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Snippets and Ideas

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

  1. And now the same example with strings added in. All of this is only Note-Performer btw.

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  2. Wonderful, thanks for the reply. I think I need to study modules more. Time to transcribe some Herrmann.

    How would you go about ending this piece? I'll have to transcribe it (or just read it more slowly) but from an initial listen it sounds like there are 2 modules with varying complexity. Would you add a third or simply vary the second/first?
  3. Again, initial listens, but do you use the string counter-line intentionally to connect the first module to the second or was that coincidental?
  4. I am not sure what you mean. Personally I was only thinking of a single "module" and continuously developing that.

    Here is the score, if that helps.

    Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 5.45.51 AM.png Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 5.46.03 AM.png
  5. Thank you! Will study this tomorrow.

    Listening to it with headphones now (instead of on a phone speaker) I can hear that it's a single module now (I couldn't really hear the lower register initially). So would this "module" approach be more similar to the first movemenet of i.e. Isle of the Dead, vs Herrmann?
  6. #26 Doug Gibson, Oct 11, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    I was not thinking of either at all. If I had to say what it reminds me of would be the Philip Glass scores like Dracula. But really I am just trying to make something interesting along the Aesthetic lines you mentioned, and some of your material that stuck in my mind.

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  7. Oh it's definitely interesting, I love how it builds, I'm just unfamiliar with the form and how to continue or develop it. Thank you for posting though, I need to study it and play around.
  8. I hate posting my own work, but in the end I'm trying to get better, so here goes:

    Since this was mostly done, and I want to get better at actually completing pieces, I orchestrated this (...that's arguable, but here it is anyway). My template isn't balanced, and so this isn't well mixed. I mostly stuck to strings because they were easier to balance (some piano and questionably-placed horns are present as well).

    Issues I've noticed:
    1. I need to work on my initial ideas still (go figure). It works as a really simple piano piece, albeit with some weaker melodic aspects at some points. Doug's video caught my attention again at a helpful time (
    ) -- if I'm writing something for a solo instrument I find this a lot easier, because I imagine the solo instrument, but when it comes to "writing on piano" I sometimes struggle with allowing for time/space/harmonic reimagination.
    Interestingly, looking back on older string pieces I've written, writing just with virtual instruments meant allowing for quite a bit more space and varied rhythms between sections. I need to bridge this gap between cohesive developmental writing on piano and writing idiomatically. It ended up being a bit "ostinato-y". The piano part needs work, I'm unsure whether to include it at all, as does the aleatoric stuff.

    2. I also find that if I go straight to virtual instruments, I start adding stuff and begin to lose track of the arrangement's balance as a whole. I think I may have over-written in some areas to compensate for interesting harmonic variation (not necessarily in progression but in texture, rhythm, etc).

    3. There isn't really an intro. Continuing the staccato rhythm sounded overly repetitive, so unsure of what to do there.

    In any case, would love feedback.

    Doug: Going to work on your idea now. Will try to write and develop a single short theme (I still have no idea how to end something like that, but I'll dig into what you've posted), and then maybe try playing with modules. Thanks again, as always.

  9. Hey !

    Overall, I would say you piece is developing too quickly. Take your time more......pace it.

    As far as how to end it. That a little like asking "what is the sound of one hand clapping".

    I would not suggest this is THE WAY.

    Actually it might even be good for you to write 3-5 possible endings. Sort of a choose your own adventure story.
    You can investigate pieces you like only for how they end.

    Below I took what I posted before....made a gap (pretend the piece continues) and then added on a ending.
    The break is where the piece would continue until the part you hear.

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  10. Thanks Doug. Just add this thread to my tab ;).
  11. Belated, but here's a v2. It was kind of intended as a short "TV intro" of sorts, so I'm not really sure what else to do with it. It could be better orchestrated, and of course the template isn't a template at all, and as such needs balancing. Needs a better intro, too. Submitted it to Mike to tear apart, but he didn't quite get that far (despite somehow managing to .

    I think the composition issues came from working straight into DAW -- I'm writing other pieces straight into notation first now and seeing how that changes my work. I'm also mixing only on headphones, which might be a problem...changing that soon.

    My mixes also come out super quietly, I'm not really sure how to fix that.

    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  12. Very eerie and unsettling. I liked it alot. I want to just point some things out about your melody, it doesn't mean you have to fix it but perhaps think about these points on your next piece.

    Your "A" melody is always a dotted half note, on the downbeat have you noticed?


    Rhythmically, your melody is predictable and stagnant; which could be the effect you're going for, but I suggest creating some variation to keep the piece progressing forward. A simple device to make things move forward is syncopation. For example;

    See, you change the note from Ab the first time to Bb here at the highlighted section (if my ears don't suck and I heard it correctly lol,) So, sustaining the extra beat does two things;
    1. Lets us the listener know hey this note is different from last time, so listen closely as what comes next;
    2. Syncopation which means, forward momentum. (it doesn't actually mean that, but I think of it as a compositional tool to create momentum).

    As well as the "G" at 19 seconds, the turnaround note; I feel sometimes you should leave that out.

    To me (perhaps your intent is different, but the way you arranged it and feels to me is) your phrase ends on the tonic the "C". So, it doesn't mean you can't add the "G" or any other note to progress the music forward, but every time you add a note it seems like your phrase is never-ending. So something like this the first time to me seems like is your real melody, and then the rest could be variations.

