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Elfman Violin Concerto

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Mattia Chiappa, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Thanks, and I am glad it is of use. We'll......eventually get thru the whole movement. More soon. I'll move in 30 min chunks and about 2 min of the piece each time.
  2. In case anyone is still watching. This get us past the 4 min mark

  3. Great point about the effectiveness of the rhythmic element in this piece. You're right about parts fitting under the hand nicely being an important key to virtuoso licks. Not being a violinist though would make it very hard to know exactly what those nice fitting lines are. Generally though as you're revealing by this tear-down is that the violin lick is basically triad arpeggios with a few added tasty notes and the patterns are again mediant chords modulations which gives it the mysterious feeling. The violin slurs during the fast lines really add nice spice. While I'm really enjoying your breakdown of this (and I hope others get as much out it as I am), I must say you're "reveal" is a bit like giving away the magician's tricks and its not quite as exciting knowing all that is going on. Its hard to turn the "analysis" part of the brain off and just simply enjoy again. Instead, its now like "aw man, I know how he's doing that trick!". So while I've lost some appreciation with pure listening enjoyment, I have gained appreciation into the insight, so thanks for that (I mean it seriously).

    In the sense that even the violin virtuoso lines are built so much on triadic tones, I'm starting to feel that this violin concerto is a bit more like the "easy-listening" version compared with other violin concertos (Sibelius, Shostakovich, Korngold). And maybe its this simplicity that was mostly attractive to me and what ultimately makes it quite successful as a "popular" violin concerto. A bit like Shostakovich Piano Concerto 2nd movement? No? In any case, thanks for revealing all of these great points and helping me connect the dots.

    You mention that he hints at sonata form with the shift from Gmin to Dmin so I wonder how the rest will fit together? Everyone seemed to comment at first how it seemed a like a collection of various ideas, though so far it seems very coherent more than a collage. On thematic idea so far really.

    Doug posted this in another thread and the similarities in simplicity are very interesting.
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  4. Well, that is what collaboration is for. Just work with a violinist. Shostakovich had tons of help from Rostropovich (as did Britten).
    As Tchaikovsky has been mentioned a few times, both his piano and violin concerto were rejected originally.
    When I wrote my Bass Clarinet concerto I had no idea really of what would or would not be possible (I still don't. I just can't picture the fingering in my head)

    The point is: if your musical idea is strong enough, you can adjust to make idiomatic. But don't let that stop you.

    For learning more....just go to the repertoire every violinist would play. Sarasate is a pretty good choice. He has tons of stuff

    I know what you mean. I'll address this in the next installment.

    Simplicity in its best form can be described as "Elegance". I liked what you wrote earlier in the thread about not getting too caught up in any kind of high brow stuff. I think people don't consider enough the "senses". Our senses are the primary way we engage in the world and our mind then sorts things out to make sense of it all. But music is a sensual act as well as intellectual.

    I don't ever try and listen to "intellectual" music. I just listen to shit that I like. It's often a term that is applied by others anyway. It's like radio stations called "jamming oldies" Who ever says....."Yeah....I want to hear some jamming oldies" No one. You just go ....I want to hear some good shit, and then an annoucer comes on and says "jamming oldies" and thus the existential crisis hits you like a hammer.

    Back when I worked at the NY Phil. I was blown away......absolutely mesmerized by Esa Pekka Salonen's violin concerto. I went to every performance.
    How I wish I composed the opening movement. It's amazing.

    Anyhow, for the Friday daytime concert a bunch of school's were brought in. I smiled as after each movement these poor kids could be heard going "oh no" hand slapping their foreheads and looking for a way to escape. I must say I derived great pleasure from their boredom.

    I don't blame the kids.....it's hard shit to throw on them. I think too it's like Piccasso. You know how early on he painted very realistic images, and by the end it was a triangle with a nipple. If you arrive at the end, you think the world is crazy and it's all a con.

    Just FYI. Probably my favorite piece composed in the last 10 years.


