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General Category => Chit Chat => Topic started by: Jamie Kowalski on November 26, 2014, 07:15:50 AM

Title: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jamie Kowalski on November 26, 2014, 07:15:50 AM
We don't always have something to share, but I'm sure a lot of people here are hard at work on interesting things. What are you all up to at the moment?

I've been slowly putting in more and more hours per week composing, and I'm now at almost 20 hrs/week. That's pretty good for me, considering full-time employment and how good TV has been lately.

For several months, I've been working on seven pieces simultaneously. Five are movements for a suite of bagatelles for orchestra, and two are movements for a piano suite I'm calling "Waterforms" (with a third movement not yet started). I've been rotating through all seven of them fairly regularly, trying not to let any individual one sit for too long at a time. It sounds a bit masochistic, but it turns out this is a great way for me to work. The time away from each piece gives my brain a chance to refresh itself and think of new ideas, and the constant writing keeps my creative inertia going. I haven't felt this disciplined in a very long time -- especially while not having an actual deadline looming!

During the week I work on one or two sections in the evening, then dump the new versions to my iPod before shutting down the studio. Then I listen to everything a few times on the way to and from work on Metro the next day. By the time I get home, I know which section I want to work on that evening.

So what are all of you working on? Let's hear the gory details!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Ron on November 26, 2014, 07:41:47 AM
I keep hacking away at a work for orchestra using First Nations themes. There are a couple of problems with that. One, I've found that what I thought were parodies of North American aboriginal music in "Western" movies when I was a kid, were not, in fact, parodies. It is very hard to use the melodies of native North Americans and not have it wind up sounding like a parody. Also, I am generally having trouble with orchestral music these days and keep getting bogged down.

So, to ease my mind I work at duets for various combos, like the flute and guitar ones, as they, because of the limitation of just two voices, help keep me focused--and I can work at something for ten minutes without winding up exhausted by the effort. (It can take me ten or more minutes to write just one measure for full orchestra.)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jamie Kowalski on November 26, 2014, 07:56:19 AM
So, to ease my mind I work at duets for various combos, like the flute and guitar ones, as they, because of the limitation of just two voices, help keep me focused--and I can work at something for ten minutes without winding up exhausted by the effort.
I identify with this. After I finish an orchestral work, I can't stand to try to write for orchestra again for awhile. Nothing comes out right until I after I do a little chamber work.

Quote
(It can take me ten or more minutes to write just one measure for full orchestra.)
I'd be ecstatic if I could write an orchestral measure in ten minutes. If I include all the adjustments and rewrites, I'm probably averaging closer to two hours per measure.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on November 26, 2014, 08:35:30 AM
I'm envious... I cannot work on two pieces at once. They tend to blur into a single entity and sound like movements of the same piece.
So I have to keep to a single piece at any time, unless I really put one piece aside for a prolonged period to work on another.

Right now I'd KILL to be writing orchestral music. I'm sick of chamber music, sick of it, sick of it, sick of it. I want to work on something HUGE. You know, another one of those pieces that will never really see the light of day, that no one will ever perform?

Anyway, I'm sitting around doing some minor revisions on some of my earlier works while I wait for the contracts to arrive for the clarinet quintet.  So far, I've adjusted details of counterpoint in my Mass, some rhythmic details in my 2nd symphony, and some minor engraving issues in a few of my sonatas.

Oh, and of course I got my garrison to level 3 in Draenor, and am working on the mounts achievement from my Stables, while levelling my Engineer and my Alchemist. (for the geeks out there)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jamie Kowalski on November 26, 2014, 09:36:14 AM
I'm envious... I cannot work on two pieces at once. They tend to blur into a single entity and sound like movements of the same piece.

In this case, they are intended to be movements of the same two works -- so maybe I cheated in my count.

Quote
Right now I'd KILL to be writing orchestral music. I'm sick of chamber music, sick of it, sick of it, sick of it. I want to work on something HUGE. You know, another one of those pieces that will never really see the light of day, that no one will ever perform?

It's always my favorite, even without the expectation of performances. I have been slowly scaling down the forces over the years, though... I'm down to one percussionist now!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: tbmartin on November 26, 2014, 10:54:41 AM
Zilch. Zip. Nada.

Well, not quite true, but pretty darn close to it.  I did a few arrangements for 8-piece sax ensemble in the summer and then did 5- and 4-horn versions of the same. Those were a whirlwind of activity. In that same stretch, I started a quartet that still languishes. The Fall is always a sink-hole for me. High School marching season, busy time at work, etc. They all conspire against me. It's also why you have all heard mostly radio silence from me on the forum recently.  Winter is usually easier. I look forward to it. (Plus, it's ski season!!)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on November 26, 2014, 12:53:27 PM
Finishing the last three pages of score entry for the final version of the Divertimenti.

