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Hussar (Whiskers, Whisky, and War)

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Daniel Casson, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Hey everyone,

    Thought I would post this piece for feedback/critique.

    It's a piano outline so I tried to keep it basic and devoid of flourish so as to make the melody clear.

    The problem I consistently have is by the time I feel good about where my composition is going I hate the thing (from over-saturation), and I think that obscures my view of whether its really working/worth expanding into a full orchestral thing.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/j5xv6pt0edj2v9k/Hussar (Whiskers, Whisky and War).wav?dl=0
    John Eldridge likes this.
  2. Welcome and thanks for posting, Daniel. I think the piece holds some merit but probably could use a bit more refinement here in the piano outline phase. The A and B sections were independently competent and enjoyable but I didn't get any sense in the presentation that they belonged together. I believe I would have enjoyed hearing that B section melodic shape introduced while still in the peppy triplet rhythmic vibe you laid out in the A section. Then later, I can imagine you could restate both A and B in that more somber/straight rhythm to give it all some connection. I'm sure there may be other ways to build connection between them in case your piece is time limited and such that others may be able to suggest.

    But it certainly has potential and I'm looking forward to seeing how you take it to its conclusion.

    Hope this helps.
    Daniel Casson likes this.
  3. Thanks for the welcome and feedback, John.

    You confirmed my suspicions about the A and B section. They do feel like separate pieces just placed side by side and I'm not sure if it wouldn't be better to take the B section out altogether rather than trying to make them work.

    On the other hand, I like your idea of intermingling the themes, though I i'm not sure if I could pull it off...it might be something to try.

    There's no time limit on this, aside from my own lack of inventiveness, haha.
    John Eldridge likes this.
  4. There is only one way to find out is to go and do it. You'll only get better by trying. Try, fail, try some more, come post it on here, let us rip it apart, and then go try again. Rinse & repeat. Point is, this is where your composition skills come into play. How to make two themes that necessarily don't fit but you made them belong.

    There are plenty of pieces, songs, compositions in which a B theme set apart from the A theme has no business being with it, but good composition and craft makes it happen. Hope to see your revisions/orchestrations of this sketch soon.

    Happy writing. Cheers!
  5. What's your best piece? Can you post that?
  6. Hej Daniel,

    Welcome to that place here.

    I listened to your piece and thanks for sharing. I can see what you mean. You know, I have had similiar problems a couple of years ago with my pieces. I worked on them, and I got very quick tired listening to them.

    Even during the process of creating the piece. Man, I can feel you totally.

    I think that this a part of the process simply because it just takes time to write a motif or a complete theme with meaning. By meaning I see that the conclusion and logic is carried throughout the piece.

    But first and foremost imho you need to make sure that you have covered the basics and that is a strong motif which is interesting enough. Second is that you have to learn techniques to develop your theme. And that is the hard part.

    Its like you have potatoes as your basic ingridient (your motif) and that you are able to do

    1. boiled potatoes (your theme)
    2. but also fried potatoes (development)
    3. baked potatoes (development)
    4. potato salad (development)
    5. mashed potatoes (developement)
    6. potatoes with veggies (development with a countertheme)
    7. fried veggies with fried potatoes

    and so on and so on.

    Therefore I can only recommend to you to study music which you find great and interesting. One way is to transcribe the music by ear and use additional score sheets to look at the orchestration later on. By that you learn what sound good and you also learn and see techniques of development. Sure I don´t know your level, if you are beginner or intermediate. I would say start with easier pieces and built upon them.
    Daniel Casson and Dillon DeRosa like this.
  7. Hey ,

    Thanks for the challenging words! It's exactly the kind of push I need to work on the craft of the thing cause complacency is my go to when things get sticky and I'm often tempted to just scrap it and move on to something else. It's why most of my ideas never even get this far.

    Now you got me curious, do you have a favorite example of a composer pulling this off with two seemingly incompatible themes? Although I guess part of the skill of it is they don't actually sound incompatible by the time he's finished.

    @Doug Gibson, here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/92vrevmv8h6y9ya/Homeward Journey.wav?dl=0

    @Alexander Schiborr, thanks for the welcome!

    Would you say it was focusing on the development of the theme/motif's that helped you push past the stage I'm at here where I quickly tire of what I'm creating?

    I have to admit, while a memorable melody is the goal It's a very illusive one in terms of knowing when you're there. In the past I compensated by focusing on orchestration and musical decoration to maintain my interest. Now that I'm trying to think more about the theme, I do find I lose drive very quickly.

    I like your analogy with potatoes. Very helpful. Clearly development is a big element I haven't even scratched the surface of.

    I've heard a lot of mentions on transcription here and throughout Mike's videos. I've been curious on what that actually looks like in practice so thanks for fleshing that out a bit for me, It's one area I haven't explored much yet.

    Is everybody's method of transcription roughly the same? As far as just trying to understand what you're hearing and boil it down to piano, or do you focus on orchestration as well and maybe try to recreate it with all the parts?
  8. Opera has this all over the place. Classical era instrumental music too. The whole tonic/dominant, Masculine/Feminine etc.

    Shorter/less stellar of the two examples:

    Ahh..... the masterwork:

    That's much better.

    What struck me right away was the music that goes with the title. Sometimes this means zero, nothing. Other times it means you want to go in another direction and have a block (technical, or other reasons)

    Boredom can be sign of a transition period in life.

    QUOTE="Daniel Casson, post: 9722, member: 444"]Is everybody's method of transcription roughly the same? As far as just trying to understand what you're hearing and boil it down to piano, or do you focus on orchestration as well and maybe try to recreate it with all the parts?[/QUOTE]

    How well do you read music? If not at all, I would say follow the way people learn a language. Listen and imitate with both singing and piano. (the singing can also just be imitating an instrument. Not learning vocal parts etc. Just a sing what you play.)

    Personally, I think you need to branch out a bit. It clearly sounds like you are going to film/media/game music.
    In my experience, the number #1 reason composers get rejected by agents and so forth: We have that already.
    Daniel Casson likes this.
  9. Thanks for the music! Symphony 7 Mov. 2 is my favorite Beethoven work, but I've never thought to listen to it for more than enjoyment.

    I should probably clarify that I don't get bored with writing music but the idea I'm trying to write. My struggle is I think if it's a truly good idea, I wouldn't be bored with it.

    I learned piano growing up but was never very good. I'm an extremely slow sight reader but I can do it. How is transcription different from learning a piano piece? Cause for me learning a piece of music was never equivalent to understanding it. I wonder if jazz pianist would have an easier time learning from transcription cause they naturally riff on ideas.

    That's interesting what you say about agents. I always assumed film/media/game was the biggest market for music these days. What in your experience is a good area to branch out into?
  10. Quick reply
    "Naturally" no. Because they practice it a lot it looks effort less.

    Sure, but there are sooooo many aspiring composers. Agents - are fundamentally running a business to make money off of you.
    Nothing underhanded about that either. That is what they do. If they make 20% off of every movie deal, and you are making $1,000 year....

    Impossible for me to answer that for you. I've written here before most people want 3 general areas;
    Artistically rewarding, Make money, Great people to work with.

    2 out of 3 is the best you can realistically aim for.

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