  5. Would you guys agree that this piece is easier to listen to than the beginning of Elfman's violin concerto? I had listened to Elfman's full concerto once, and at least 2 more times to the first 10 minutes or so and it didn't click for me. I listened to all of Doug's videos on it (Thanks Doug!), and listened to the first 9 minutes again, but I still don't like it. On the other hand the last piece that Doug linked (Solonen: Violin Concerto - Movement One) was from the first listen so much easier for me to understand and "predict", that I liked it much more. I wondered why that is, because my first impression of it was that it should be the "more challenging" piece. My theory is that I engage with this kind of music less on a harmonic/melodic level and more on a rythmic level, and rythmically this piece seems much simpler and easier to grasp and predict for me than Elfman's concerto.
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  6. Oh.....that's interesting. Huh. I would have thought this as more abstract. Well....there you go.

    Hey.... I just realized I never replied to the other thread about the Epic music and rhythm. Just remind me if I forget.

    I'll do that later today. Sorry about that
  7. I thought it probably was a dumb question to begin with and didn't want to bother you. But since you insist, consider yourself reminded. :)
  8. Hey! Just wanted to say that I'm one of the two people (or is it three of us now?) that is watching the videos, and I'm really enjoying them! Thanks for the content.

    This violin concerto is really interesting, and as soon as I have a more informed opinion about it, I'll comment on it here. Haven't listened to the whole thing yet!
  9. Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to leave a brief message to let everyone know especially Doug that I am still interested in watching and can't wait to binge-watch some Doug specials on Elfman's Concerto. I recently (this past week) moved into my new house so my whole studio has been down, and I've been off a computer for a whole week with no internet. As many of you know, moving is exhausting with a lot of unpacking and sorting, plus the moving part haha -- so it's been a bit hectic week for me but exciting at the same time.

    Just wanted to let you know I'm still here and appreciate you Doug making these videos. Can't wait to check them out.

    I will also reply to your message Gregory!

    Mattia Chiappa likes this.
  10. The latest. It's rough of course. No editing and ends abruptly

  11. Your comment that the section at 4m17 is like a flamenco compas is exactly what I was thinking though I can't quite place what the rhythm is. It makes sense as its sort of gypsy violin playing which grew with flamenco. However, you didn't analyze this rhythm and that is the part that puzzles me. I'm also curious as to why you're not writing down sketches as you go (or maybe you are behind the scenes?) as this is what I would need to do to break it down like you're doing. Up to the 4m17 point, I heard it mostly as 4/4 at first though your timing breakdown makes more sense (up to 4m17s). But what is he doing with that rhythm compas at 4m17s? He certain defines some strong accents though they come off beat at various times, though I feel like there is a repeating pattern that I'm not getting yet. And this is exactly what is very cool about it - you sense the rhythm but can't quite grasp it. Sort of like the magic of Led Zepplin Kashmir and why it sounds so cool. OK, may I request, please don't pass this rhythmic section by without breaking it down. It think its a big part of the magic and you don't want to leave that unrevealed or the analysis won't be complete. And I think all three people agree with me (myself and I, at least). So purty puhlease - breakdown that compas! Anxiously awaiting the next episode.

    I studied flamenco when I was a kid, but mostly played Bulerias by ear and not much else. I really had that down well, until I realized I had to read music if I wanted to study music at school so I started piano lessons with little kids all around me at age 15. Despite the flamenco study, rhythm is my weak point. Yet, your analysis (of this and others) makes me realize the importance of both overall rhythm as well as the melodic rhythm which I find in almost every piece that I enjoy. Take any Tchaikovsky theme for example, and strip it of the rhythm and it collapses. Its the da da da, da da, da da, da of the nutcracker that makes it crack! Without the rhythmic, it wilts. So thanks for that too. So simple, yet such a golden point. And easily overlooked too as you can tell by so many of the examples people post.

    @Dillion - Wow, a new house! Exciting. Tip - When I set up my new studio, I put the speakers up and a chair and I moved them around until I found the very best spot in my room. And then built everything around that, and I'm very pleased with the sound today mainly because of that. Its so hard to adjust things later! I've been listening to Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70 which you posted and that's quite complex string writing. Above my level right now. I'm studying his earlier stuff as that's easier for me to digest his orchestration style.
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  12. Next video. I gotta keep you coming back right?