Dreading the whole score clean-up process... it's about 90 pages and it's so tedious.

Though this time I tried something new for the parts and I think I may have hit a home run there.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on November 27, 2014, 06:30:48 AM
Quote
I've been rotating through all seven of them fairly regularly, trying not to let any individual one sit for too long at a time. It sounds a bit masochistic, but it turns out this is a great way for me to work. The time away from each piece gives my brain a chance to refresh itself and think of new ideas, and the constant writing keeps my creative inertia going.

Jamie, this is how I work, too. When I get into a groove like this, it just feels "right."

I'm currently working on four pieces, one of which is a milonga for concert band. I've been researching milonga so that what I write is at least similar to the forms and styles of milonga I've researched. I've taken on this project thanks to the threads in this forum on milonga--just seemed really interesting to me. I don't know if I can pull this off, but I'm trying.

On Monday, I worked on landing a 20-pound king mackerel 15 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico (see attached--me on the right). Yes, it was delicious marinated in Italian dressing and grilled.

Today, however, I'm working on a 12-pound turkey, green bean casserole, assorted side dishes, cakes, and pies for our Thanksgiving feast. To forum members celebrating Thanksgiving today, happy Thanksgiving!

Art

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Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jamie Kowalski on November 27, 2014, 10:51:03 AM
Holy mackerel!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: perpetuo studens on November 27, 2014, 06:14:00 PM
I'm currently working on two pieces: the Scherzo for my string quartet (80% complete) and a new nocturne for piano (no. 4).

This is an experiment for me, having worked on only a single piece at a time for some years now. I'm finding that it does help to get away from one piece for a day or two while I work on the other - I get new ideas while I'm away and hear it with fresh ears when I return (although sometimes that means discovering that I hate the last bits I wrote and have to rip them out). OTOH it feels like it takers forever to move anything forward (OK, it's always been that way, but now forever seems longer :)).

Nice to know everyone has works in progress though...means we'll have a new crop to enjoy and review soon!

Maybe this should become one of those threads that never dies but just gets added to when someone starts a new project...

Jamie
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: RJB54 on November 28, 2014, 04:51:56 AM
For myself, I'm kind of running on empty at the moment.

In terms of rewrites/fixes on already posted pieces to reflect comments/suggestions, I have my 2nd and 3rd String Symphonies, Metamorphosis #1, and my 1st Chamber Symphony which is desperately in need of a major, from the ground up, rewrite. I also need to put the finishing touches on my 1st Alto Sax Sonata and to finish the 3rd movement of my 2nd Violin Sonata, both of which were delayed by my health issues and which I've never gotten back to.

In terms of new work, I think I need to cleanse my palate a bit and change things up. To that end I have started preliminary work on a 4th Essay and a 2nd String Quartet, both of which will be more avant-garde than the things I have posted here so far.

I don't know when any of this will come to fruition though since, as I said above, I'm currently not finding the inspiration.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jamie Kowalski on November 28, 2014, 06:34:54 AM
Rewrites and cleanups shouldn't be ignored during your creative slow periods. I'm actually regretting not having finished cleaning up the score for Museum of False Memories before getting this involved in new stuff. I've also been meaning to do a major rework of an older orchestral piece for a couple of years now... sketches are all over the place.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: mjf1947 on November 28, 2014, 08:24:40 AM
I Just finished re working my trilogy for English horn and strings. I made some minor changes.

At the moment I've been very busy playing Oboe. Last weekend my teacher held a "Salon" for her adult students
In Manhattan.  I played the Gordon Jacob Trio for 2 Oboes and English Horn, the Bach Kanata 140 (without the signers), and a Bach duet.
We  had  champagne and a full lush dinner.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PfTZnEclfpg

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Aln7USDW_s4

I am thinking about writing for Oboe. I played an interesting melodic line the other day which generated a few ideas.

One note of  caution.   My mouse finger is showing signs of wear  and tear!

Mark

Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: FossMaNo1 on December 02, 2014, 03:18:11 PM
What am I working on? Yikes!

I am getting my church orchestra ready for our Chirstmas performance here on 14th (I actually got a check for $100 from my Music Minister this last weekend as "thanks" for my efforts on his behalf - woohoo!).

The High Plains Music Ensemble is prepping for our Feb "Tour of Space" Concert in which I will be conducting "Battlestar Galactica" and a Star Trek Medley. Neither are really difficult pieces. The only furstration lays in our limited orchestration, sometimes forcing me to piecemeal parts together.

