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My First Symphony

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Mikko Rantanen, Nov 17, 2022.

  1. Hi!

    So this was quite a challenge. I composed the whole piece with piano first and then orchestrated it and tried to stay true to my piano version as much as I could. And I made it extra hard because the whole symphony is more or less based on 3 simple motifs which I modulate and develop throughout the movements. I tried to make that piece tell that classic "From Tragic to Triumph" story but I don't know how well I accomplished that because my main goals were first, to finish the piece, and second, to challenge myself with long-form composition and development. Form-wise, I tried to keep the symphony as straightforward and simple as possible.

    I have watched nearly all of Verta's masterclasses, been listening to A LOT of classical music, learning to play piano better and compose a lot of music, and been in a couple of classical music concerts nearby where I live but I'm still very novice at composing orchestral music and would like to improve my skills so I would appreciate very much a critique and feedback :)

  2. Hello Mikko,

    When I saw the 50 minutes length I initially got discouraged, however I did listen to it all while scrolling reddit the other day. I had some troubles registering, so replying now from memory, and take it with reserve as I'm not a pro. I like your symphony! The mockup does it a disservice a bit, it would sound way better with real instruments. Nothing sounded out of place, orchestration is fine to my ears, composition is imaginative and it tells many stories. Now, "many stories" is both good and bad, because it feels like a collection of small themes. I'm missing a sense of a whole, an overarching story and repetition. So that's what I suggest you think about for your next symphony.
    All in all, well done! Writing such a big piece is a big accomplishment.
  3. First of all, a huge thank you for taking the time for listening to the whole piece!

    And also thank you for your feedback. I think I know what you mean about that it kind of lacks cohesion. I focused so much on developing the basic ideas that maybe it's hard to catch the unifying motifs on a first listen since there isn't so much pure repetition on those. And to me the third movement is the weakest of them all, I really struggled with it and I'm still not that happy with how it turned out, but it kind of made sense in that whole picture even though it can sound a little out of the place.

    But anyway, thank you again! It was really quite a challenge and I'm happy that it's done, and I learned A LOT throughout the journey!
  4. Try having a vision to follow and think in longer sections. Maybe you can start with two or three themes and define the overall character of a single movement, and then limit composing to variations to those themes, and repeat them more often. Music can change quickly if it follows a video.
    And the mockup/presentation is important, but it's probably not practical to do a manual mockup for a long piece. The required attention to detail is overwhelming. Maybe NotePerformer can help get a better mockup automatically.
  5. I can understand your point and agree with it.

    The problem is, I kind of did exactly what you said :D The whole symphony is really based on three simple motifs which I develop throughout the piece, but that said, it's not always so obvious. Otherwise it would be pretty boring.

    But I think the pitfall of long form or "symphonic" writing is that it requires a lot of active listening. It's really hard to get all the things at first listen. Sometimes I even find new stuff when I'm listening to my favourite symphonies or the form suddenly just clicks to me. And I'm not trying to defend my piece or anything but sometimes even symphonies from the greatest composers sound something like collection of themes, but after a lot of active listening I start to get grasp of the piece and start to understand it's form and notice the reoccuring motifs and themes.

    But you are right that it would be easier to follow if it had, for instance, a midi preview or mockup rolling in the video.
    I thought of doing separate videos for each of the movements with some kind of midi preview and maybe timestamps of it's form so it would be easier to follow. And also maybe mention the motifs that each section is based on. Would that be a good idea?
    Ivan Milinkovic likes this.
  6. But all in all, you made really good points!

    For next composition I will try to keep the bigger picture in my mind more. And not just develop themes just the sake of it
  7. True! Don't take me seriously, I'm just giving opinions ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Not sure about the piano roll, because I doubt anyone would want to look at it for anything longer than a few minutes. The picture you have now is great! However, notation/score might be interesting to people, but it probably should go with a really good mockup or a live performance.
  8. Yeah, maybe you are right about that midi preview idea. Sure one can only hope for a live performance, it would be a dream come true :D But in a meanwhile I'll continue writing with samples and improving my composing skills
    Ivan Milinkovic likes this.

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