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Works in Progress: Senior / Re: String_Sextet_03
« Last post by Michel.R.E on April 13, 2019, 11:06:56 AM »
There are a few bowing issues.
just to give one example (and this is something that you only really learn while either playing a string instrument or working intimately with string players, so it's not that easy to learn):

violin 2, measure 6
The bow is uneven.
Meaning that there's a very long bow required for the first five notes (I'm including ties as "the same note"), then suddenly two eighths in a bow, and then the next measure is all done in one bow.

Think of the distance your bow has to travel, from frog to tip (usually, beat one will be played down-bow, so starting from the frog, in French: au talon). Two long bows with a very short bow between them is an invitation to disaster. the bow doesn't have enough room to play both long phrases, because the brief phrase between didn't leave enough time to recuperate bow length.

This measure, I'd suggest rather something like:
- down on beat 1, cover the triplet with one down bow
- then the quarter note tied to an eighth with one up bow
- the lone F# eighth a very short down bow
- then the last two eighths as a longer heavier up bow (also letting the musicians put more weight on their bows for that crescendo).

if you look at the distance covered, there were two short spots in there to recuperate bow length and give yourself room to reach the end of the phrase at the correct part of the bow (near the frog, for the heaviest effect).

Measure 7 then remains perfectly placed for a down bow, the whole thing, and a diminuendo toward the tip (ā la pointe) where the least bow pressure can be assured with more control.

GENERALLY speaking (I emphasize the "generally"), beat one of any measure is played down bow, meaning you either want a rest before that, or a phrase ending in an up-bow.
Under specific circumstances, you might want to start a phrase with an up-bow (for example, starting dal niente).

When writing for strings, it's always a good thing to take these things into consideration. Inserting bow markings takes time (this is usually the concert master's job), and if you can make it so that bowing is obvious and logical, then that is far less work, and also makes for easier rehearsals, and musicians more conducive to wanting to play the music.

One other important thing to remember: a change of bow doesn't necessarily mean a cut in the sound. As an example, Sam Barber's Adagio for Strings has ridiculously long phrases, absolutely unplayable "as written".
Some orchestras make the bowings interlock (ie: part of the musicians changing bows on odd notes, while the other part change bows on even notes).
However, it is possible to have the entire section change bow directions at the same moment without creating any sort of accent or emphasis on that directional change. At least, with good musicians it is.

Works in Progress: Senior / String_Sextet_03
« Last post by RJB54 on April 13, 2019, 07:40:43 AM »
I would like to present my String Sextet #3.

Only the first movement so far. I'll post the other movements as I finish the engraving.

Score =
Audio-Mvt I =

Don't get freaked out by the lengths of the MP3s. The free software I use to generate the MP3s (WinLAME) has had an upgrade and ever since I installed the upgrade WinLAME marks the times of the MP3s it generates as longer (sometimes MUCH longer) than the actual length. For example, the WAV file Finale generates for the first movement of this piece is 7:44 in length. The MP3 that WinLAME generates is stamped as being 35:33 in length but it really isn't. The actual length when played is the same as the WAV file. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to fix this bug. If they don't do it promptly, I'll have to find another freeware program to use.

This piece will be in five movements which are in an arch relationship: slow/scherzo/sonata/scherzo/slow. The relationships can also be seen in parallels between the movements. For example, both scherzos have a quiet and subdued scherzo section with a loud, active, trio; while the first and last movements are emotional slow movements.

There is a musical thread which weaves its way throughout the piece. This thread (theme) is presented by the 1st Violin at the beginning of the 1st movement. Motives from this theme (especially the opening figure) appear throughout all of the movements.

While I don't do program music, one can see from the tempo indications below that there is an emotive thread running though the piece.

Mvt. I  : Grave doloroso - Adagio contemplativa ma dolente - Grave doloroso
Mvt. II : Allegro spettrale - Allegro bellicose - Allegro spettrale
Mvt. III: Allegro bruscamente e irato - Allegro contenuta e contemplativa
Mvt. IV : Allegro misterioso e macabro - Allegro ritmico e intensita - Allegro misterioso e macabro
Mvt. V  : Grave doloroso - Adagissimo pacificamente e con calore

In the 1st movement we start off in great mourning then try to come to terms with the tragedy (whatever it was) but can't completly shake the sadness and so return to our mourning.

In the 2nd movement (the 1st scherzo) we are in an unsettled, ghostly, ephemeral, emotional state which is interrupted by belligerent anger railing against the tragedy, but, of course, that accomplishes nothing and we return to the ghostly state.

In the 3rd movement (sonata form) we are again in the angry emotional state (1st theme) but sometimes ease into a more subdued, contemplative, state (2nd theme) which is always interrupted by the anger and denial.

In the 4th movement (the 2nd scherzo) we are again in an unsettled, ephemeral, mysterious, and macabre emotional state which is again interrupted by anger and denial which, again, accomplishes nothing and we return the mysterious state.

In the 5th movement we are again in our mourning state but before the end we achieve some sense of acceptance and peace.

As in other pieces I have posted which use strings, there are some passages which do not sound correct as these passages make use of techniques which the Finale sound libraries do not support such as sul tasto, sul ponticello, and the Bartok pizzicato.

Originally, the first movement was going to be a slow fugue and some remnant of that idea is still discernible especially at the begining where we see the remains of a fugal exposition; however, the music didn't want to be a fugue and decided to go in another direction. The result is a slow movement in a standard A-B-A1 layout.

