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Snippets and Ideas

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Rohann van Rensburg, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Hey all,

    So on Mike and Doug's advice, I'm posting snippets. It's an annoying thing about one's own work -- I can quite immediately recognize melodies, riffs, progressions, etc I like, and I trust my taste and ability to appraise quality, generally. When it comes to my own work, however, it's a whole different story (like most people).

    Their recommendation was to post ideas and snippets. Rather than orchestrate something and figure out, after weeks of working on it, that it's built on a garbage idea, I figured I'd throw out something very bare bones here, and get opinions from experienced folk. Is it worth harmonizing? Modulating? Etc. What really needs work (like with most of us) is the core of my pieces, so I'm attempting to attack that here.

    Here are some snippets I had written a while back and have heard so much I can't really judge them anymore. Going for a fairly dissonant, but followable, thematic horror-ish vibe. Didn't really bother with dynamics, as it's all very barebones, but I did forget to add "Pedal" -- the blending of notes is part of the tone, I think. I can post audio as well, if helpful.

    Attached Files:

  2. Not that I can read not notes but can you maybe just post an audio example of the sequence?
  3. Well your question in the other thread almost gave me a heart attack. Seriously...... gobsmacked.
    How do you need to ask about "Horror existential crisis" ? (Even you question causes a crisis for me)
    My god, every day of my life seems like some twisted Sesame Street episode that ends with

    "Todays Horror existential crisis was brought to you by the number........45 ".

    I'll most likely get flamed here for posting that, but I should build a statue of myself next to a saint for (mostly) staying on good behavior around here.

    Anyhow......... to your music:

    Solid advice. I like these people.

    You don't have it yet. Yeah, it's in their..... but you don't know how to find it, or what to do with it.

    You don't always "Find the core idea" , sometimes it has to be ESTABLISHED. AKA ( how much repetition/ variety the piece has)

    Couple of quick points:

    Since it is still a sketch, don't get too attached the exact ideas you have right now. Think about them a little broader as gestures.

    More often than not ( and I say this with the "Gothic" vibe in mind.... not always for other styles) the notes at the front of the measure (1) get longer held durations. When I have more time/better mood I can go thru some steps in more detail, but for now here is a few

    Since all the rhythmic values are pretty much the same we have to begin here.

    Let's take your 1st 4 notes. You can make them quicker...... or slower. For this lets make them slower

    Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 4.48.07 PM.png

    Now if we simply repeat one or two notes we will get a contrast...... and this creates emphasis.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 4.50.14 PM.png

    We can ornament this like the Mozart Requiem piece you like with half step approaches (example is in treble clef)

    Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 4.51.46 PM.png

    Then you just write a bunch of blocks of music and figure out later how to put them together.

    So now that C to B ---- let's put it on beat 4 of the bar. Since you had lots of quarter notes ...... it could look like this (highlighted your motive)

    Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 4.56.10 PM.png

    Then keep experimenting. Since we are going old school..... why not make a canon out of your melody. Also, remember that first thing to the upper strings (Mozart idea) now I can put it down in the tenor range, and the initial idea of the half/ 2 quarters can go in the Bass, and that's all I have time for now.

    It's not as serial killer as you want ...... yet, but we can certainly get there pretty quick.
    Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 4.59.27 PM.png

    Here is an mp3. These ideas I am not putting them together to stand as a piece of music. Just a demo.

    PS. I have no idea why, everything I upload to soundcloud is way too loud ?
  4. Grumpy music teacher. Please tell me you have mustache as well :D

    Good stuff, dude. I've missed your posts!

    Loudness normalization. What you upload has plenty of headroom (difference between +-0.00dB and the loudest peak in your audio file, so Soundcloud trims it all and adjusts volume so that your loudest peak is now at +-0.00dB

    @Rohann van Rensburg Pretty much what Doug said. This is indeed very bare bones, and what Doug posted was actually a snippet. So do that!
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  5. @Doug Gibson that was really impressive. Your sample mp3 grabbed my interest and hooked me.
  6. Perhaps they realise how epic you are....

