1. Didja accidentally blow through the whole, "We're using our real names" thing on registration? No problem, just send me (Mike) a Conversation message and I'll get you sorted, by which I mean hammered-into-obedient-line because I'm SO about having a lot of individuality-destroying, oppressive shit all over my forum.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. You're only as good as the harshest criticism you're willing to hear.
    Dismiss Notice

Small heroic piece

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Thomas Bryla, May 2, 2020.

  1. Nice piece, I like it. I know the courses of score club, they're great in addition to Mike's.

    What is your piece about ? It sounds like something very american (to me at least) then turn subitly into a medieval thing (because of the dorian harmony i-IV I guess).

    Why did you do a mockup before working on Sibelius ? Isn't Sibelius supposed to be the mockup before working with samples ?

    Btw I hear something strange in the low notes @ 0:16 but I didn't check the score.

    Anyway, good job !
  2. Thanks @Sylvain Provenzano !

    It's a take on a heroic theme. To me this piece or even dorian in itself is medieval.

    I simply did the Sibelius score an hour ago to post here. If I don't work with live orchestras I wouldn't do it at all. Simply to share since I know my short score wouldn't be of much help to most people that aren't me.

    My usual process is short score - samples - full score - orchestra.

    Listening on laptop I don't hear anything at 0:16.
  3. First, and most important:

    Great to hear you post your pieces !!

    What concept are you trying to explore in this that is new to you? (I've never reviewed the ScoreClub course)

    What he is referring to is in measure 7 and in particular beat 3
    You have that minor 9th "rub". It's also on top of an unstable voicing with the 6th that low.

    (I know you know the "lower limits" from big-band stuff).

    . Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 8.34.12 am.png

    One other sound issue - and maybe this an error on my end - but on headphones, most of the music is coming out the left side.

    It's a little odd.


    Score questions/comments

    (I used to tweak my scores to look like this too, and ditched that look about three years ago.)

    I find the bass trombone stave vague with the label. There are not two bass trombones. I would just put all three trombones on the one stave.
    There is such little rhythmic independence, I think it would look perfectly fine. This way the tenors are on the tenors, and the bass on the bass.
    Plus you do this with the trumpets already so it is not as if you are averse to putting 3 on a stave.

    Why 3, 2, 2, 3 for the winds? (Bass clarinet would be a nice double for the left-hand piano at the end. Harp could mimic the winds with right hand instead of double of piano. )

    What was the reasoning behind the Oboe and Clarinets at the start? Seems to me that the Oboe would go with the right hand of the piano, up an octave.
    The Clarinets with the left. This would be in uniform with what you do later with the oboes up an octave to the clarinets.


    Very last point. To each their own. Leaving me without resolving the final chord gives my ears "blue balls"

    Why are you doing that to me? Give me the final chord....... Which is NOT F.

    When you go from G - C/G - Eb (begins the Phrygian cadence) to F Sus4 --------------------- Ahhhhh............. I need my G!!
  4. Thanks for the post, Doug!

    Regarding the minor 9th I deemed it transient enough not to de-stabilize the chord and strong enough melodically dependent on the melody not to cause distraction. I don't hear how the voicing in itself is unstable.

    I don't feel a pan tilt to the left either on headphones or laptop.

    The 4th trombone (2nd bass trombone) comes in measure 10. Usually even for this kind of trumpet writing I would even have the first player on a staff to itself.

    You are totally right about a bass clarinet for the piano left hand at the end! Honestly I didn't hear it in any other place. A thing about the way Alain talks about short scoring is also making me think about what I want to have. In this piece no auxillary other than piccolo and contrabassoon deemed right to me. Harp doubling the chords was also a consideration but I didn't want the attack too pronounced.

    The reasoning behind the middle register woodwinds is that it is simply not that style I was referencing. Think more Silvestri than Williams that probably would have put them an octave up.

    Each chord that I tried just felt too cheasy so I just left it hanging. Play your own G's in your spare time ;)

    I'll try to think more about my take on scoreclub. I really like it but I want to represent it the best I can.
  5. Hah the balls are indeed blue. If you're not feeling the G, consider something else. I played in something real quick.

  6. See you belong here.

    Please know I am not telling you what to do. That's up to you.

    I just try and back up my observations with logic.

    (* And I fucking will play my G's in my own time, in a gold sequences G-string, while going around Sweeden and licking every table I can find)

    Of course, keep the notes/chord if you want it. Just to explain the reasoning why Sylvain pointed it out: (Imagine a director saying this. Whether they are right or not it is very helpful to understand the craft ways to adjust ----which you already do posses)

    As with the chord in measure 7, first is the

    Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 2.34.35 pm.png

    Not a LAW, but the suggested lower limit of minor 6th is above yours. That is part one.

    The 2nd is the minor 9th of the G over the F#.

    What you actually have is very simple on beat 3. A Gmaj7 in third inversion. But the register makes it sound almost anything but a major 7th.
    The F# "pulls" the notes in a different direction. It feels like we are heading to B. (Yes, I play B's on my own time while drinking martinis)

    If you would like me to notate out the "gravity" I refer to let me know. Otherwise, I'll let you be.

