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After the fact

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Kristoffer Sundberg, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Hi gang!

    I come from a rock background, but for the past few years I have been madly in love with symphonic music. (Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky are my favorites so far for full orchestral music.)

    I have only recently begun to experiment to write for an orchestra. (And by "orchestra" I mean "virtual orchestra" since I will realistically never get the chance to have it performed by a real orchestra.)

    I started out this piece following some of the presets of Mike's Orchestration 3 masterclass. However, I then got excited and let the music lead me wherever it wanted to go. Musically, the piece moves me more when I get past the beginning, but I fear that it only really hangs together in the beginning where I am relying on the Verta presets. Do you guys feel that the piece looses focus after the first 30-40 seconds? How many orchestration/composition sins do I commit?

    I have written for rock bands for many years, and what I find refreshing and the most fun about writing for an orchestra is the opportunity to move away from chord backings with a melody on top, and instead think much more in terms of (informal) counterpoint and interwoven melodies. However, I also fear that as I let go of the basic harmonic comping, the music may loose too much focus and appear like random noodling.

    (Not that it is important, but for those who are more interested in the sound, this is all using Spitfire studio orchestra core, with no additional mixing.)

    (EDIT: In case it wasn't obvious. This is very much a work in progress. Unless I give up on it, I see this as being some 4-5 minutes in length and most definitely does not end where it currently ends. The plan is to come back to the starting theme.)

  2. ... also (I just remembered), I will award bonus points for finding DSCH! (DSCH has a way of sneaking into my compositions!)

    Alas, I have no written score for this, and I think that is connected to the looseness of some of the ideas. I followed Verta's advice from the Chord voicing class and tried to make a piano reduction version of the piece. Unfortunately I have only gotten halfway through, but I already feel that that process helped me clarifying the rhythmic structure of the piece, and it is possible that that is precisely what is needed for the latter half of the piece as well.
  3. Well, the spot that most sounds like it, is not actually it. @:37 you go D-Eb-B-Bb which is slightly different than DSCH ( D-Eb-C-B).
    Only had a casual listen. Seems like you like the mi3rd- min2 hexachord.

    Speaking of Dimitri : Have a listen to this movement. I think this would be a good model for your piece. In my opinion one of the biggest factors of the "aimless-ness" of the work is to do with texture. It's hard to tell if we are heading somewhere or if we already arrived.

    Basically, I think you are giving away too much at the start.

    The other thing that can be helpful is on a blank piece of paper map out the piece. Not notation paper. Just make notes and images.
    Think about who enters when, where, and why ?

    In this example, Symphony 9 mov. 2 of Shost. once the full strings enter it feels really dramatic to me. This would be around the 2:20" mark of the work which roughly the length you posted. He takes more time and gets more from his material IMO.

    Enjoyed the work !

    Be well

  4. Thank you so much for your response and your comments Doug! You bring up things that I hadn't really considered, which is I guess precisely why it is so valuable to have an outsider comment.

    About DSCH...
    Hah! You are right! How could I miss that?! Well spotted. Well... I think I like my D-Eb-B-Bb better. :)

    I am not familiar with that terminology, and the wikipedia wasn't as helpful as I'd have thought. What would that chord be, e.g., in C minor? I do love my seconds and my minor sixths in minor chords. Is that what you are referring to?

    This is interesting advice. The way I first thought of the piece was that it would follow an ABA structure. The piece would begin, as it now does, with two very clear statements of the A theme (using the first of Mike's two "presets" from his Orchestration 3, the first being what he refers to as a "Raiders" preset). It would then gradually distort and modulate these themes until we get to a new theme B. I see the piece in its current form as ending just about when it is about to introduce a B theme. It would then return with an even fuller statement of the A theme, where I could use more of a tutti sound. I very deliberately held back on the strings and it almost takes 1 and a half minute before they are introduced so I thought I had saved that color.

    However, your idea about expanding the piece by adding to the beginning is very interesting and the symphony you posted demonstrates the effectiveness of that approach quite effectively. I am currently transcribing the first two movements of Shostakovich's 5th symphony and I can see similar techniques being used there to great effect. Food for thought!

    This is, again, very interesting. I must admit that in its current form, besides the two presets from Verta, the instrumentation of the piece wasn't given much more thought than trial and error and hearing what sounded good. However, I guess that might be to fall into the trap that Verta warns of in the Chord voicing class about writing for sounds, rather than writing for the music.

    Again, thank you so much for taking the time to listen and comment.
  5. Interesting piece. What would we do without @Doug Gibson eh? Like Doug, I could not get a feel for the arc of the piece. You must have a very good ear to write this without notating it first. I liked your use of brass and winds. Very effective to me.

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