I am part of an Interfaith Christmas Choir also performing on the 14th (this is the group where the pianist asked the conductor to ask me to re-bar the entire work from 12/8 to 6/8...once I did she thanked me and mention it made her head hurt less).

I got a whopper of a flu this last Thursday night (U.S. Thanksgiving). I went to work Friday and was summarily kicked out of the office by my coworkers. Went to bed when I got home. Woke up Saturday morning not feeling any better and realized I still had to get up and run a belt test at my dojo (as the sensei, I kinda can't just call those off...). Got home again and stayed in bed until Sunday morning when I finally felt better. Of course, by then I'd passed along whatever it was I had to my wife...stayed with her through Monday to make sure she was okay (It knocked me out, I figured it had to do the same with her).

I've been wanting to pick up my pencil and sketch again, but I am kinda intimidated to do so. You see, I have three requests and I don't know with which to start with. None of them are paying commissions... hehehe. My church wants me to write something for next Summer's orchestra concert (and by "orchestra" I mean teeny weeny little thing). The principal conductor of my High Plains Music Ensemble would like a concerto for horn and concert band to be performed by the HPME. And, while I was in Texas, I was asked to write a bassoon/piano piece that is "nature" inspired. I'm thinking 3 movements, one of which will be titled "Fall Leaves, Leaves Fall," and hopefully feature the bassoon spastically following a leaf as it falls from a tree in Autumn.

Gah, anything else?!

Oh yeah...I've been sending my "Cosmic Foundations" out to community bands across the midwest U.S. I've gotten quite a few positive reposnses, but no commitments yet. With this time of year, I imagine it be a couple months before I hear anything. Still, my SoundCloud account "plays" has skyrocketted!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Brendan on December 03, 2014, 03:19:28 PM
Have to admit I've entered a creative slow period (again) due to "real life" commitments...a state of affairs not likely to change until the new year! :(

But for what it's worth, am trying to get started on a second movement to my most recent (and as yet untitled) offering, as well as still struggling along with the "Dies Irae" from my "Missa Requiem Pro Maria"

Not that I'm making much progress on either...
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: altasilvapuer on December 04, 2014, 10:11:38 PM
For me, things have been frustratingly quiet for a while, now.  Part of this explains my time away from the forum and my time away from the forum likely explains some of the quiet.  Interesting, how that works, sometimes.

I'm finally sketching a little more, again.  As much as I've tried, I've found it equally difficult to set my symphony aside for something else as to find the next movement for said symphony.  So, my work stagnates.

I must say, though, Mark: The opening of that Jacob was fascinating.  It actually made me really angry at the clock, because I would love to fiddle with similar things far more than go to bed.  ;)

-Matthew
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Abel Project on December 30, 2014, 12:12:43 AM
Working on too many pieces, not all of them classical. The problem ist that I have a nice melody in my head every week but no time to work on it, so I just write it down and leave it there. I could need an orchestrator or something even better :)
I´m working a little on a piece I call "The danube (die Donau in German)" and I have another piece more a bit moive-oriented, LOTR, that is.
Then there´s a piano piece I started to write a long time ago and which is going nowhere at the moment - maybe because I don´t know too much about piano music and I should do a lot of listening and reading piano pieces before I continue..... 
I wonder if there EVER will be enough time to work on all of this.....

Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jamie Kowalski on December 30, 2014, 06:50:29 AM
Progress on my orchestral bagatelles has gotten very slow lately. I keep making huge changes, then hating them the next day. I've been spending way too many hours writing things that I eventually erase.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on December 30, 2014, 08:33:15 AM
Quote
Progress on my orchestral bagatelles has gotten very slow lately. I keep making huge changes, then hating them the next day. I've been spending way too many hours writing things that I eventually erase.

I wouldn't view this as a setback. I'd think of it more as steps in the right direction to get me to what I do like. Frustrating, yes. A necessary step, probably.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on December 30, 2014, 08:40:20 AM
Finished note entry, now working on cleaning up/changing a few transitions that have bugged me for a while.

Looking forward to another project...  :P
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on December 30, 2014, 09:40:24 AM
I'm finishing my concert band work "Milonga Ornamental." I will post it here soon.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: FossMaNo1 on December 30, 2014, 10:59:49 AM
This year-end has been kicking my butt! I have only been able to sporadically work on my Horn and Concert Band piece. Of course, I have been going back and forth between transposing it down a half-step to put it in a more reasonable key (from Bb-minor to A-minor).
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on December 30, 2014, 08:24:52 PM
try to figure out how discernable should three doubling horns sound behind an arco string section (how large?) given the registers, both forte; speaking of registers play with the idea of sending the strings an octave higher for a phrase which turns out to be not a bad idea and means extra work, meanwhile make sure whether writing concert pitch C5# for the horns is anathema, meanwhile get disturbed by the sound of the horns and start looking at a few alternative soundfonts which turns into a full fledged audition and meanwhile check and listen to and get distracted by a zillion related/unrelated, significant and mostly insignificant things , and meanwhile write this message :)...thus passes the whole night and no concrete progress in terms of finished measures.

Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on September 01, 2016, 03:51:10 PM
Not easy times to concentrate on music.

A long-fallowed project: a short piece with a contemplated choral (plus orchestra) middle section, drawing on the Fauré and Ravel pavanes. A rough recording of the (tentative) opening attached. Do you think it could be worth resuming sometime?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on September 01, 2016, 04:16:39 PM
Quote
Do you think it could be worth resuming sometime?

It's hard to tell from the clip you posted. How about a lengthier mp3 and score?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on September 01, 2016, 04:41:52 PM
Thanks Art, I guess that's a fair reply. It seems I'll have to take another plunge into it sometime to even see where it goes. :)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on September 01, 2016, 05:00:35 PM
really, only you can know if something is "worth continuing".
it depends on how it inspires you.
does it seem to open up new avenues for you? do you feel that there is material in it that you would take pleasure in developing?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on September 01, 2016, 06:47:38 PM
You're right, of course. I think I'll sometime take another chance with this piece as I do find exciting the prospect of seeing how the material will unfold and lend itself to developing/orchestration with the chosen models.

The melody line partly heard in the opening has been with me for a very long time and it has become like an obsession to be on the lookout to find a suitable cloak to put it into music. Part of the problem is  my changing understanding regarding melodies/tunes/themes in music in the meantime. So, the challenge has somewhat become trying to write good music despite melody. Anyway, with the strong partners-in-crime I have chosen in this project I do have hopes for a good result :)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on September 01, 2016, 08:45:44 PM
I'm slowly sketching ideas for the last movement of my violin concerto.
VERY slowly.
I'm really really happy with the first two movements, and for me that just adds WAY more stress. I feel that the last movement has to be "up to the standard". I shouldn't worry. It's not like I'd ever write something crappy and just tack it on "just to finish" a piece, but still, it's added stress.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on September 01, 2016, 09:42:51 PM
I'm slowly sketching ideas for the last movement of my violin concerto.
VERY slowly.
I'm really really happy with the first two movements, and for me that just adds WAY more stress. I feel that the last movement has to be "up to the standard". I shouldn't worry. It's not like I'd ever write something crappy and just tack it on "just to finish" a piece, but still, it's added stress.

Two perfectly good endings...  ;D
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on September 02, 2016, 12:00:53 AM
when I was younger, I'd drive my piano teacher mad by always ending scale exercises with the 2nd of those endings.

I'm slowly sketching ideas for the last movement of my violin concerto.
VERY slowly.
I'm really really happy with the first two movements, and for me that just adds WAY more stress. I feel that the last movement has to be "up to the standard". I shouldn't worry. It's not like I'd ever write something crappy and just tack it on "just to finish" a piece, but still, it's added stress.

Two perfectly good endings...  ;D
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: tbmartin on September 02, 2016, 06:15:55 AM
I've finally kicked myself into high gear on "411 Fanfare." My initially posted sketches were so preliminary that comments on the music were essentially impossible. However, one thought tossed out by Periwink was to block out the piece to get a sense of the overall structure.

So I did. I listed the sections on paper with initial thoughts as to what voicing I might use (no more specific than "woodwinds", "brass", percussion"). I then pasted the sketches in that order, with no thought to transitions between sections, not even changing the voicing yet to match my ideas. Basically, I used "musical duct tape" in order to just get a Finale file that would play top-to-bottom.

Wow. What an eye opener! Suddenly I knew where I needed to go! I've kept each section as a separate file so I'm only working on one 16-bar chunk at a time. It seems to keeps me from chasing squirrels.

It's been about 10 years since I first had the idea of trying an original piece for full-band, and I'd gotten discouraged that I'd ever get one done. I felt totally overwhelmed. Now I can see the path forward. For the more seasoned composers on the forum this probably won't seem like much of a revelation, but for someone like me who has only done arrangements up to now, this was a huge breakthrough.

Look for a decent full-draft in the next few weeks!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Periwink on September 02, 2016, 01:09:30 PM
Good to hear Martin!:)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on September 06, 2016, 03:04:41 PM
Since I now have a premiere date set for my 3rd symphony (May 7th, 2017, in Seattle), I had better get my butt in gear and FINISH the damned symphony!