    Again......do what you want. It's your music.

    Yeah....they are. Aren't they.

    Well, first know where the "pull is". It's straight-up G. Look at where your piece began. Hmmm. What sonority?

    Forgive my crapping piano playing, but site reading your score and adding on the G. (my free time)

    Oh, I see. More Silvestri........like this ?

    He never stops after two chords ascending by major 2nd. It's always the Phyrgian cadence of bVI, bVII to I (or i).

    He also uses the cliche "Film Music Cadence" of V - III - I from the F to D to Bsus.

    Two very conventional cadences.

  7. #8 Thomas Bryla, May 3, 2020
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
    90's Silvestri ;) At least I'm stuck in 90's-00's Hollywood orchestral writing.

    I hope you know that I'm well aware of the lower interval limits. All of these points were considered heavily during the composition. It was conceived, written and still to me felt as a Dadd9/F# where G acts as a passing tone.

    Do know that all the notes are are carefully selected :)

    Thanks, Aaron! Don't know if that satiates Doug's desires though.
  8. Thanks @Thomas Bryla for sharing the documents of the entire process.
    Thanks @Doug Gibson, because of you I know I'm not crazy :D
  9. See the first post:

    The tone of my message must not come through the internet. I have zero desires for your piece. Sigh.

    What prompted me to reply in the first place was

    I just wanted to clear that up. I added the ending comment. I fear my comments are coming across all wrong. :(
  10. Hi Doug, I'm curious now... This score looks great to me, what did you ditch 3 years ago?
  11. #12 Thomas Bryla, May 4, 2020
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
    @Mattia Chiappa This score layout is largely what I and Don Davis developed so it might have some personalised quirks that doesn't suit everyone.

    @Doug Gibson no worries!
  12. First off I think it looks great too, and that comment is not a criticism in any way. It doesn't get any better than creating a score layout with Don Davis. So we are lucky to have Thomas sharing his work with us.

    You know....... I don't know the actual historical reason for this, but for decades all Hollywood scores have a certain "look". One aspect is bar numbers every bar. The bar numbers at the bottom have a clear function, so that makes perfect sense. (it saves time in the studio).

    What I ditched, (I still have the template so I can revert back at any time) was the avoidance of the french beams next to the instrument names.
    I just don't see the function of them. To me, it makes no difference, and in fact slightly odd-looking.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 6.25.44 am.png

    I personally find the traditional model of having a large bracket for each instrument family, and then sub-brackets to be clearer.

    Maybe @Thomas Bryla has a different point of view and that would be interesting to learn about.

    My own theory is it happened by "default".

    Looking at a score 10 years earlier than the first one posted, (so....1995 ish), you can see on the lower bottom left-hand corner.
    Everyone bought their blank sheet music from this one lady. Kinda fascinating.

    That's the best theory I can come up with.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 6.28.31 am.png

    Anyhow, around 2006 I spent a week tweaking my score templates as hard as possible to be as "Hollywood" looking as possible.
    I just don't use them much.

    I hope I have not side-tracked this thread. Please .....enough of me.

    We should use this thread to comment on Thomas's composition
    Mattia Chiappa likes this.
  13. I tweak mine after every project and I love the process. I have templates that are the most recent for every year going back a few years and I love to see the improvement.

    If this thread can serve as a place to discuss score layout I'll be happy to have it :) It's not like people generally like to talk about in the first place.

    I spoke at length with Don about it and also to Chris which you attached above - albeit Chris doesn't conduct really. Judy Green and JoAnn Kane certainly had something to do with it but remember they had lots of templates and composers/arrangers in the 80's and 90's had specific needs. They didn't choose it simply because. Trust me that none of them simply will settle with what is if they can change it.

    To my eyes at least the thick beams without angled ends are the clearest way to quickly divide in to instrument groups. Barlines will break up sections. So you can quickly see whether the staff belongs to the brass or woodwinds section if you see that the barline doesn't exceed below. Then you can see that 2 staves are grouped in one bracket so it is clear that those are bassoons. If you had angles on them it would simply clutter way too much.

    Sub-brackets is also extraneous information in this regard since all they really tell is what the main brackets do in my example.

    To each his own. Both Don and I compromised on this :) And we butchered Dorico quite a lot!!
  14. I think that is true for everyone. We all have our subjective preferences.

    Just so we are clear, I am not promoting a "right/wrong" dialogue.
    I was simply stating I too had tweaked my scores to look similar, and have gone away from it.

    I find the break of the side beam distracting personally. While you personally feel

    I like them. To each his own. I can't really post my orchestrations, but indeed I have done both styles, and in-between. If the conductor demands one style that is what we go with.

    For my own works - no clients - I created a mix of concert and film score looks. I do actually like having bar numbers on the bottom, even concert scores, and instead of using "braces" as Williams does below, I use the sub-brackets. I also like the "wings" on my brackets.

    I still find myself accustomed to the brackets signify the family group. See the Williams example below.
    To my eye, this is the clearest way of dividing the instrumental families.

