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Dilemma. Some years back I wrote a prelude for a local movie club. The midi files were scrapped with the Xp computer and the score is lost.

Recently I tried recreating it using Reaper and up-to-date VSL samples. The harmony isn’t difficult and it’s as close as need be.

But the new version sounds heavier and thicker than the original for more reasons than reverb. Obviously that’s down to me and I’d have to work on it if at all. It may mean getting at the samples themselves (which the player allows).

The piece was to accompany a clip of a teenager walking into town. It had to be light in keeping with the character – blond, wears white clothes and stuff, hence using a cello rather than a bass for the pizz accompaniment and the tune fairly high on the stave.

A small chamber orchestra: strings, flute, oboe, clarinet.

I’ve posted both original and new versions. Comments would be truly appreciated particularly if some listeners could spare the time to listen to both and say which they prefer. The duration is about 1’40”.

Many thanks.

Dane.

The first file is the new one. I confess preferring the old one. Turns out those old samples weren't so shabby after all.

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Hi Dane,

I certainly would NOT say that your sense of form needs "dusting off the cobwebs"! Just that that side of your musical thinking comes out more clearly in the tonal works I've heard from you so far.

And I totally agree with you re: the expressive possibilities of more chromatic idioms. Indeed, that has been what attracted me so strongly to the "outer limits of tonality" as I call it. My own return to tonality is largely motivated by the pandemic, as a sort of reaction against marginal or borderline frames of mind, conspiratorial thinking and the whole load of insanity that surrounds us these days. Somehow it feels inappropriate, now, to indulge in exploring the shadowy corners of the soul that lean toward chaos and despair. Plus, I've been inspired by folks here and elsewhere who are writing very original music in traditional idioms, such as Gerd, Saul, Kjell, (apologies to anyone I'm leaving out!), H. S., Gregorio, and now you.

BTW, Dane, I listened to your "fake Mozart" piece and while charming, I have to wonder what NotePerformer and notation software would make of the score, if there is one. Somehow the timbres sounded oddly "synthetic", and the attacks on each note suffered from the same issues I heard in the more recent version of your Peggy's Boy. Agree that there seem to be some issues with clarity of texture as well. I wonder which sample libraries you were using for this?

Best wishes!

Hi ya, Liz

And thank you again for your response. I'm flattered really as I know too little of classical form. I recall Sonata Form from school and how it works, otherwise Fugue is the only other structure I understand. 

I really can't remember how I messed up that fake Mozart but the original being fairly dry (hardly any reverb) and I probably tried to add more which was a silly thing to do. I kept a few of those old efforts now in the archives!

I may have to take a rest though. My latest atonal thing has been so frustrating, tiring...In the time I wrote that minuet I got about two bars of the new work done. 

Those old samples were bought dead cheap as CDs of Wavs: Seidlaczek's Advanced Orchestra. Advanced? Well it was in its day. The samples had to be lifted out and worked upon. They were sampled at intervals of a minor 3rd which seemed ok at the time. They came from early days of sampling machines before these things ever got to computers and the era of "giga-sampling" needing 2 computers. They were a start! Taught me a fair bit about sample editing and Audacity.

Anyway...thanks again,

all the best,

Dane.

Liz Atems said:

Hi Dane,

I certainly would NOT say that your sense of form needs "dusting off the cobwebs"! Just that that side of your musical thinking comes out more clearly in the tonal works I've heard from you so far.

And I totally agree with you re: the expressive possibilities of more chromatic idioms. Indeed, that has been what attracted me so strongly to the "outer limits of tonality" as I call it. My own return to tonality is largely motivated by the pandemic, as a sort of reaction against marginal or borderline frames of mind, conspiratorial thinking and the whole load of insanity that surrounds us these days. Somehow it feels inappropriate, now, to indulge in exploring the shadowy corners of the soul that lean toward chaos and despair. Plus, I've been inspired by folks here and elsewhere who are writing very original music in traditional idioms, such as Gerd, Saul, Kjell, (apologies to anyone I'm leaving out!), H. S., Gregorio, and now you.

BTW, Dane, I listened to your "fake Mozart" piece and while charming, I have to wonder what NotePerformer and notation software would make of the score, if there is one. Somehow the timbres sounded oddly "synthetic", and the attacks on each note suffered from the same issues I heard in the more recent version of your Peggy's Boy. Agree that there seem to be some issues with clarity of texture as well. I wonder which sample libraries you were using for this?

Best wishes!

Hi Dane,

I wasn't talking so much about "classical form" as just that sense that a piece is shaped in a way that works, that coheres and makes sense musically. I don't think one needs to have a strong theory background to know how to structure a piece, one can probably absorb that through listening and study of other composers' music. And I think sonata form comes from something so basic to western music (the tripartite song form) that many people unconsciously shape their larger compositions in a way that bears some relation to sonata form. I hear a remnant of it in my Fugal Variations, very hard to get away from it. The first traditional symphony first movement I ever heard (not talking about Webern here ;)) that bears no relation to sonata form was Nielsen's 6th (the 5th is very UNtraditional). Then there's Holmboe's 9th, a rather similar structure. I think it's a very hard thing to do well. But I digress (it's late).

Ok about the sample library... sounds like it was something from days past and not what would be considered professional quality today, like the VSL and such. That makes sense, then, and perhaps explains why it sounds the way it does.

Hi Dane - On the subject of tonal and CPP composition I'd like to offer two resources which may be helpful.  Most of us probably know most of this stuff but these are good (cheap) references.  And if not then please advise!

Here's a theory guide from basic notation through voice leading, counterpoint, harmony, classical forms and post tonal music as well.

http://openmusictheory.com/contents.html

And here listed are the many rules of voice leading.

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Hi Dane,

I prefer the second one. It only took me a few seconds of listening to the first one to say this - too heavy, but more importantly, some essential quality in the second one did not feel present in the first one. A nice, light airy pop tune in traditional orchestral clothes - 

Gav

Hey, Ingo,

Many thanks for that. I can always do with revision. I used to know the rules having been put straight into the "music set" in my second year at secondary school - they thought I'd do better at that than the alternative: ancient Greek!

So I'll have a look through. Can't promise to follow them all!

Cheers,

Dane

Ingo Lee said:

Hi Dane - On the subject of tonal and CPP composition I'd like to offer two resources which may be helpful.  Most of us probably know most of this stuff but these are good (cheap) references.  And if not then please advise!

Here's a theory guide from basic notation through voice leading, counterpoint, harmony, classical forms and post tonal music as well.

http://openmusictheory.com/contents.html

And here listed are the many rules of voice leading.

Thank you, Gavin.

I've been persuaded now. No doubt I could make something more appropriate of the VSL samples - the player allows such things, but it also shows that (having put in the work) even those very old samples came up with the goods. It's the 3rd piece I've submitted here using them. Only problem is that I haven't learned yet how to do program changes in Reaper so each articulation has to have its own track. Not too bad as I can edit the lot in a single midi edit window.

Bests,

Dane.



Gav Brown said:

Hi Dane,

I prefer the second one. It only took me a few seconds of listening to the first one to say this - too heavy, but more importantly, some essential quality in the second one did not feel present in the first one. A nice, light airy pop tune in traditional orchestral clothes - 

Gav

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