I started work on the 1st movement (2nd and 3rd are done, 4ths is partially sketched).
I now have about a minute and a half sketched out of the opening movement. It's going to be a handful.. it's far more dissonant than what I normally write. juuuuust borderline atonal.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on October 15, 2016, 12:11:55 PM
Revisiting a work I started in 2002 and repurposing it. Was supposed to be a symphony for band (that I never finished); I'm re-writing the first movement as an overture-type piece for orchestra.

No clue what to call this... March Militaire? Something to that effect... :-p
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on October 15, 2016, 12:22:34 PM
"Marche Recylée"?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: RJB54 on October 15, 2016, 12:43:12 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on October 15, 2016, 12:50:09 PM
or... and I'm sort of going out on a limb here...
if it's a really tonal work, try going with an incredibly pretentious pseudo-scientific title, or something ridiculously obscure and "philosophical"... like some totally out of context quote from a book.. and make sure the quote is just long enough to make for an uncomfortable title, and yet, just short enough so that no one knows that the quote actually means.

Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: tbmartin on October 15, 2016, 01:16:27 PM
You mean something like "Pain in the diodes down my left side."?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on October 15, 2016, 01:22:43 PM
Yeah, going through the piece so far, I can see hints of "my" tonal language, but a lot of it is really conventional. I wrote this a long time ago, musically.

Something simple for the title will definitely work... I'll leave the pretention to some of my former cl-assmates in college. ;-)

I'm thinking "Martial Overture" or somesuch.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on October 15, 2016, 01:34:06 PM
"Martian Overture"... I like it! Good idea.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on November 07, 2016, 07:03:34 PM
So I've reached the "end" of my original movement, but I need to actually provide a "real" ending to make this a functional single-movement piece.

Since this whole piece is in a relentless minor key realm (Fm -> C#m -> Bbm -> Gm), it's got to be in a major key, just to lighten the damned thing up and give it a good ending.

...and it's gotta be done by the end of the year. HELP!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on November 07, 2016, 08:52:51 PM
take a fragment, preferably something really catchy, of one of the main themes, turned major, and change the tempo radically?
make it really heavily contrapuntal or antiphonal?
or make it a gradual crescendo ostinato with a surprise twist at the end?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on November 07, 2016, 09:18:58 PM
I've got a horn lick for the very end that will dazzle and amaze (and probably drive the hornists crazy).

But still not there... I've mapped out what I want to do, it's just a matter of de-stressing enough that I can actually relax enough to sit and write and not tear myself apart.

Depression sucks. :-p
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on November 09, 2016, 04:33:52 PM
I have to finish the violin concerto.. but I'm tempted first to take Flint up on his suggestion that I make a version for clarinet and string orchestra of my clarinet quintet.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: SethT888 on November 11, 2016, 09:47:50 AM
Lately I've mostly been casting around trying out ideas looking for one that seems like it's got enough life in it to develop. It's a bit frustrating really. I seem to be going through a phase where it's hard for me to distinguish what's working and where an idea might go. But I persevere. Our insane election down here in 'Merika' land isn't helping. The background anxiety is a real challenge to try to focus through, but I guess that's one of those mental muscles that it's good to develop anyway.
Seth
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on November 11, 2016, 05:01:28 PM
A snippet from a not-too-recent addition to the ever-getting-larger dump of abandoned ideas :)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: SethT888 on November 11, 2016, 08:14:50 PM

Hey Sandalwood,
     I like your snippet. You where definitely getting an atmosphere of something interesting. Are you sure you don't want to pull that off the heap and brush it off for some more work?
Seth
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on November 12, 2016, 06:26:48 AM
Quote
A snippet from a not-too-recent addition to the ever-getting-larger dump of abandoned ideas

I think this snippet has great potential. Why are you abandoning it?

Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on November 12, 2016, 06:28:25 AM
Thanks Seth! That was actually an "applied" reply to your previous post on the difficulty of distinguishing ideas to bounce from those that should be waved in. Yes, it is difficult for sure!

I tend to think it is a "compound" difficulty. First I believe there is a truth to the notion of sorting ideas that merit sticking to from the others. But then, one could still easily fail or waste an idea which would actually "work" had she approached it with a different mindset, in a different context or simply on another day.

Reha
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on November 12, 2016, 08:26:26 AM
Thanks Art! Tempted by some bassoon works middle mvts by some (very) old masters, I sketched my reply :) to them. Then, I happened to let some local ideas in the opening take an entirely different course and start growing into a distinct work (with different instrumentation, etc; re. the snippet) for which I had the pretext of having no prior mental, sketchwise etc  preparation, so I stopped. Then, as the (ever-present) doubts as to their merits intensified, I scrapped/fallowed both the emergent idea and the original idea of a bassoon adagio. The old masters were thus spared of a serious rival.

