I wrote this piece yesterday and have been working obsessively on it. Tell me what you think and what elements in my compositional style I could improve on. I'm comfortable with tough criticism, I plan on having a run through on it with the community orchestra near my college in a week or two.


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  • for some reason the compression on the file is completely messed up. it makes it very hard to make any sense of the music itself.
  • Hmm, here is my soundcloud of it. http://soundcloud.com/william-randal-bowers/sketch-on-a-summer-day
  • Could you post a pdf of the score as well?
  • Of course!

    August- Sketch On A Summer Dream.pdf

  • I would echo what Mr. Vario has said. There is a real tendency. when using the full orchestration, to have too much density in the harmony.  It is almost as if there is noshift between  consonant and dominant harmonies. Try lightening up the thickness a bit or spread out the string voicings.  I believe that would open it up a bit.  Take a look at some Aron Copland and check out his use of open voicings, particullary in "Appalacian Spring".
  • From a compositional stand point, I think it's quite good.  The problems I have with it however all involve the orchestration.  First, I would agree with what has already been stated, wider intervals and lighter harmonies would give it more of that "dream feel" that you seem to be going for.  The other problem comes from viewing it as a player would.  If I'm playing Violin 1, Cello, or Bass, I'm going to be bored from playing harmonies and long tones through the whole piece.  If I'm playing Clarinet or Violin 2, I'm going to get tired of all those 16th notes repeating over and over again.  I would consider taking that constant line of 16ths and trading it around the ensemble, overlap it with other voices, even change it up rhythmically so it's not just constant 16ths throughout.


    One final suggestion would be to consider greater use of color.  String orchestras have all kinds of potential of playing with different colors and timber.  Try playing around with some harmonics, sul tasto, or mutes.  You'd be surprised so see how much more the piece comes to life.

  • Thank you for all the comments and suggestions, I'll come by with some revisions next week. Thanks!
  • William,

    Nice, but I would avoid the dominant 7th chords.  Clear it up a bit by opening up the voicings and change the harmonic structure (slightly) but not enough to change the static fell of the piece.

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