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Chit Chat / new purchase
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Yesterday at 11:09:47 PM »
not directly composition-related, but indirectly so.

I finally ordered my new shoulder rest for my viola.

I had a basic model, which I had bought at the same time as the instrument itself. The problem is I have a very long neck, moderately wide shoulders, and a low clavicle.
This means I needed a tall shoulder rest.

Not having a properly fitted shoulder rest makes practicing difficult. I'm always afraid of dropping the instrument and smashing it on the floor.
The thing about violas is a half-decent beginner viola is still some 10 times as expensive as a beginner violin. The price difference becomes considerably more dramatic when you get into finer instruments. Violins seem to rapidly go up into the multi-million dollar range. Really high-end violas tend to price out a bit lower (though a really fine Guadagnini can still cost upwards of 4-5 million.)
Anyways... let's just be clear, my viola ain't one of those! LOL

Finale/Sibelius/Noteperformer and others / Re: Software Survey
« Last post by flint on Yesterday at 05:03:32 PM »
I'm on (checks) Finale 25.5.

Not particularly happy with any of the playback options - seems for me it was best around Finale 2011 and got worse; only now is it getting slightly better. I have several of the Garritan libraries only because they are relatively simple to use with Finale.

I've tried Dorico, but it's not yet where it needs to be for me. Which is a shame, because some of the functionality is truly amazing. Not a fan of their visual engine/style and can foresee having to massage scores incessantly to get close to where I would want them. So, I keep an eye on Dorico, but Finale is still where I work.
Exercises / Re: Orchestration exercise 1: mood/tone
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Yesterday at 02:42:51 PM »
Hello Timothy.

A few questions/comments. (questions are meant to engage you in discussing what you did, and thinking about the reasons you chose that route. Comments can then address whether your choices were the most effective.)

1st chord:
why did you reverse the order of the 1st and 2nd trumpets?

in the chord, you left the 5th of the chord (A) to a single instrumental group - 2nd violins, in a very medium range. this will weaken the sound of the 5th considerably.
I notice that there are no trombones.
Also the range of the viola is rather on the low side.
If by "bold/military" we are understanding the same thing, I'd rather have suggesting emphasizing the tonic and 5th, for example, your 2nd violins could be playing A and D, open strings. The 1st violins could also be playing a double stop, that higher D and the one an octave lower (unison with 2nd violins, open string D). The cellos could be doing the exact same thing as the 2nd violins, one octave down (again, on open strings).
My suggestion is "think like a bagpipe". military? the drone of the open strings would emphasize that.

2nd chord:
Think of the mood you are trying to set... "melancholy". Would you think in terms of bright and colourful, when thinking "melancholy"?

You have a pair of flutes in a very bright, clear register.
You have a major no-no in the oboes... the joke about "how do you get two oboes to play in unison?" doesn't actually exist in a vacuum. It is VERY difficult to get a clean unison from two oboes.
The clarinets aren't in a bad register, but it might have been nice to take advantage of the richer lower octave, the chalumeau register, where the sound is dark and rich.
The two bassoons are in a somewhat "bright" register. Maybe consider lowering that a tiny bit. You don't have to bring both bassoons into a deep low register. you could have one play a bass note, and the place other between the two clarinets (if you lower your clarinets).

The harp is, by its very nature, a bright sound. Remember that the string is pinched, giving it a "ringing" tone. Why not use the harp as a very low note? how about the root of the chord, in octaves, in the harp's lowest register? The longer string length at that point tends to tone down the brightness and gives a richer, darker sound.

For the strings.... you might even leave out the violins completely. USE the string section to its best advantage.
The violas have a naturally dark tone. Combined with the celli and contrabass, there is potential for a very rich dark sound there.
If you do include the 1st and/or 2nd violins, consider giving them low notes, something that mitigates the natural brightness of the violin.
Of the strings, the violin has the shortest and tightest strings (the tension on the strings is highest on that instrument). This affects the tone.