Thanks for the encouragement! It surely helps to know an idea might be worth considering to redeem.

Edit: The bassoon accompaniment figure in the snippet, by the way, is stolen/inspired from the oboe melody in the opening of the second piece ("Napolitana") of Stravinsky's Suite No.1 for Small Orchestra; that is if it was his own invention in the first place. At any rate it is about time he sees some retaliation for all his pillage and plundering.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on February 17, 2018, 04:20:55 AM
Lately, I have been listening and reading, looking into salvaging a number of melodies/ideas aging in my hoarder's cache, writing them into a series of (very) short pieces for a duo or for even lesser:) forces.  Then, a couple of days ago, reading a forum post by ttw, who (far too infrequently :()  posts delicious Latin pieces,  I was reminded that I also had some "latin-sounding" material in storage. So I switched, temporarily, to looking into whether I could use some of them to write a close as possible to passable ;D Latin piece. Below, I'm attaching a few moments of the probable opening melody; will you kindly tell me  if you've heard it before?

The sounding instruments in the audio are only place-holders and my, yet, very early listening/reading tells me I have to provide many, many more layers of rhythm, harmony, etc. to the presently sounding texture. Still, with this very little available, if you have an idea whether this sounds worth devoting time or not, I would appreciate hearing it.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on February 17, 2018, 06:05:51 AM
Quote
Still, with this very little available, if you have an idea whether this sounds worth devoting time or not, I would appreciate hearing it.

Entirely worth it. First, I'd polish the melody with a bit more variety, syncopation, and an interval leap or two. Then I'd probably pause there and review the melody over and over in my head to see if any kind of ensemble sprang up--it usually does for me. This review sometimes takes minutes, hours, or days. If not, I'm thinking a smaller ensemble--a trio or quartet, perhaps, the instruments of which are yet to be determined.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on February 17, 2018, 08:16:18 AM
Thanks a lot for the tips and ideas, Art!  As I could learn so far, the genre (afro-cuban/son montuno/conjunto) requires the use of at least 3-4 distinct, traditional, continuous rhythms played on bongo/conga drums, cowbells, timbale shells, etc, besides the essential claves. These are in addition to harmony/rhythm/(bass) on the piano, plus any dedicated bass instrument, wind(s) etc. I'll have to take my time to do a good deal of targeted listening etc to shape the remaining plethora of decisions to make. I may choose not to comply with the conventions, though that might be a better idea for the second piece. :)

I have two more themes as sequel to the opening one but I'm somehow more confident as to their originality. I felt I needed to check the (posted) opening theme to avoid toiling in vain.

Thank you Art, much appreciated!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: gogreen on February 18, 2018, 05:50:11 AM
As I could learn so far, the genre (afro-cuban) requires the use of at least 3-4 distinct, traditional, continuous rhythms played on bongo/conga drums, cowbells, timbale shells, etc, besides the essential claves. These are in addition to harmony/rhythm/(bass) on the piano, plus any dedicated bass instrument, wind(s) etc. I'll have to take my time to do a good deal of targeted listening etc to shape the remaining plethora of decisions to make. I may choose not to comply with the conventions, though that might be a better idea for the second piece. :)

My sense on your snippet, then, is to keep it light. I might try the "required" percussion with an instrumental octet or nonet.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on February 18, 2018, 12:06:33 PM
Exactly! Such an orchestra, it seems, starts from 6-8 people (2 examples below)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV5gJz6J8D4 (Kudos to casually smoking guitarist!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c4B38DD7PQ

and practically no limit to how crowded it could go up. My snippet is, as I said before, very incomplete in its parts&instruments considering the "requirements" I aim to more or less fulfil for the time being. .

The purpose I posted the snippet was to ask if I had inadvertantly stolen the melody.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on February 18, 2018, 01:31:46 PM
For the first few notes I thought I was going to hear a new version of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.
 
Cheers,
Jer
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on February 18, 2018, 07:44:45 PM
Thank you Jer!  I did eventually wake up to that similarity/association but (curiously) regarded it as harmless although I  tend to get nervous even over such partial associations. Actually it is a rather simple "melodi"c idea that I think any song writer can bump into, so I was anxious to know if it was, for instance, a childhood reminiscence from a then well-known piece. It has been sitting in storage for years, thinking I might some day do something with its "latin-sounding" ways.

