I'd love any honest constructive feedback regarding this piano piece I composed yesterday. My goal is to make a living composing, overcoming obstacles of limited time/energy/finances/technology issues.

Regarding recording quality, please bear in mind that I don't have any DAW yet. I use my  MacBook Pro work laptop (Shhh!) and GarageBand to record and I'm not good at recording or the software yet.  I'm looking at learning Logic Pro X (via online tutorials) and saving up for my own computer to run that with samplers.  

Any positive criticism/advice regarding the composition itself, technology, quality for licensing professionally, etc. will be most appreciated. This is a recording made (after composing it in about 2 hours) in one take with no practice. Yes, practice and a re-recording are in order. :)

Just want to hear honest critique from fellow composers to gauge where my music lies on the quality spectrum and alongside fellow composer works.  Please do not hesitate to offer honest criticism for the purpose of my development as a composer and toward making my living in composing for film, TV, documentaries, webisodes, theatre, etc.

Thanks for listening: https://soundcloud.com/jenny-leigh-hodgins/karmic-thread

Karmic Thread - 1_3_15, 4.31 PM.m4a

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  • Thank you SO much for taking time to listen and provide feedback.  Yes, it is simple and intentionally so, due to not having time to practice piano anymore (hectic job) and as a general rule, my focus is more and more on simplicity.  I composed it as a thank you for a friend, and was behind schedule on coming through on that, so didn't dilly dally one minute once I started composing it.  Great questions.  It could be used as part of a longer piece, could be a great addition to my collection of piano solos for future publication, and I COULD work toward elaboration of it and/or it's themes with more orchestration.  However, due to practicality, I probably would rather first practice it to play it more fluently/expressively, then extend it as a piano piece.  It was not written for any film or video 'picture' in mind, however, I find that a lot of my pieces seem perfectly suited for visual of some kind.  That's why I'd like to get myself involved as a composer for film/TV, etc.  I've done only a few local indie films, though.

     This piece would be a great 'track' to start getting into licensing.  My basic plan is just to compose continuously and build a body of works for that purpose and beyond.  Currently, I'm finishing a collaboration for a kids' musical (vocals, lyrics, and music).   SO much to learn!

    Thank you again for listening and making me think about its' purpose! ^_^

  • Very beautiful. I bet you are pleased with it yourself. Or could you point out anything that you are not satisfied with in the composition itself? I listened to it twice and on both times I went like "wait, what was that... oh, I get it" on a few points in the track. And only once I didn't quite get it. I don't care to "get" everything, but when I don't get something, at its best it's about something excitingly new. Sometimes it's about missing a rule, not breaking it, and that's when it gets dull. I shall return to this piece when I have more time, listen to it once more and ask you about the one point I didn't quite get, because it was more of the dull experience than the uplifting thing.

    I've recently written a lot of songs, most of which I've been quite satisfied with in such a way that I kind of know the weak points in the songs and I might return to them and maybe fix them. But then again not. Even if someone else would point out something in them, I might leave them as they are, because they are good enough for me to love them. It's hard for me to explain, maybe it's like "I know some rules say this should be done like this and this, but this is how I like it". That's why I ask you how pleased you are yourself with the composition.

  • Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply. As I look at the piece with that in mind, I am pleased with the texture of it and the tone. I am not completely satisfied yet with the structure. I composed it pretty quickly, so I think now it is time to look at it from the perspective of form. I like your comment about "getting it" and I will be looking at the form from that angle. This really helps me make it better! So thank you so much!
  • Hi Jenny, I really enjoy short pieces like this. Playable, and with a purpose

    to each note. I love the chords and cadence, with a Rachmaninoff flavor.

    These pieces seem to sound even better 'late night' if you know what I mean,

    like a nocturne. A little polish and you've got a gem.

    Do you intend to post the score(PDF) ?         Roger

  • Hello,

    Very nice, did you write note for note before playing or are you improvising over a chart?

    I could see very well this piece as an intro to an orchestral development around the theme.

    And nice playing as far as I can hear.

  • Thank you Roger and filgood! Your comments really encouraged me! I have not yet put it into finale. I have it hand notated with pencil and paper. I composed it literally note by note as it came to me, so this was not an improvised piece. I do have the challenge of putting it into finale, having not used finale in over 10 years! But that's a good challenge and One that I need to get on as soon as possible! The quicker I can master finale, the more I can get posted and submitted elsewhere! I am also inspired by your comments to grow this piece with more orchestration! However, that is a whole 'nother area of study for me. I took one class of orchestration in college. I need to study it --& maybe this is a good practice piece to learn how to orchestrate something? Any tips welcome!
  • Jenny,

    I just listened to a few of your tracks on sound cloud.  I thought they were all lovely.  One thing that there will alway be a demand for is simple piano music.  Do you remember composition class at USF?  I was in it with you.  I think Hilton would be proud :)


  • Jenny...

    I am by no means a professional, but I think your piece was lovely.  Very simple and uncluttered.  You didn't try to make it more than it was.  Very easy to listen to.  Just a nice piece of music.

  • My impression on the first listen was that this piece had been improvised- I was surprised to read that you'd notated it from the outset.

    The advantage to music with an improvised feel (whether it is or not) is that it tends to flow.

    There's a demand for music of this type- incidental music for any number of purposes. I often hear music like this when I call a government office and am put on hold. Somebody is being paid to write it :^)

  • OMG! I am so encouraged by all of these wonderfully positive comments! Almost at a loss for words to respond! Which, if you know me, is an astounding predicament! I really appreciate getting this kind of feedback from fellow musicians particularly! I live surrounded by non-artists in my daily life, so this is so gratifying. As for the improvised feel, I don't know how that happened. LOL. Sometimes I do improvise and record as I play, but those pieces I don't usually have time to go back and notate. For this piece I literally sat at my baby grand piano with a pencil and paper-- initially inspired by Debussy's clair de lune--The tempo rubato section where he has a low E flat bass then both hands rising above it with beautiful chordal melodic 'echoes'. That music is particularly moving for me as it was my father's favorite piano piece, and I had to perform it at his memorial last January. So it inspired this piece somehow. ❤️ That is why I kept coming back to the low bass and then taking the melody to the higher treble ranges. Anyway, I hope you are right that I may be able to get this kind of music published and licensed for TV, film, documentary etc. that would be my dream job. On that note, does anyone know anything about getting into music licensing for a living?
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