Some members might remember this. It was offered for a competition here c 3 years ago when I was a newcomwer- won nothing, not even a few marks for orchestration but perhaps giving it a separate airing might give it a chance. It was called The Sun Machine at the time.

Maybe it was because it used a Haitian folk tune. I had this idea of a little train ride from Port au Prince to Jacmel but the max duration had to be 3 minutes. Of course such a ride would take a lot longer and Haiti has no railways but I loved the tune.

It's written for a chanber orchestra, one of several tropical pieces in lighter vein, far different from the modern stuff I usually write. The score was prepared this year.

Comments are always gratefully received but as this is fairly trivial I'd understand it it passes without comment.

The Sun Machine 280821 256.mp3

01 - The Sun Machine - 2022 VDR.pdf

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  • A Haitian folk tune filtered through Sun Ra I think!  Ki pi ekselan ak satisfè; that's Haitian for 'most excellent and satisfying'.  And the score is quite clear and well done, Strepitoso indeed!  Bravo, let's hear more (who needs a railway anyway)

    • Ha!

      Bonjou Ingo. Mèsi anpil !

      About the railways - quite. I don't use them. They'll be on strike here in two weeks' time. I prefer driving - which reminds me to pop into the bank to get a mortgage to fill the tank. Oh dear!!

      I remember a little Haitian from the time I had to go there with/for my employer, a bank. Not much though. Ended up speaking more French than Kreyol.not that I'm any good at either.

  • I'm allergic to the excess of snare, cymbals and the like earlier on which actually detract from this often very witty and cleverly written little piece but I know perfectly well that's only personal preference (for me cymbals and the harp are perhaps the two most over-used and abused instruments in orchestral works). Overall well worth reviving, I would say.

    • Understand. We all have our likes and dislikes. I'm averse to key- and time-signatures. I think the DAW grid is based on 4/4 but never use bar lines otherwise.

      I tend to think the violins are the most overused. All instruments are equal, a source of timbre to me, anyway..

  • First time I listened to a Hatian folk tune. The melody figure in certain parts is unfamilar to my ear, but I do like the rhythm. Regarding the use of cymbals, is that a usual gesture in Hatian folk tune? Really liked how the music ends.


    • Hi Sam,

      Many thanks for giving it a hearing! It's actually a pretty popular tune but I put it through a few variations. The cymbals were the nearest thing i could get to the 'hiss' of a little steam locomotive! Just at a tangent of course. Ordinarily I wouldn't go for imitative sounds but this is light music and there was a time limit to run it up, so that's my excuse.

      I wove that same tune briefly into a wind quartet, just as tonal but rhythmically more complex. Rhythms in the Antilles/Caribbean can get quite complicated. No hope of me imitating them other than weakly.


  • Hi Dane,

    It has been some time  you have last appeared here.  Busy? writing?  Your work is superb.  I will not comment on its many excellent attributes.

    I liked specifically how you controlled stepwise vs jump melodic movement.

    It is exceptionally good.

    One last but  important point: A work like this uses a schema previously' and frequently used.  It is like opening a frenchize if I may.  My teacher has warned me many times this semestre 'Ali you are always doing things on or around the medium, use FFF use PPP use them just after each other etc...'  He also warned 'once your music appears it should shock the listener at that moment'.

    Maybe it applies to your works also... 

    All the best.


    Note: By the way he has a collection of international awrds etc... My age...  I  confess, I am jealous.


    • Hi, Ali,

      Nice to say hello again. And thank you for listening and your generous comment. Alas, though, as I explained, the basics of the tune aren't mine but a folk song put through my mincing machine! to get some variations. Your teacher is reminiscent of Stockhausen who claimed he'd listen to music that astonished him (or something like that.)

      Yes, it's been busy here getting back into old routines, commitments, that I could avoid during the lockdown. Not to forget a couple of hours practice a day in the hope to play again. I've been trying to improve on the viola so I can get called in  as a "stand-by" to another orchestra nearby when things resume. The town orchestra hasn't fully reformed and I was trying to write a few bits and pieces for the few who have returned. A bit of a task transcribing it to notation software.

      As for composing, aagain it's getting enough time uninterrupted to get something going, even roughing it out on paper. There's never a day entirely free - always something scheduled and if there's anything I find hard it's knowing I have only a limtied time to work in. It's ok with more trivial stuff but not those 'personal compositions'. But I do have something almost ready. 

      So, again, thank you - wishing you all the best and hope to encounter more of your work. How are you progressing with...Finale, was it?

      • Hi Dane,

        Finale is a concern...  It has a terrible user interface, such that you have to be an 'expert' of it to use reliably.

        I found out that MuseSCORE has an excellent userinterface very easy to use and get used to...  

         But, MuseSCORE is a notation software to write scores...  It misses many specialties which Finale has, although very cumbersome in case of Finale...  For example, Finale can perform octava commands even Spiccato as it should sound, which MuseSCORE does not have (yet).

        DECISION:  I will continue to use Finale which also has builtin Garritan...

        I finished ......(or was let to finish) a very small Clarinet - Bassoon piece.  I will try to perform it with Finale and post it here.  Hopefully sometime before mid July.

        Best of wishes to you for 'your' own piece.



        • Most 3rd party libraries are designed for playing live or at least in a DAW. It thus makes sense, particularly for the more sophisticated ones, to choose a notation software with DAW features and in this respect, Dorico is hands down the best. It also deals with layout automatically so for average notation, there's no need to adjust anything much. Finale is most suitable for absolute flexibility and control over the finest points of notation and engraving. I'm not aware it has much else going for it as the countless number of people who switched from Finale to Dorico will testify.


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