[Edit:...and when I started tinkering a few days ago, I had to slightly change the melody so that it fits a traditional mother rhythm (clave)]

The funny side of all this endeavor is that, though very fond of many "Latin" pieces since childhood, I am totally ignorant on its innerworkings and the (presumed) vast world of its technicalities, intricacies, etc. So, I am currently trying to walk in almost total darkness and with some courage that the ignorant tend to have. Much fun! :)

Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on February 19, 2018, 06:19:41 AM

Quote
I am currently trying to walk in almost total darkness and with some courage that the ignorant tend to have.

That's an eloquent phrase!

And it presciently captures the way I've approached learning music all my life.

Cheers,
Jer
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: mjf1947 on February 19, 2018, 07:56:53 AM
A snippet from a not-too-recent addition to the ever-getting-larger dump of abandoned ideas :)

This is a very interesting/mysterious opening .... I would suggest to add some "Renaissance type percussion" to the musical line.

I would definitely continuance to develop it. 

I would also add additional instruments to create a period style piece.  Maybe a lute, guitar, lyre, tambourine etc.

Have fun~!  ;D

Mark

PS: I am tempted to steal the musical line ... I really like it.  ;)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on February 19, 2018, 09:55:30 AM
I am tempted to steal the musical line ... I really like it.  ;)

Consider it yours, Mark!

...and thanks for the ideas and suggestions. :)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on March 11, 2018, 12:26:37 AM
This is the same intro with most instruments on board (otherwise yet very raw, even the harmony mostly arbitrary). Do you think it sounds so far like it might make some sense with this set up?

Please use headphones :)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Patrick O'Keefe on March 11, 2018, 01:24:22 PM
Boy, what a disappointment when it abruptly ends!  Yes, it certainly makes sense.

I agree with Jerry that the first few seconds sound like it's going to be Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring but it delightfully goes off in another direction.

An advantage of not knowing the internal working of Latin music is that you will put in your piece the elements of Latin music that appeal to you rather than what "belongs" there.  That makes it yours.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on March 11, 2018, 05:12:33 PM
Thanks Pat! It's a relief to hear it does make sense with the set-up.

I have been listening and reading like mad but there is so much to know that I'm aware I'm only scratching the surface and the faculty to make this music seems to be acquired, as I understand, not through eyes and ears but rather through the skin, so mine will be in any case a try "from the outside". Add to this that I'm pretty much rhythm-handicapped whereas this music is all about rhythm.

Besides, this is a singers and "coro"s music , especially the sub-genre that I have in mind to keep close to. So, I figure I'll be "monkey"ing some solution, using some instrument(s) to represent the lead-singer and the chorus. Yeah not for the faint-hearted or shall we say messy times ahead :)
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on March 11, 2018, 05:51:34 PM
I've finished the string quartet, score and parts are ready for first rehearsals this month.

Now I have to decide on the next project. I have three commissions, but no specific dates for them (except one which is for the "2019-2020 concert season").

I don't have the exact confirmation of what the requirements are for that piece, all I know is it's string quartet and orchestra, but is it just a string orchestra? or a full orchestra with brass and woodwinds? I probably won't know until the summer.

Then I have a piano concerto to write, but I'm waiting to see how the financing on that project will work. It's an exciting project with a relatively well-known soloist. But then comes into play my reticence to write for my own instrument. This commission has no set date yet.

Then there's the 2nd movement of my "Impressions" suite for orchestra. Ideally, that would be for the 2018-2019 concert season.

And not a commission but a project I really need to finish, my violin concerto. I have three violinists interested in it, each with their own guaranteed orchestras.

So right now I'm "working on" deciding what I need to work on... and working on getting some rest after working such extended hours finishing that quartet. The pay is TOTALLY not worth it. Thankfully, the performance will make up for it.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on March 13, 2018, 04:54:12 PM
I'm knocking wood for all the good news that keeps coming, Michel. Really glad to hear about the growing attention your music is getting. I surely think it is well (and long) deserved. Curious to hear the quartet, no need to say.

Power to you for keeping in schedule with the commissions and best wishes for more lucrative ones.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Ron on June 17, 2018, 07:07:48 AM
I was working on what I called a sonata for strings. I spent about 6 months on the first movement and posted an audio version on FaceBook, as I hadn't yet cleaned it up for presentation here. The only comment I got was a nasty put down from a family member. I've since abandoned it and am now tinkering aimlessly.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on June 17, 2018, 02:43:37 PM
The title sounds very intriguing. Won't you let us hear it?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Ron on June 17, 2018, 03:08:34 PM
The title sounds very intriguing. Won't you let us hear it?


