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H. S. Teoh's Blog (10)

Mahler 4

This morning I decided to sit through a performance of Mahler's 4th symphony on youtube... in the hopes of expanding my horizons with Mahler and all that, y'know, since in the past I've really only heard his 1st symphony in full, and only snippets of the others.

Unfortunately, I have to confess my conclusion is still the same as before: his music just doesn't do it for me.  I don't deny his genius at the craft, and certainly he's an excellent orchestrator -- probably far beyond what I…


Added by H. S. Teoh on July 21, 2017 at 2:11pm — 7 Comments

Did I really write all this crazy hard stuff?!

Today I finally got a chance to actually sit down at the piano (well, an electronic one, but still) and try to play my fugue in C# minor myself for the first time. And I was greatly dismayed to discover that I couldn't play it at all... What sounded relatively tame in midi turned out to be extremely difficult for me to play.  That's probably a sign of how lousy my non-existent piano skills are, or perhaps fugues are…


Added by H. S. Teoh on January 4, 2017 at 10:05pm — 5 Comments

A nice tuba concerto

Recently I've been listening to many tuba concertos, to get an idea of the repertoire out there and what's possible on a tuba solo. Today I found this one, which, while it doesn't really feature any particularly unusual solo tricks or virtuoso stunts, is nevertheless a fun-filled romp with many beautifully scored passages:

Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by Giancarlo Castro D'Addona

Just thought I'd share.

Added by H. S. Teoh on November 30, 2015 at 9:55pm — 2 Comments

Trouble submitting new discussions

This blog entry is really more of a test than anything else... I'm having trouble submitting a new discussion to the analysis and critique section (it keeps ending up in the "we're sorry" page -- this is the 3rd try now), so this is just to see if blog entries will go through.

Added by H. S. Teoh on August 13, 2015 at 9:16pm — 4 Comments

Some resources on compositional basics

Here are some resources that I posted in the chatbox, but decided to collect them in a blog post so that they don't get lost easily:


Added by H. S. Teoh on May 9, 2015 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Biggest playable violin

In the vein of impractically large instruments, here's a video of the world's largest playable violin. It takes 3 people to play this monster: one to stop the notes, and two to draw the bow! It's tuned 3 octaves below the standard violin, meaning that its E string is only an octave above the bottom string of the double bass, and the two lower strings are off the charts. :-) Apparently, somebody actually composed a piece for this giant…


Added by H. S. Teoh on April 20, 2015 at 9:19pm — No Comments

Unexpected new direction, feeling a bit lost

So, the past few days I've been revisiting one of my old pieces and re-orchestrating it. After finishing the first main theme, I decided on a whim that instead of continuing to the second main theme as I had previously written, I would insert a fugato passage based on a variation of the main motif, just as a fun embellishment. So I spent the past 2 days writing a mini fugue-like passage and today I got to the climax of the fugato... The new passage sounds totally awesome (if I do say so…


Added by H. S. Teoh on April 20, 2015 at 12:30pm — 4 Comments

Violin octet / New Violin Family

Has anybody on this forum heard of the so-called Violin Octet or the New Violin Family? I just found out about this today... Basically, some years ago some luthiers and physicists got together and extended the standard violin into an entire family of 8, with refined tone quality that has much better carrying power and timbral compatibility with each other, also adding instruments to fill in the gaps between the instruments in the standard string orchestra. Here's the first of…


Added by H. S. Teoh on April 9, 2015 at 12:17am — 2 Comments

Biggest (playable!) brass instrument ever

In my childhood I had a fantasy about an orchestra that features gigantic upright brass instruments, so imagine my surprise when today I stumbled across a real instrument very similar to what I had imagined. What a humongous tuba!!

I'd love to compose a grand symphony featuring this instrument... Unfortunately I can't imagine it being particularly agile, so it'd probably be mostly confined to…


Added by H. S. Teoh on April 7, 2015 at 1:47pm — 2 Comments


So, I have been working on my overture for mid-sized orchestra, and have finally completed the score, which represents a major revision of the piece (it's almost a complete reorchestration of the original piece, which was written back in 2007 but was poorly orchestrated). The orchestration is much better now, but there are still some seriously problematic passages.

Am I the only one who is having serious doubts about the score right after finishing a major rewriting effort? Right now…


Added by H. S. Teoh on April 2, 2015 at 12:00am — 2 Comments

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