    I reserve the braces (the piano stave looking things on the side) for instruments requiring two staves. I don't like mixing symbols. So I use sub-brackets which you can see in the score below. (which omits the wings on the bracket.)

    To each their own.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 11.38.32 am.png
    Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 11.22.40 am.png
  15. Agree with you on braces.

    There really is no right or wrong in this case. It's probably also who you deliver to and who is gonna be conducting. My tweaks come from years of suggestions from conductors to the point now that new conductors I work with go: "Wow, hadn't thought of that." Since that both is for classical symphonic concerts, cross-over concerts and film sessions I know that I'm safe with what I present. And that to me is the goal of this - not to do it in the right way. Not arguing on this though. I think we are on the same page.
  16. #17 Paul Poole, May 5, 2020
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
    My default orchestra score format confession is as follows:

    I use margins that are about half as wide as the Hal Leonard / JW score posted by Doug.

    I leave the wings off my brackets, but I connect the bracket to the systemic barline with a horizontal jog (like the page Doug posted—from L'aussat sur la Raison). And I like brackets that are a little thicker than most, similar to those used in the Sibelius score of the fine piece posted by Thomas.

    I don't sub-bracket violins 1 and 2, since each is its own section.

    I use a helpful rule to logically determine which score order to place certain woodwind doublers (i.e., Picc. / Fl. 3 and Eb Cl. / Bb Cl. 3, etc.)

    I indicate the transposition of each transposing instrument even when it's obvious (e.g., F English Horn instead of English Horn).

    I include tempo markings above the brass.

    I don't bracket timps with percussion, since the timps are their own section, as any timpanist will tell you, but I do give the timps their own, cute little one-stave bracket.

    I put an incipit for the timpani above the first bar, and a pedal matrix for the harp similarly. And I cue timps and harp more than anyone part.

    I use a larger, thicker sans serif font for instrument designations, designed to be easer to read while conducting.

    I don't agree with the house style that says each string section should be labeled in the singular. I understand the rationale given for it, but I don't agree with it. If each string section were truly a singular part, you couldn't divide into two, three, four smaller sections. And I also don't want to use the same nomenclature for a section of strings that I would use when each string part is intended for one player. (I hope no one reports me to the Notation Secret Police. If they come storming into my house in the middle of the night, I will tell them that Hal Leonard annoyingly uses braces where sub-brackets should go. Yes, I will name names.)
    Thomas Bryla likes this.
  17. YES! This I don't see why it's a practice continued! In this case since every string section only has one staff I bracket them together. If any one section has two or more staves they get their own bracket and every other get their own individual bracket. For film recording I often include both on a single 'violins' part.
    Unless I know the specific doubling players in the orchestra I also default to this.
    This to me is extraneous information. You can also say that about my octaved clefs though :)
    That to me bordelines too much information as well. Often I have found not wanting rehearsal marks by strings or at all to be wished by the conductor.
    Don't bracket timps! This is the hill I die on :)
    Since I usually don't know the timp setup and acknowledge the different ways a timpanist pedals I don't do this (being a former timpanist myself) and only leave harp pedals for glissandi.
    For this I have altered Time New Roman to be a bit taller and thinner to take up less horizontal space while maintaining legibility.
    Thanks for pointing this out. Hadn't thought of that linguistic angle.
    Paul Poole likes this.
  18. A subjective/personal note.

    One of the things I discovered early on was that notation was tricking my brain.

    Looking at the following:

    Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 10.30.56 pm.png

    Visually it looks identical. In reality, the two flute staves = 2 people and the two Violin staves = 22.

    Logically I agree with this statement:

    That's probably 100% correct.

    What I like about the grouping with a sub bracket is it shows me the hierarchy of where most people are. I know that is not really the purpose of them, but it helps me none the less. So for that little Twilight Zone ditty, I wrote for Paul the strings looks like

    Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 10.41.13 pm.png

    This way, let suppose, we have 22 violins, 8 Viola, 6 Cello, 4 Basses it visually shows the hierarchy.

    The * I would put in place here, however, is there used to be the historical practice of having Violin 1 and 2 across from each other. In that case,
    what I have done here is no longer of use. Clearly, in that instance you have to think of them as their own section.

  19. We are now deep into music trivia (we should be having beers!)

    I think (and this is not something I think about often) it has to do with the translation from Italian, and it's a translation
    does not really make sense once you add on the plural.

    Viola was just a generic name for any bowed instrument. Cello as a literal translation was “little big viola.”

    The word violin is derived from viola da braccio which basically means "viol for the arm"

    So putting a plural at the end would mean "viol for the arms". Obviously the bow is used with the other arm, so you have now exceeded
    the number of human limbs.

    Cello, as I mentioned above, is derived from the Viola de gamba which meant "viol for the leg".

    Anyhow......I think this is a historical reason why we name them in the singular.

    Do we really want to go around disrespecting Italians?

    So I don't come off the wrong way, I am not lecturing towards you. I am putting this on the forum for anyone reading who might not know the historical reason.

Share This Page