Here's the sound file. I don't want to post it in the regular space because I don't have the energy or motivation to clean up the score for presentation. A couple of things motivated this: one was because I was pissed off with people on a FaceBook group insisting that exact replication of sections was part of the sonata format. Anyone who listens to a Beethoven sonata knows what utter nonsense that is, but I was irritated and wanted to write something where the different sections never repeated verbatim and, in fact, were marked different presentations each time.

www.ronaldjbrown.com/cf/string_sonata_m1.mp3
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on June 17, 2018, 03:52:12 PM
Wow!!!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 17, 2018, 04:08:42 PM
I have only ever ONCE repeated a section verbatim in a sonata form piece, that was my viola sonatina. I did it very much on purpose.
but then, chances are your facebook group would have taken offense at there being no actual recapitulation of both themes in the tonic at the end of the movement, as well?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Ron on June 17, 2018, 04:12:06 PM
I have only ever ONCE repeated a section verbatim in a sonata form piece, that was my viola sonatina. I did it very much on purpose.
but then, chances are your facebook group would have taken offense at there being no actual recapitulation of both themes in the tonic at the end of the movement, as well?

Handel and Haydn seemed to be their role models--and we all know that music ended when they died, right?

Sorry if I am coming across as bitter. I have been fighting a serious bout of depression for months and having the only comment to something I worked so hard on for 6 months a rude and nasty remark from a family member has not helped my state of mind.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on June 17, 2018, 05:00:00 PM
Ron, I humbly think this is quite a feat and that you should definitely complete this work.

Reminds me of the sensibilities and pathos in some (superb) works of some Baltic composers (P Vasks and others) and of Shostakovich.

Recording is very good in general. Is it plain GPO4?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: perpetuo studens on June 17, 2018, 05:09:29 PM
I highly recommend Charles Rosen's Sonata Forms as an antidote to this silly, silly idea. IMO this sort of thing comes from those who fail to understand that music precedes the theory that (tries) to describe it, not the other way around.

Also...what Reha said ("wow").

Jamie
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on June 17, 2018, 05:30:46 PM
Currently working on nothing right now. I finished the English Horn quartet and rewrote a (never used) movement of my first "symphony" for harp solo.

Dealing with depression and just not feeling like touching the keyboard to work on anything.

First English Horn quartet rehearsal on Saturday, looking forward (and not looking forward) to that.

Only thing in the stable right now is my long-languishing string piece. It give me anxiety to even think about working on that.

Taking a harp lesson next month to improve my understanding and get some real tips (that haven't been repeated verbatim through 10 different orchestration texts by lazy authors). Have an idea for a showpiece for two harps and orchestra that may be fun.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Ron on June 18, 2018, 03:22:31 AM
Ron, I humbly think this is quite a feat and that you should definitely complete this work.

Reminds me of the sensibilities and pathos in some (superb) works of some Baltic composers (P Vasks and others) and of Shostakovich.

Recording is very good in general. Is it plain GPO4?

Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, it is plain old GPO4. I do have GPO5 but the strings are terrible. They only play back detache no matter what I do. Finale support's "solution" was to use GPO4.
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: mjw58 on June 24, 2018, 11:10:29 AM
Ron.

Yes, me too. WOW.  :)

Morten
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: flint on October 07, 2018, 02:11:39 PM
With the English Horn quartet completed and now working on the performance, I'm starting to write again (depression is a beast!).

I'm very lucky and honored to be working with the bass oboist who is playing the fifth part with our quartet. I've decided that I want to make my next work a showpiece for the instrument, which has such an expressive, warm quality.

Today I had a meeting with the bass oboist, listening and learning quite a lot about it. The highlight of the session was being given the chance to actually play a bass oboe! What an amazing day!
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: LA Dierker on October 08, 2018, 11:46:03 AM
Had not heard of a bass oboe. Sounds very interesting indeed. Look forward to hearing your music.  LA
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on June 14, 2019, 10:57:53 AM
This melody has been aging in the cellar for ever. There is a possibility I may attempt to use it as countermelody etc in the next couple of years :) Can I have inadvertently stolen it? Have you heard it before?
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on June 14, 2019, 12:19:31 PM
Reha,
 
It starts the same as the Pas d'Action in the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Suite, but then goes in a different direction.
 
The melody is at 6:11 in this YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tHEXbdZQjE
 
Cheers,
Jer
Title: Re: The "What are you working on?" thread
Post by: sandalwood on June 14, 2019, 12:48:35 PM
Thanks a lot, Jer! So, I was right to be suspicious. Funny thing is, I would think the themes in the Tchaikovsky suites were all familiar to me. It seems it was familiar, though, but lacked a name plate.

Thanks again!