    This kind of puts me in mind of this - for some reason I never realised this was a Goldsmith Score...

  7. I just wanted to post this. I was looking over you material and was going to tell you I that
    if you began using different registers other characteristics of your material would come out. Also to experiment
    with hexachords, and that you would most likely enjoy using the frequent min3-mi2 hex.

    I began just experimenting one my own and forgot all about your music. I am kinda surprised.

    I added a baritone as I going to head to your dungeon and..... then..... I don't know.... just came up with my own thing

    Thanks !

  8. Reply to the last coming soon, was just working on the ideas you posted (thank you!).

    Way different than my original idea but I really like your tone, I'm going to try to digest this. PS -- forgive my ignorance, but could you point me toward an explanation of the min2-3 hexachord? I'm not actually very familiar with hexachords, other than their standard definition.
  9. Sure. Basically it's a 6 note scale made up of all mi 2/ mi3. Here is a screen shot. This goes back to your opening 4 notes.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 10.57.47 PM.png
  10. Thanks, I'll play around with this. I find myself often ending up in Hungarian Minor or the Arabic scale (unconsciously), for some reason, so I'll play with this.
  11. You misunderstand! I didn't say I don't experience these crises on a regular basis (heck, I'm having one right now!). Au contraire, I have them all the time. I'm just wondering what a good source is for learning music that sounds like an existential crises (aside from a good deal of the aleatoric stuff coming out of the 1900's. I was baffled at how I managed to get top marks in a composition course based largely around atonality and aleatory in my university days, simply because I would BS something an hour before the deadline. I love what the techniques are capable of, and how they are wielded, but I'm aiming for something more thematic or at least "basic" in this thread).
    Me too, incidentally. It's why I keep coming back -- I feel challenged to keep at it after visiting here, as opposed to "Will I ever have enough sample libraries?"

    Great point, been thinking about this a lot since you posted it.

    Before moving on, I should clarify my intent -- I'm trying to get into the habit of having something interesting to say at the piano before taking it to orchestration. I think my intention here was to figure out if ideas I'm tired of are worth developing in the first place, but posting something as vague as "here's 3 notes what now" probably went a little too far back. Fixed at the end of this post.

    Great ideas, thank you! Bolded ones that I've been considering while writing.

    I'd like to have it feel "Gothic" but I'm not sure I'm familiar enough with the repertoire. Been transcribing Mozart and Bach, and trying to find others to better internalize idioms that broadly represent that idea, while dissonance will hopefully take care of the "horror" aspect (i.e. the infamous 1399 party theme I posted). While it's an amalgamation of eras and styles, I'm also trying to get better at chorale writing to fit into this, but I honestly don't think I have the chops to include something that doesn't come across as hammy (assuming I can do that at all here).

    Re: rhythm. While I used to be a drummer (a rather short period, but still), I have a pretty poor ability to write rhythms into melody, it seems. I often feel that if I'm to take an idea from an existing song, that it will feel too much like copying it. More transcription, I presume?

    So what I should have posted, are these ideas (what I originally started with). These are all somewhat boring at the piano, and extremely basic, but again trying to figure out if there's at least copper in them-thar-hills. Again, just trying to find the core of an idea in a two-handed piano piece.

    Here's the "depressing" version. I basically stole your intro harmonic idea and applied a similar idea to what I had before. Both these versions are too "straight", not harmonized very much, and really need rhythmic variation, but I suppose I'm trying to figure out what my amateurish piano pieces should sound like before fleshing out and embellishing ideas.