    So don't necessarily get rid of these "turn-around" notes as I called them. But just understand (and I could be alone on this who-knows lol) that I hear your melody phrase as this.

    Lastly, I'll state again that you don't have to fix this piece. Just take in what I've noticed in this melody for your future pieces. I see you've worked alot on this piece already and everyone has had great comments and feedback. So I feel its almost like beating a dead horse attacking your "specific melody" here, but more on how you approach your future melodies.

    Think not only melodically but rhythmically, phrasing, breath, momentum vs stagnant etc. I know, lots to think about lol. Over time it'll become second nature like walking/running.

    Hope my feedback helped and didn't hinder.

    I can't recommend this enough personally, referring to writing straight into notation. I write in Sibelius first then to Cubase.

    Some of the other amazing redbanned folks can help better with this. But if I learned anything from Alexander or Aaron the answer is usually simple, your volume is too low; turn up the tracks and balance (having a reference track helps, and watching the meter of how loud it gets when celli staccato plays or violin harmonics and then matching yours to that etc). I'm redoing my template mix currently and using a telarc tchaikovsky recording and I just learned that triple octave string runs at FF (even though they felt louder) they were only peaking at +4db (on the K-20 scale metering i use), which I think is -14db on a regular digital scale meter.

    Attached Files:

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  13. #33 Rohann van Rensburg, Feb 23, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
    Thank you! I'm trying to write some more upbeat stuff, haha.
    And I'm not sensitive about my pieces -- they're here to get torn apart so they can be improved. Good life lessons there.

    EDIT: I think this is because I added an intro. Doug was right -- it moved on and developed too quickly, hence the added intro, but it needs some variation with 4 repeats. Hmm...
    I've heard it so many times that it sounds right to me. It's initially what I wanted -- something relatively fixed and "inevitable", but it grew stagnant quickly and I wasn't sure how to improve it. I need to go over Doug's examples again. Perhaps I can label this as a "v 1.0", and go from there.

    You're right :). Thanks for the idea, I'll play with it and see how it works. I tried a simple harmony there but it wasn't working, so I'll have a go again. Which leads me to:

    I completely agree. It's something that slipped my attention with familiarity; I think the first time around (19 seconds) it felt right, but I hate the movement up to G in the following iteration (0:32) -- this might be a good spot to leave it out altogether.

    Thanks, I'll try it out.

    You're very much on point. I'll likely do both (revising and applying ideas forward). I appreciate you going at the melody, for the record -- the core issue of my pieces (and most people's at my level) are basics. Rhythm is something I've struggled with too, in terms of varying harmony and melody, etc. I was concerned the harmony was getting boring in this piece too.
    While I'll still work at this one, the problem with writing in DAW and the problem with having issues with the melody is that to completely rework the melody is kind of to rewrite the song, at least as far as I can tell. I may write a v 2.0 using yours and Doug's guidelines, or repurpose the same notes/idea into a new piece and go from there.

    Working at this for the next piece. So much easier to keep track of who is doing what.

    I'll try volume boosts within tracks and see how it works out. Glad to hear it's a relatively simple solution for the most part. Reference tracks are a fantastic idea -- which Tchaikovsky track do you use?
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  14. I'm glad to hear. I'll be sure to post feedback on your future pieces. :)

    I look forward to any revisions or a new piece entirely.

    Romeo & Juliet Overture (my one deserted island piece), Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra *Telarc recording. Here is a youtube link to it.

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  15. I'd appreciate it!

    If you're curious to see how it started, the first post was the piano idea and I sometimes feel like it's still more effective somehow.

    Thank you! I'll have a listen.
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  16. So I've been working on a similar piece. Kind of carbon-copied your structure, but figured it would be helpful for a first venture in writing for voice.

    My piece is in 12/8, however, and I'm wondering if this is perhaps a bad idea for having a continually moving counterline. I'm finding it hard to give the Tenors a coherent line without overlapping the Altos (perhaps spreading it into SATB as opposed to Treble and Bass wasn't a great idea either). The obvious (debatable) solutions are:
    a) move sopranos and altos up (they'd be uncomfortably high)
    b) change around alto and soprano parts (composition affected fairly dramatically)
    c) don't give altos long sustaining notes
    d) let tenors hold long notes while altos move around
    The altos were previously acting as the harmony to the sopranos so I'm not sure if that would flow well. If having the whole piece for context is helpful, I can do that too:
    Redbanned Gothic Piece.jpg.png
  17. Well, I can only guess what the clefs are, and also the disclaimer that this does not really look like vocal writing.
    (dynamics go above the stave for vocals, and you'll need to provide a vowel sound.)

    That said, keep the alto on beat 4 (10 for 8ths) a D. For the tenor just keep going with B-G-B.
    You'll get the same results. It would be 5x's easier to perform and the difference would be nearly imperceptible.
  18. That was a little amateurish. Should have just waited, really.

    I appreciate the other tips -- was just going with Musescore's defaults for the notation (which are incorrect at times).

    Here's the score and the sort-of-sloppy mockup (EW's Choirs are a bit arduous to work with. Some note values have different dynamics (in a large and noticeable way), it uses both velocity triggers and Expression/Mod in order to control dynamics, but velocity on changes loudness, not "attack". I should have included a vowel sound but it's just "ah", even though it sounds like "rah" half the time.

    So: Kind of carbon-copied your form, but was a useful exercise. Difficult to know where to go from here. Keep developing, B-section, etc? Might need to study more choral works.


    Gothic Piece.png

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