So, I started some buzz in the chatroom today about possibly, POSSIBLY having this site be the host for a friendly competition amongst us composers. A few of us started talking, and we felt that it would be good for this site to have at least one.

We're going to need the attention and support of most, if not all, active members in order for this to work. This thread will be the site for any and all discussions pertaining to the formation of Composers' Forum's first competition, including rules (guidelines, restrictions, etc.), prizes, criteria for judging, and so on.

So far, with the limited input we have received as of the posting of this thread, we have decided on a number of things (all of which are still open to discussion):

  • There will be a theme that all participants must either adhere to or risk disqualification.
  • All participants must write for a common ensemble (i.e. male/female vocals with piano accompaniment) with no more than 1-2 performers.
  • Live recordings are not a requirement for participation.

Remember that this proposition is all for the benefit of the forum and all of its members.

The floor is now open. Voice your suggestions below! : D

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  • "There will be a theme that all participants must either adhere to or risk disqualification."


    meaning a musical theme to be used or a general idea behind the pieces? I suppose the latter.

    Also, a trio or a quarteto should also be allowed, it still is small.

    And there could be some limit regarding duration or movements of the piece. 

  • I'm generally in favor of the idea, though I don't see how you can do a non-live recording of vocals. I would suggest having a few categories, although I could see that trying to do so might balloon into something unmanageable

  • I've seen it said that it is harder to write a good short story than a good novel. Perhaps a very short limit on the duration might be interesting (1 minute?).

  • I like the idea. It would be fun to impose some short of "power composing", let participants have a very short time, say 1 or 2 weeks to present something short (1 minute? 2?) for a specific medium each time, even crazy combos. 

    Maybe do that on a given theme, harmony or whatever. Just for the fun of it :D We are a composing forum after all, it makes sense to have composer oriented forum games xD

    Gav Brown said:

    I've seen it said that it is harder to write a good short story than a good novel. Perhaps a very short limit on the duration might be interesting (1 minute?).

    Opening the Floor for Suggestions on a Forum-wide Competition
    So, I started some buzz in the chatroom today about possibly, POSSIBLY having this site be the host for a friendly competition amongst us composers.…
  • Make the brief short and specific.

    I think a very good idea would be to set a poem for voice and piano or small ensemble. It would be fascinating to have half a dozen interpretations of the same poem.

    How would it be marked? - I would say the most democratic way would be to have the members vote - a poll can easily be done.

    The prize could be for the composer to be featured on the front page for a month - or they could feature in the forum's first ever podcast (another idea that has yet to get off the ground).

  • Maybe the winner can get to select the next theme of the composition. but not be allowed to participate with the chance to win (he can still offer his entry). This is for obvious reasons.

    But I dont like the idea of voice and piano. I strongly believe that not using words offers much more ways of expression, it is where a composer can trully sine, and a song that is not sung by people is...well not a song. A piano or small ensemble piece can be judged by a DAW rendition.

    And how much time will be available to people?

  • "The prize could be for the composer to be featured on the front page for a month - or they could feature in the forum's first ever podcast (another idea that has yet to get off the ground)."- Adrian Allan

    "Maybe the winner can get to select the next theme of the composition. but not be allowed to participate with the chance to win (he can still offer his entry). This is for obvious reasons."- SpyrusTheVirus(Spiros Makris)

    I'm happy to see that people are thinking. :)

    Personally, I think the idea of everybody using a common libretto as the theme is an excellent idea. There's plenty of English poetry or short stories that we could use. I haven't considered that.

    Me and Tyler Hughes were thinking along the same lines, Adrian. The winner should have the spotlight shone on them somehow. If we could get it arranged, I think the winner should have their work get some front page love. Even further, Tyler liked the idea of getting a live recording of the composition as first prize, which would mean that we have to get musicians to go along with the idea.

    Spyrus, that's also a pretty good idea. This way, there will be a springboard for future competitions if we go down this route.

  • I offered this in the chat when we discussed this. 

    I said we should offer a live recording done by any member on this forum who is willing to perform and record the winning piece. I would limit it to solos unless someone here is going to offer the services of their ensemble as well. 

    The rules can be: 

    • Has to be a solo work or solo and piano accompaniment if available.
    • Has to be of moderate difficulty.
    • And must be notated. Seeing that the prize is a live recording sheet music might be needed. 

    The submissions can be submitted anonymously to avoid favoritism. We can make a thread in where all the submissions are placed and allow every one hear and comment on the pieces themselves, but the final decision will be made by the judges, whom ever we get to judge. 

  • Getting an unbiased set of judges who can all be trusted to come to the right judgement is a task in itself - which is why I recommended everybody on the forum being allowed one vote - we did that when we chose the banner a couple of years ago.

    The anonymous submissions is an excellent idea to avoid bias. Obviously somebody who is not competing needs to be the collector and re-poster of the submissions.

    A recording as a prize is also an excellent idea - I'm sure there are enough contacts here to play and perform on piano at least. If you open this up to guitar as well as piano I could record the guitar part.

    The sticking point for one poster here was the the format - however I think that a song IS a good starting point. It is a basic test of musical ability to set words to music that all composers should have an ability in. Twelve different interpretations of a poem would also be fascinating to compare. We could also follow the instrumental line from the score or from just the words themselves.

    It doesn't need to be properly sung to be judged I would argue - I know a good song when I play it on the piano.Following a vocal line played by a VST violin would be fine for judgement purposes.

    There may be people who feel left out because they are the VST type of composers who work from a sequencer and never a score. For them, the quality of the recording IS the end product.

    So we could have a virtual instrument competition next time.

  • If a vocal line has piano accompaniment it will be judged by the vocal line and the inventiveness and interest in the piano part.

    I don't think anybody had in mind just a vocal line on its own.

    Yes it is the 21st century and yes, the art of score writing has not been eclipsed by VSTs and sequencing - they are two different manifestations of a broader art form - let them both live side by side.

    If you have a comepition for waterpainting, it should be just that. It's not being old fashioned or backward thinking to not allow video art into the same competition.

    The idea of developing a melodic idea is another good idea for a competition. It could be the first or the second competition. But I also think that a song setting with piano is also a good idea.

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