    Semi-awkward modulation towards the middle. Again, please excuse the rough piano.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/rcevj6qk9eihkk8/Snippets -- Existential Drepression Version.mp3?dl=0

    These are the "snippets" I started with and am trying to salvage.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/4u69y3wyf35vaqb/Snippers -- Existential Dread and Horror version.mp3?dl=0
    0-0:34 is the "slow dread" intro I started everything with, 0:35-0:53 is the "fuller" version of this, at higher tempo, 0:53-1:11 was my "B" idea, 1:11-1:30 was a sort of "gross" sounding counterline version, 1:30 was C and the following ideas were similar but uptempo and in 3 (or 12?), and with a few ideas combined.
    Now what I'm wondering, Doug, is did you simply take the ideas and experiment in note performer or similar, or did you work it out into a piano version first? I imagine I can flesh these out more interestingly with instruments available, but I'm trying to get rid of my tendency to try and gold-plate "bad ideas".
  12. Why not take the "Lacrimosa" from Requiem or the Dies Irae motif from Isle of the Dead

    Setting text is very helpful. It can even be gibberish or the Latin text you see on some documents for a template.
    Remember Vocal music was king for a long time. Words will have an intrinsic rhythm.

    Cool...... I'll check it out in a few days when I have the time to do so.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  13. Working on transcribing Isle of the Dead now, really loving this piece.

    Great point, I don't know why I always forget about this.

    Thanks a bunch, much appreciated. What I should have called this thread was "two-handed piano", or some iteration of that.
  14. Nevermind the "depressing" version, I fleshed it out a bit more. Going for a short thematic idea, i.e. an "intro", for 2.5 handed piano. Still needs work, some parts are boring and I'm not sure if I'm being too repetitive. The intent is to orchestrate it which will likely cut down the feeling of repetition. I'm also unsure why it exports so quiet.

    I like the M7 change in the harmony towards the end, trying to figure out how to add a touch more of that. Might be one of those "if it's cool, use it once" situations.

  15. #15 Rohann van Rensburg, Oct 4, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
    Bump...any thoughts? I'd rather continue here than start a new thread.

    So using this as a "working theme" (much different in intent from what I started with, going to work on the other ideas as separate entities):
    a) any tips on the composition itself? It's again intended to be orchestrated so I'll likely add counter-lines and keep the harmony interesting by moving it between groups
    b) any tips on how to orchestrate it? I've watched Mike's orchestration classes, and while it does point obviously to certain families there's still a huge amount of room for size, restrictions, etc. Examples would be helpful, but I'm thinking something chamber-y. Was considering a chamber section of strings but I'm wondering if some horns, etc might help fill the piece out somewhat. Looking to keep it smaller and "anxious" sounding though.
  16. Nice! I have a hard time giving critique since I don't know what you are aiming for ? As a piece of art it works right there. It reminds me a bit of the intro to Westworld, also perhaps the intro to the Johnny Depp horror movie-musical. I need to transcribe it first before giving critique but I have a feeling my problems are with the rhythmic values of the main melody. I think my brain is looking for a specific type of pattern that I am used to hearing with this style. Perhaps also some fill-in notes. But I like the harmonies :D
    I do have a hard time remembering the melody so there is room for improvement right there. I personally love to dedicate days to just do variations of melodies.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  17. Thank you!

    I'm sort of going for a "thematic intro" of sorts -- my intended idea was to have a sort of gloomy "intro" piece like this wherein the music suggests melancholy, but towards the end begins to hint at something more sinister. I'm hoping to follow it with the more "existential horror" idea I was referring to originally in this thread, if that all makes sense...

    That's a good point, I think it's a bit weak there. The C-B Ab-G was a "motif" of sorts I wanted to run through both pieces, but I think the rest of the melody needs some rhythmic variation. I think the slower notes might work for SATB chords but having done a quick mockup of it it's a bit "straight" sounding. It does sound better with a counterline but it should sound more interesting on its own.

    Melodies are funny things. You whistle lullabies, transcribe Williams, Shore and Classical melodies, and so many of them are just diatonic with scalar motion, but they're deceptively difficult to nail. I always thought harmony was more difficult, and there are certainly a lot of options, but I usually find my ear drawn a certain way whereas I have to really hunt a melody down and refine it.
  18. Hey !

    I'll have time this week to give you a proper reply

    Cheers !

  19. #19 Rohann van Rensburg, Oct 8, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    Wonderful! Looking forward to it. Thanks in advance.

    Struggling to figure out if I should extend the harmony-change section, or the ending? It's a bit short and I'm wondering if I could build tension more effectively with more time.

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