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.
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Taking the Plunge

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Collin Carr, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I've lurked these forums for quite a while but I figured I would finally take the plunge and post something. I've been using my social distancing time to finally try and write/produce some music. I have a solid background in theory but am a real neophyte when it comes to actually composing, so I'm looking for honest feedback and criticism so I can improve my skills. I'm an amateur, but in the true sense of the word - I love music and hope to be able to make my own at the highest level I can.

    That being said, the first piece I'm actually comfortable sharing has kind of an Opening Credits feel, like something for an fantasy/adventure movie I guess. It's short because I don't have a good feel for form yet, and I'm sure the orchestration is pretty hamfisted, but that's why I'm asking for feedback! So, without further ado, please let me know what you think:

    Sylvain Provenzano likes this.
  2. If you've been lurking a while, you know that before even listening to this, I would recommend you present the two handed simple piano version. That's the truest, most revealing and most useful form for this to take.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. The biggest problem - my opinion as a listener - is that you start with cadence after cadence after cadence.

    Cadences create closure. You might not be aware of the technical term but the device you use, mostly every two measures starting at 6,
    is called a Pyhrgian Cadence. (F-G-A. Another example is Eb,F,G etc.)

    Hold off on those until the middle or later in the piece.

    To show you what I mean, look at the score your piece is clearly modeled after. Notice where and how Silvestri uses the Phrygian Cadence.

    Key differences:

    • Silvestri only uses the device once every 4 measures in the opening.
    • His theme uses them as a quarter note (aka: shorter duration than yours.)
    • Places them away from beat 1. Rather they push the music forward to the next down beat of 1.

    Lastly, that "james bond" rip-off Silvestri is doing, later becomes the basis of the C, A, C, D.
    (This is measure 33 in the Avengers)

    Have a look here.

    Take care and be well
    Sylvain Provenzano likes this.
  4. Doug's astute comments as a given, still this is not a two-handed, playable piano sketch. This is a reduction, impossible to play live, and thus useless at this time. Do not work backwards from your sounds, begin from the music at its essence first. Let us hear the two-handed, playable piano essence of your piece.
  5. Hi Doug, thanks so much for taking the time to respond!

    I agree that what I wrote does sound a lot like the clip you posted, but that wasn't actually my model - in fact I'm surprised mine sounds so similar to that. I actually based mine more or less on the opening of Battle Beyond the Stars:


    I used that because it was a simple guide to follow in terms of form, modulations, and orchestration (and also because that soundtrack contains some of the most amazing trumpet clams ever committed to tape!)

    Regarding the Phrygian Cadence, I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually did that on purpose. I picked that as a simple motive that I could base my harmonies on and I thought the movement of the melody would smooth over the cadential effect where it happens in the middle of the phrase - I guess I was pretty wrong about that!

    And Mike, I really appreciate you taking the time to push me on the piano transcription. I'm not a particularly strong pianist myself, so I just started with pencil on paper. As a result there are a couple of places where there are stretches of a 12th or awkwardness because of the key, and also some voice crossing that doesn't work well on piano. Here are the piano version and a recording of it:


  6. So I just started watching the Chord Voicing masterclass and man do I feel pretty chagrined right now... The whole first half hour has basically been saying I approached this whole thing wrong! Well, back to the drawing board!

  7. Such is life. Back to the drawing board. We've all been there.

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