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Recent composition beginning!

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Joe Galloway, May 23, 2019.

  1. #1 Joe Galloway, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    Hey guys, I think I want to continue developing this piece but I'd like some feedback before I go too far into development and orchestration :) Let me know what you think!

    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  2. Maybe it's because I have slept less than three hours, but I think your average listener will have big trouble connecting with this. Imho it needs more repetition and elements of predictability and structure. Reach us a hand to guide us through it and past all the challenging parts. I assume you've seen the Composition 1 Masterclass?
  3. #3 Alexander Schiborr, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    Hej Joe,

    its me again. Nice that you post your progress here on the forum. And nice that you try developing your skills. First of all let me say that I can make out a structure and motif, but not a very inviting one. Somehow I am not quite sure if the harmonic choice is quite compelling to support the melody to make it work and also the voice leading of those underpinning chords I simply find ineffective most of the time.

    Its not clear if you intended parts of the left hand as harmony or counterpoint. Also the melody has this tendency of sounding to me a bit like random or cat music because the rhythmic choice (just tap the ryhthm of your motif) and contour of the lines are hard to grasp and they appear to my ears at being mostly random. There is also a level of confusion, it starts pretty much in the first bar where you literally frustrate the listener with the 3rd note on the f and that is very exemplary for the rest of the piece. That you posted the 2 staff video makes it a bit easier at least to grasp a bit the structure visually, but just do an experiment and close your eyes and listen to that track and at least I end up after the track having a lot of confusion.

    So in a nutshell: Probably this piece makes total sense in your mind and it seems that you are seeking for a specific style in music like that avangarde atonal music which is fine. But be clear that the more unpredictable melodies and chord progressions you present the more you risk confusion. Also a question could be: Dissmissing any satisfying tension and release from functional harmony which is one of the fundamentals of so many great pieces in music history is like trying to ride on a bike with squared tires for me. I mean, I know that there are works from Arnold Schönberg and Alban Berg which cover serielle and 12 tone music approach with their own harmonys and scales which still even those titans can risk some kind of confusion though they are that crafted. Just maybe to think about it first to master the basics before exploring those waters?

    I just youtubed a bit Alban Bergs Violin Concerto and my wife told me: "Oh whats that fine music, it makes you wanna kill yourself". Well..look not that the average consumer music listener should be considered as a dogmatic measurement of quality in music, but I can understand that sentiment totally.

    I remember that my dad had a phase in the mid 90s where he tried out new orchestra music and started listening to Schönbergs music a lot and others in that spectrum and my mum got literally depressed because she couldn´t stand that music at all. MY dad stopped doing that not because of my mum but because he simply didn´t gained a love for that kind of music though he really tried hard. So in the end he returned back to Tschaikowksy, Mahler, Beethoven etc. My dad is now 88 probably he forgot about that few years where my mum left the living room after 1 minute when he turned on 12 tone music.
  4. You know....... I often think someone should write about book about composition that never talks about notes.

    The same melody of your opening two measure, but with a more predictable pattern, and harmonic support.

  5. Now I HAVE to know what that sounds like. Is this the one?

    @Mike Verta: Is writing a book on your bucket list? :D
  6. Oh yeah...but mate..I have highest respect of those entrepreneurs though its nothing what I prefer listening on a daily base tbh.:p
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  7. I just finished listening to the whole thing and while I'm pretty sure it won't find it's way into any playlist of mine either, I'm not too bothered by it. It's like staring into the darkness and catching a glimpse of something beautiful every now and then.

    @Doug Gibson: Is this one where you'd recommend listening to it 10 times? If you say "yes", I'll try to do it!

  8. Thanks for the feedback! I totally understand the point of view here. I did intend for some mixture of quartal chords and triadic chords which may be partially what is sounding off but I'm not sure I agree this is quite in the 12 tone bin yet hahah. I have adjusted that F in the first bar and repeat as I think you're right, it's a little off-putting to have right out the gates. And as far as the bass - it's mostly intended to be harmonic, but jumps in to fill space on empty beats here and there. Again thanks very much! I'll be plucking away trying to fix in more traditional harmony before going too much further

  9. #9 Alexander Schiborr, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    Joe, I know it isn´t , but please understand it has the a similiar vibe to it: Cat music melodies with total unpredictable chord random progressions and structure..my tip and Doug shows you: Make more patterns, repeat, man repetition of a pattern is not bad, and write simpler music where you have more control over your material. Better write something simple but good instead something "pseudo" complex but utterly confusing, that is how I think. You know I could give it a try and write an action cue from Indiana Jones in the style of Williams. Guess what? It will not sound that good simply because I am not that good like him. So by saying that: write simpler stuff, practise that and increase over time the complexity step by step. That takes years and thats fine.
  10. Was this your compositional goal? If so, it's like a chef saying their goal for a dessert is for it to have a low melting temperature and medium viscosity.

    A sterile and academic intent will yield a sterile and academic result. Garbage in; garbage out.*

    You should write whatever kind of music you want; here I advocate control - nothing more, nothing less. Control is the byproduct of craft - the ability to reliably hit an intended experience for your targeted audience. To borrow baseball pitching terminology, a composer must have Location, Movement, and Velocity. Location is being able to reliably hit the target. Movement is being able to get the ball to that target in a combination of expected and unexpected ways, and Velocity is being able to do it quickly; efficiently.

    Whenever I hear music like this, which for the average listener cannot be distinguished from random noise, I present a challenge to demonstrate that it is the product of choice; control; craft. The challenge is to write a compelling ditty using a simple chord progression, like I-IV-V. This being the simplest, most elementary of skills, instantly reveals whether the composer has any actual control or craft. Picasso could draw stick figures, too.

    Let's hear your simple, predictable, but compelling take on a I-IV-V, after which we have a meaningful context within which to discuss your other aims.


    *my personal music goals are things like, "Make girls wet," or "Grown men cry."
  11. Thanks very much for the response! Hearing it phrased as the chef puts a great perspective on it for me haha, I understand a little more now how I sound (ridiculous). Here's a quick mock-up of a I-IV-V, for further instruction.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  12. Hahaha great way to put it (by your wife).

    I really tried with that music in university. I remember forgetting about a 12-tone row assignment and completing it in about 10 minutes, after which I got an A...
    The closest I could get, really, was Bartok; I still love dissonant atonal passages but only when they say something, like "Hey, this Lovecraftian creature is beyond your comprehension and the music represents your gradual descent into insanity".

    Really been enjoying Schöenberg's tonal stuff, though.
  13. This gives me French, turn of the century vibes like Debussy and the like. I enjoy the harmony / texture but find it hard to follow structurally. Also not sure about the chord at bar 6 but that could just be my ears not having listened to this type of music in a while.

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