New piece

I sometimes describe the stuff I write as "filmscore". Something you might hear in the background of a movie. Nothing "epic". Just something to help set the mood. Nothing that follows any formula (sonata, aabaca). Just what comes to me. I write for the fun of it. I can post a score, but you either like this or you don't. A score might only distract you because you will be looking for all the technical things you think I missed. This music will never be performed, so my scores reflect what I had to do to get Sibelus to play this, and nothing more. 

For this piece, I tried a few different things. Picture, if you will, that our heroes have just suffered a major defeat. As the camera pans out, we hear their theme, but we also see just how bad things are. We see individual situations. They are lucky to have survived at all. They begin to formulate a new plan. Starting with the bassoon solo, they each stand up and resolve to fight on. Their theme returns. They are back in full.

No title. just a random word so I could store the file.


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  • This would be fine as a sound track and actually will stand alone to my ear. It's not the typical 'epic' that we hear so much of but you do have a big finish here.  I don't hear defeat at the outset, it seems more contemplative, but the rise and return work as you say.  The ending of a single short (flute?) note seems out of place, maybe if it was held longer. Great sound for Sibelius playback.

  • Hi, Bob,

    I’m normally averse to film music but you set a scene and, yes, it does musicalise your description. I would have liked a little more variation in tonal centre but given the length of the piece that’s a small point.

    I sense the desolation and close to the end an affirmation.

    Great. A nice listen. I agree With Ingo about it making a stand alone piece although I’d have preferred it to be a little longer for that. As it is, it says what has to be said in accord with your description.


  • Thanks, so much, for listening and leaving a comment. Looks like several have listened and not seen fit to comment. I know there are some who don't think that they would have anything useful to add. And some who think this is outright junk. A simple " I enjoyed this" or "what on earth were you thinking" is absolutely OK.

    I have nothing to gain or loose by writing this. It is therapy for me. Oh, sometimes I use what I write in a small project. And I do consider what you all say. Often I will rework some things. Sometimes I  use bits and pieces in other pieces. Sometime I never visit a piece again. I always write the best I can, but I'm not out to write the next great symphony, or whatever. Writing an hour long piece has no interest for me. I change tonal centers sometimes, but that alone does not always interest me. Sometimes it is appropriate, sometimes not. To be honest I don't think I have enough imagination to write a 15 or 20 minute movement without falling back on a formula. Then it becomes more of an exorcise, and less creative. I know what to do and how to do it, I just don't want to. I have a rather expensive music education. I value it, but I am not interested in being a slave to it. Rule breaking is not me, either. I just want to write what fills my soul.

    I have managed to write a fugue. I love a good fugue. Is my fugue any good? I like it. Though it is a formula, and thus more of a Bucket List triumph than a creative one.

    Anyway, thank so much for taking the time to listen. Comments on my comments are very much welcome, too.

  • I agree that self-expression comes from the heart/soul. Where else? It gets modified by our inner secretaries usually for practical reasons – and outcomes because one of those outcomes is an attempt to classify it by genre. Labels are useful but only in the widest sense to me.

    I’ve recently been party to discussions on “new music” – contemporary “classical”, the schooling of which seems to be constructing tactics that deliberately avoid convention. We could discuss for ages what “convention” should be and how far we can deviate before it’s abandoned but you probably get what I mean. To me it questions the purpose of composition because without a common “language” between composer/performer and listener nothing can be communicated other than “sonic events are striking my eardrum”. Some listeners are happy with that but most want to get something deeper, some emotional, sensual maybe visceral response. Were new music composers happy to accept their works would mean nothing to listeners, so deriving their pleasure just from the process of constructing and composing? Where’s the heart in that? – Too many questions that would deviate this thread!

    All that aside, I’ve recently tried and failed to conform to conventional structures. Basically I haven’t liked the results and like you, have put work in for recycling. My second movement for a string suite (about which you commented – thank you for that) reverted to motif and through-composition. It was inspired by those hypnogogic images just preceding sleep. It was Locrian.  I was happy with it.

    So I think we’re closely on the same wavelength. I’m pleased when occasionally some work gets public exposure but beyond that I too have little to gain or lose. 

  • I posted this music in the "miscellaneous" section because I didn't want to limit responses. Why else have a composers forum if not to talk about music and what drives us to do this thing. 

    I am not opposed to form and structure. Everything I write is bound by Western traditions. I sit down to write and have some idea of what I want to do. But often after I get a few notes in, things take a left turn and I'm on some other path. That's the therapy for me. I get to let go and follow where the music leads. The piece here was a bit different because I had a story and a goal. 

    Indeed, of late the idea coming from contemporary composers is that tonal music is tired. Everything has been written and now is the time to trash it. Sure, music will evolve, but it is a very slow process. I believe that if changes are to survive, they must be subtle and constructive on one level, yet different enough to be enticing. Perhaps difficult at first for some ears. But not a jarring trashing of the system. 

    There are those who believe that we must push boundaries. If you aren't pushing boundaries, you're wasting your time. Maybe that's true. But I just want to write something that makes me happy. If others like it in some way, that's a bonus. 

  • Bob, Hi there....long time ay.  I know exactly what you mean when you state, having to write it so it will play as you intend it to sound. That is not always easy. I liked this piece. It was suspenseful, and entertaining. It did seem to tell a story.

    I would only 'suggest ' adding 4 notes at the end. C D E then A  rising, with a muted cymbal on the A that fades out into the night(so to speak)   Possible title  eh, how 'bout The Phoenix?       Happy Harmonies,   RS

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