3rd chord
I'd suggest reversing the effect here. have the brass play heavily accented, while the rest of the ensemble just plays a short note.
For anger/shock, I'd suggest placing the string pizzicato in a higher register. The higher a pizz is, the tighter and more percussive it becomes. The lower it is, the more resonant it is.
A consideration: have the contrabass and celli play a Bartók pizz. For mazimum effect, the celli would have to be one or two octaves lower.

4th chord
For a "happy" chord, is darkness in timbre the desired effect?
Examine the registers you've chosen for your woodwinds.

Just a quick note in the strings: the pizzicato, whether indicated as a quarter note or as a half note, will have the exact same resonance. It's a short percussive sound.

With more experience, you could (particularly since this is a D major chord... a ridiculously easy chord to play for a string player) have almost the entire string section play triple stops (3-note chords in each instrument).

All in all an excellent first attempt.
You'll find, as you become more comfortable with instrumental possibilities, you become more and more adept at creating types of colour and mood.
Works in Progress: Junior / Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Last post by mjf1947 on Yesterday at 09:57:17 AM »
I just had a meeting with my mentor.  Putting some finishing touches on "The Homing Coming" and I will post the finished version soon.

Furthermore I was challenged to do some interesting things with the Viola and Piano Duet.   Hope to share soon.

Finale/Sibelius/Noteperformer and others / Re: Software Survey
« Last post by Michel.R.E on Yesterday at 06:05:00 AM »
Ive been looking at investing in Dorico these past days.
It's rather expensive, even using the crossgrade pricing.

The one issue I'm seeing with it, is that the "requirements" include Window 10.
I'm simply not ready to move to WinX,  for a number of reasons.
Exercises / Re: Orchestration exercise 1: mood/tone
« Last post by Timothy01 on Yesterday at 05:44:48 AM »
Here's my attempt.
  • Bold/military: simply using brass, strings and a beat that comes from a slow timpani tremolo.
  • Melancholic.
  • Angry/shocked: using staccatissimo for all but the brass, leaving it to linger.
  • Happy: similar to #2, but slightly stronger with higher pizzicato in the strings.
Finale/Sibelius/Noteperformer and others / Re: Software Survey
« Last post by Timothy01 on Yesterday at 04:44:26 AM »
I use MuseScore. It's a reasonably good program for being free (drastically improved in 3.0), and caters to all my needs. I'm happy too that it works well on my Linux system. My one complaint is the quality of the sound-fonts. The violin is terrible and the recorder isn't quite in tune. That being said, there's nothing wrong with the Yamaha grand piano font that I use most of the time, and there are better fonts available to purchase... perhaps one day :).
Works in Progress: Junior / Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Last post by mjf1947 on May 25, 2020, 03:35:50 PM »

I fixed the error in Bar 15.  I'll review the piano part again with my mentor.


In the 9/8 section I split the open D string in the Viola and gave it also to the piano.  It is less raucous. 

I like both themes ... let's see (if it works) how I can develop them into the initial tonal/programmatic  concept.

Works in Progress: Junior / Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Last post by Jerry Engelbach on May 25, 2020, 02:59:58 PM »

You've made the piano part easier for us small-handed persons. I also like that you’ve simplified it, although it still seems a bit fussy to me. Block chords in some places maybe?

In bar 15 the LH 16ths on C-D clash with the RH D. Is that deliberate? It sounds like a mistake.

The 9/8 section is pretty nice, but with the viola and piano playing together as they are I think the D drone just adds clutter.

I wonder the call and response sections could use a stronger RH on the piano, perhaps in octaves.

The piece is progressing.

Works in Progress: Junior / Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Last post by mjf1947 on May 25, 2020, 11:28:32 AM »

Thanks for review.

The 9/8 is my mind is a kind to a medieval dance. So I'll see what I can do with it.

The previously section is of course out of place.  Just another idea I jotted down for it appeal to be used here or there.

I took your suggestion and I changed the Bb to an A in the bass clef.

As for an overall plan .... I want to create an overall sound texture/fabric among he sections which communicates a single "emotional" idea/story.


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