

      Well, those are nice things to say and thank you for that, and for listening. Hope it wasn't too much of a tribulation! But i've always been encouraged by what you have to say. Not a surprise that it seems cinematic as the inspiration was visual - perhaps time I got a camera useable for such moments - portable and with enough battery to keep going for, say, 15 minutes. My camera does take movies in a rather primitive way, 25 or 30 fps but isn't sensitive enough for night shots and can't autofocus below a certain light level. Ha! Yes, I could manually focus but too much manual would probably detract from catching the atmosphere.

      Yes, I'm still much involved with electronics and that's given me the break I needed to move on from previous 'acoustic' work. I also had to take a break from that on the coldest days. My workroom is in an annexe which is quite cold right now so I don't want to spend too much on heating. It's just development work really. For example, there's a "voice on a chip" chip (the AS3394) which has a Voltage Contolled oscillator, filter and amplifier - well, altogether 5 v.c.amplifiers, the last two being mixers with voltage controlled panning. It doesn't have an envelope shaper - understandable as the chip has 24 pins so it would get too big with the envelope added in. These functions can be separately controlled but the control voltages aren't the former standard so they have to be scaled down and surrounded by protection in case a control voltage gets out of range.

      Another gadget is a Hall Effect volume pedal. Sorry if you already know this: standard volume pedals contain a variable resistor worked by a rack joined to the treadle piece that works a pinion around the resistor. To me, that's a bit crude in that the resistor will wear out all too soon and start crackling. So I've glued a little bar magnet under the treadle that raises or lowers onto a linear magnet-sensitive chip passing the output into an electronic attenuator. Not wonderfully accurate but no worse than those standard volume controls!

      So I'm getting there. Probably about the middle of the year to get set up enough actually to compose things. I need a good sustainer, one on which I can soften the attack - I think I've found a good schematic so again, more experiment. I reckon the first music from this lot won't be far removed from this piece here.

      So, thanks again, Ingo - and likewise I'm looking forward to listening to your latest work as and when?!



      • Fascinating possibilities on the electronica front Dane, thank you for giving us a peek at your works in progress. Looking forward to what you do with that. The artificial sound world is so full of possibilities it intimidates me, I wouldn't know where to start.  But yes I have a volume pedal in the closet somewhere, along with other discarded toys.  Use of that implies live performance, how would you record that?

        Great that you own and use a camera, most of us (not me) have our noses in some form of phone, usually texting away with Aunt Hilda, not always a bad thing of course, but . . . . I did enjoy your photo above and I'm happy that you share with us here, anything you explain or show us is very welcome.

        I'm always working on something, getting anything finished is another matter, thanks for the encouragement!


        • Hah! It intimidates me at times too. At the hands on level it's unnerving to switch on a new circuit with the hope it'll work AND meet expectations!

          Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately, I don't have a smart phone. I was shown the photographic possibilities of one of these gadgets and 'pon my soul, they really have come on. It even had manual controls over shutter speed, I can't remember if aperture so they're well past the snapshot Brownie 127 stage! Maybe I'll get one one day. I doubt they're capable of everything a camera can do, though, like focus pulling to bring a subject in focus gradually; differential focus and so on.

          You're kind to me and it's always appreciated. I'm never sure if I do explain things properly or even if I should at all. I learn a great deal from others here, their experiments and projects, theoretical points and how they translate to the practical; the sounds they create.


          Bests, Dane.  

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