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Very short piece for viola and cello.  Looking for critique, please.

https://soundcloud.com/charley-hankins/tender-toes 

Thanks,

Charley

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Hi Charley,

I like it. Short and sweet!

Thanks for posting!

Gav

Thanks for sharing, Charley. I like it, too.

Here's some things to at least consider about the production. I'm not a big fan of too much reverb. I say that in this case because, to me, half the charm of well recorded string patches is that you hear bow noise as it is drawn across the strings, especially when the bow changes direction. I actually thought the viola was a saxophone for the first few notes. On my system, your viola did not have what I feel is a warm viola sound. Could just be me. The phrasing you used with the viola  towards the end didn't seem very clean. 

Musically this is really very charming, enjoyable, and lyrical. Are you a string player?

wow!  That would be very nice!  I will try to get you a score over the weekend.  Thanks!

CH

Thanks so much for the comments, Bob!  I will work on trying to warm up the viola via some eq.  Maybe I'll back off the reverb a bit as well.  If you could expand on the end phrase I would be all ears.  Thanks!  
Charley



Bob Porter said:

Thanks for sharing, Charley. I like it, too.

Here's some things to at least consider about the production. I'm not a big fan of too much reverb. I say that in this case because, to me, half the charm of well recorded string patches is that you hear bow noise as it is drawn across the strings, especially when the bow changes direction. I actually thought the viola was a saxophone for the first few notes. On my system, your viola did not have what I feel is a warm viola sound. Could just be me. The phrasing you used with the viola  towards the end didn't seem very clean. 

Musically this is really very charming, enjoyable, and lyrical. Are you a string player?

Good on you, Charley. A live performance. 

Phrasing will be up to the player, to some extent, but for your recording, if you can post a score or an xml or midi, maybe some phrasing ideas can be added. Some of the notes seemed to run over each other.

Thanks so much everyone!  What a wonderful group this is!

I enjoyed this very much Charley--with kudos to Emily for offering the live performance.

Way to go one and all:)

Thanks so much for posting!

Thanks Bob

https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

Emily, Hi!  Here are the scores for viola and cello.  I would happily transpose it if you would like a different key.

Thanks so much!

Charley

Tender%20Toes%20Viola.pdf

Tender%20Toes%20Cello.pdf

Charley Hankins said:

wow!  That would be very nice!  I will try to get you a score over the weekend.  Thanks!

CH

Oh wow!  I just watched your video!  You guys are great!

Emily F. Singleton said:

Great! We will be rehearsing on the 20th and again on the 24th.

Charley Hankins said:

wow!  That would be very nice!  I will try to get you a score over the weekend.  Thanks!

CH

Thanks so much for your constructive criticism, Dexter.  I am fairly new to writing string parts, so I definitely appreciate the information.  I'll do a little rework on it.  Thanks!

Charley



Dave Dexter said:

If you don't mind some feedback/suggestions (and it's too late, because I'm writing this anyway!) With the caveat that Emily might have her own preferred methods superceding such suggestions.

In my experience, small ensembles prefer scores with all parts as it allows them to sync better and be aware of what the other players are doing, or about to. I attached a few bars from a string quartet session. This score has other issues I could now fix, but that's a different field.

I'm assuming the parts have no additional information like dynamics, articulations, bowing because it's not something you're familiar with? Rather than a deliberate decision to create a blank slate? Judging by the video, Emily and her cellist could certainly interpret the raw notation into something musical, but from the sound of your mockup you're after a lyrical flowing feel. To generalise, that means judicious use of bow markings (slurs) indicating the notes are to be played as a single bow stroke, blending them into a legato line. You can see this in b7-8 of my attached excerpt. Or maybe some of the cello phrases could be played pizzicato, plucked with the strings? So many possibilities. You don't have to cram every possible technique in, and shouldn't, but just by changing a couple of notes here and there the texture of the piece will become more nuanced and it's worth experimenting when the possibility arises.

As Bob Porter said, the musician really controls how their part is played and their expertise is often best acceded to. But a few ideas that shape the piece can't hurt, even if you get them a little wrong. The intent will still be communicated. I've seen established classical works in rehearsal and even those scores get changed on the fly by the conductor and section leaders.

At the very least, the dynamic needs to be added. Is it soft, loud, somewhere in between? There's a definite crescendo from a quieter moment in b22-23 in your mockup, is that something you want in the irl piece?

Viola should be written on an alto clef, see my score again. You go out of range in the viola part - b18. Lowest note is C and you're down to G#. Pay attention to those last few bars - transposing would solve it without requiring rewrites.

Charley Hankins said:

Emily, Hi!  Here are the scores for viola and cello.  I would happily transpose it if you would like a different key.

Thanks so much!

Charley

Tender%20Toes%20Viola.pdf

Tender%20Toes%20Cello.pdf

Charley Hankins said:

wow!  That would be very nice!  I will try to get you a score over the weekend.  Thanks!

CH

Dave,

Thanks again for the help.  Please have a look at this score and let me know your thoughts.

Tender%20Toes%20Score.pdf

Thanks,

Charley



Charley Hankins said:

Thanks so much for your constructive criticism, Dexter.  I am fairly new to writing string parts, so I definitely appreciate the information.  I'll do a little rework on it.  Thanks!

Charley



Dave Dexter said:

If you don't mind some feedback/suggestions (and it's too late, because I'm writing this anyway!) With the caveat that Emily might have her own preferred methods superceding such suggestions.

In my experience, small ensembles prefer scores with all parts as it allows them to sync better and be aware of what the other players are doing, or about to. I attached a few bars from a string quartet session. This score has other issues I could now fix, but that's a different field.

I'm assuming the parts have no additional information like dynamics, articulations, bowing because it's not something you're familiar with? Rather than a deliberate decision to create a blank slate? Judging by the video, Emily and her cellist could certainly interpret the raw notation into something musical, but from the sound of your mockup you're after a lyrical flowing feel. To generalise, that means judicious use of bow markings (slurs) indicating the notes are to be played as a single bow stroke, blending them into a legato line. You can see this in b7-8 of my attached excerpt. Or maybe some of the cello phrases could be played pizzicato, plucked with the strings? So many possibilities. You don't have to cram every possible technique in, and shouldn't, but just by changing a couple of notes here and there the texture of the piece will become more nuanced and it's worth experimenting when the possibility arises.

As Bob Porter said, the musician really controls how their part is played and their expertise is often best acceded to. But a few ideas that shape the piece can't hurt, even if you get them a little wrong. The intent will still be communicated. I've seen established classical works in rehearsal and even those scores get changed on the fly by the conductor and section leaders.

At the very least, the dynamic needs to be added. Is it soft, loud, somewhere in between? There's a definite crescendo from a quieter moment in b22-23 in your mockup, is that something you want in the irl piece?

Viola should be written on an alto clef, see my score again. You go out of range in the viola part - b18. Lowest note is C and you're down to G#. Pay attention to those last few bars - transposing would solve it without requiring rewrites.

Charley Hankins said:

Emily, Hi!  Here are the scores for viola and cello.  I would happily transpose it if you would like a different key.

Thanks so much!

Charley

Tender%20Toes%20Viola.pdf

Tender%20Toes%20Cello.pdf

Charley Hankins said:

wow!  That would be very nice!  I will try to get you a score over the weekend.  Thanks!

CH

I agree with everything Dave said, except, the low G# is fine.  It's well within the range of the viola.  (Dave, he wrote in treble clef, it will be fine when he changes the clef to alto.)

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