    What do you mean? I'm just listening to it - pluck at the piano for a few minutes - and then record the video. What do you mean by sketches?

    At the end, I can go through and make a sketch or diagram or list. Let me know what you have in mind

    You got it.

    Wow.....sorry to give you blue balls. You got it. This next one is going to be dedicated to you, and I'll make sure to just do this section and go even deeper than I have before. Ok? I'll transcribe it properly.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  13. Is not very relevant but this just came out and I thought some people engaged in the discussion might be interested.

    Rob Thorpe and Martin Hoffmann like this.
  14. The question is: is it worth the 100€ requested for this 4-hours master class or are they just selling a long interview ?
  15. Mattia, you beat me to it (note to self - wake up earlier). I was going to use that as leverage to nudge Doug with some serious competition (just kidding).

    @Doug - by "sketches", I just meant writing down what you're hearing. I can hear something and then ten seconds later its gone. Whereas when I write even kryptic notes down, they help me to remember as mneumnonics. I presume writing down the 4m17s compass section is the only reasonable way to pick up the exact pattern he is using.
  16. #36 Mattia Chiappa, Oct 31, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
    Yes it'll probably turn out like the Zimmer's class but I think I owe it to my younger self. Elfman was my hero for for the longest time and I would have killed for something like this sometime ago. Just looking at the trailer is turning me into a fan boy again :)

    P.S. I was wondering when you were gonna contribute to this thread with your profile picture being the way it is :p
    Rob Thorpe likes this.
  17. I had nothing to say about the concerto, except "I don't understand anything but I love it".

    If you're going to buy the masterclass, I definitely want your feedback.

    And @Mike Verta, we're still waiting for your Elfman Masterclass. ;)
    Mattia Chiappa likes this.
  18. having issues with my screen recording program.

    So I am dripping this so things don't get lost to application error.

  19. Thanks Doug!
    Next time you record, double check if you've set it to record an application window or the whole screen. I suspect you had trouble because you selected to record a window and then switched to a different window. If you record the whole screen maybe it won't crash when you switch between different applications? It may still crash, but if that's the case I'd suspect the issue being with the audio-devices used by the different programs. All just wild guesses though, I'm on windows so all this mac stuff is mysterious to me.

    Regarding your questions about meters: I just don't hear them. Not even sure I'd notice if something was 7/8 or something odd like that. When I transcribe stuff I look at how long a "section" is and then see if it seems to fit better in 3/4 or 4/4, and if it's neither I might just give up and set either one and then have an incomplete measure at the end before I start the next section at 4/4.

    I used to write stuff that's all over the place when I started playing guitar over a decade ago, but somehow managed to getting back to boring old 4/4 most of the time. It's good for me to see more liberal use of meter changes every now and then because I think I should break this 4/4 mold more often again.

    That very varied part that you counted over in the last video, if you could pretend for a moment you had composed that yourself... how would you make these odd meter choices? Is it a matter of just improvising and then later checking what "fits" over it, or could you walk us through what you think may be the reasoning behind those choices?

    Thanks again!
  20. Wow, that's pretty amazing Doug! I think you got it. I'm like Martin too, in that I don't hear meter changes easily when transcribing. You 'are' making the assumption that his accents are on the downbeats though so it all could be interpreted in different ways, though arguably you're makes the most sense. After all, writing meter changes just for the sake of it is pointless unless you are going to accent these changes with dynamic hits, cue points, or for some reason. And Danny Elfman's example of complex meter changes to support oddly timed dynamic accents seems to be not only a good example, but a very effective one. Doug, thanks again for the enlightenment, its been most interesting.

    btw, there is a score for this piece. Can't someone get this to the Omni Publisher guy?

    @ Martin - When I scored commercials I often used odd meters simply to spot the hit points and it did make for more interesting music.

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