At the beginning of this movement one can see another example of my unconventional approach to serialism. The opening in the two violins is strictly serial with each violin initially presenting different transpositions of the same row. The emphasis placed on certain pitches of the row rhythmically/melodically makes it unequivocal that the 1st violin is arpeggiating a Bb Major chord in 1st inversion while the 2nd violin is arpeggiating an F Major chord in first inversion. The counterpoint between them is handled in such a way that the chromatics feel like nonharmonic tones which mostly 'resolve' in a fairly common-practice manner. So, the first 11 bars are pretty clearly operating in a sort of Bb Major even though it is presenting the pitches of the rows in a strictly serial manner. The Bb environment and fugal character is re-enforced by the entry of the 1st Viola and 1st Cello as they also arpeggiate Bb and F chords, respectively. However, from that point on as additional lines enter in the various instruments, the environment becomes increasingly chromatic and, thus, less clearly common-practice. But, through the first 21 bars the counterpoint still tends to mostly result in vertical coincidences which generally have a common-practice character (albeit without any common-practice chord progressions) even though all of the instruments are presenting their respective rows in a strict manner.

This semi-common-practice harmonic language can also be seen in the final cadence. The penultimate chord presents the last six pitches of a given row which spells a C#m11 chord. However, to add to the sort of dominant feel of the chord it is voiced with the 11th in the bass which adds to the incipit feel of a need for a resolution. The way the chord is voiced you could also view it as a polychord with the bottom three notes presenting a B Major triad while the top three notes present a C# Minor triad. This chord resolves to the first six pitches of that row which presents a clear Gm11 chord. So, again, this is a strict serial presentation of a row which is handled in a way which results in common-practice chords (albeit expanded common-practice, after all you won't find 11th chords in Beethoven or Mozart) and another of my disguised, sort of, common-practice dominant to tonic chord resolutions.
Chit Chat / Re: rewriting an older piece
« Last post by Ron on April 12, 2019, 04:26:13 PM »
On the paper, choirs should be an endless source of income for the composers. It is said there are over 200 k choirs in the US, only. Looked at more carefully, however, the picture is not that bright. A very large percentage of choirs everywhere consist of not-auditioned, rather elderly members and  their programmes mostly follow a very narrow loop of a handful of well-known sacred works.

I know all about that from firsthand experience. When I first moved to this area a local men's choir asked me to arrange a late 19th century ditty for them. I did and the conductor was delighted. They butchered it in performance because they weren't used to signing anything other than barbershop-choir style. So I wrote a Christmas carol called "Children Sleeping Under Bridges."  The choir director loved it, but more than half the choir threatened to quit if he forced them to sing something so offensive as singing about the poor and disenfranchised at Christmas time.
Chit Chat / Re: rewriting an older piece
« Last post by sandalwood on April 12, 2019, 02:30:20 PM »
On the paper, choirs should be an endless source of income for the composers. It is said there are over 200 k choirs in the US, only. Looked at more carefully, however, the picture is not that bright. A very large percentage of choirs everywhere consist of not-auditioned, rather elderly members and  their programmes mostly follow a very narrow loop of a handful of well-known sacred works.
Composition Topic of the Month / Re: April 2019
« Last post by Jerry Engelbach on April 12, 2019, 01:32:07 PM »
Very useful list. Thank you. I'll try to listen to as many as possible.
Chit Chat / rewriting an older piece
« Last post by Michel.R.E on April 12, 2019, 12:14:33 PM »
A while back I wrote a Missa Brevis, which ended up getting a title change after a bit of rewriting at the time (it became "Missa pro pace mundi", and included a quote from Nelson Mandela, to whom it was then dedicated).

Well, so far every single chorus I've approached with the work has said it is too far out of their difficulty level. Which is, to say the least, frustrating since I sight-read the mass when I first wrote it with a group from the chorus I was assistant conducting back then. They had no problem at all getting through the whole work after about an hour's rehearsal.

Anyway, I've decided to go back with a fine-tooth comb and rewrite/re-arrange any passages that MIGHT be too difficult. So removed lots of leaps (even if they were perfectly singable), made it more step-motion. I also doubled a bit more material between the accompaniment and the chorus.

It's been quite an exercise. I'm approaching the end of this particular project. When I post I'll try and find a few passages to show the comparison between the old version and the new version.
Composition Topic of the Month / Re: April 2019
« Last post by sandalwood on April 10, 2019, 11:08:44 AM »
Here are the works by the living composers in the Classic FM 2018 Hall of Fame, ranking better than 300th.

283 Seal Lullaby-Eric Whitacre
263 Vln Conc-P Glass
239 Banjo Kazooie-Grant Kirkhope
223 Musical Zodiac-Debbie Wiseman
201 Pirates of the Caribbean-Klaus Badelt
188 Kingdom of Hearts (vid game)-Yoko Shimomura
162 Christmas Blessing-Philip Stopford (1 more work in the list)
161 Conc. Antico for Guitar-Richard Harvey
127 I Giorni-L Einaudi (2 more works in the list)
123 O Magnum Mysterium-M Lauridsen
119 Ladies in Lavender-N Hess
115 Danzon No 2-Arturo Marquez (1 more work in the list)
99   Final Fantasy (vid game)- Nobuo Uematsu
90   Gladiator- H Zimmer
86   Romeo Juliet (film)-Craig Armstrong
65   Mission-E Morricone
60   Spiegel in Spiegel-A Part
48   Ashokan Farewell-Jay Ungar
29   Lord of the Rings-H Shore
23   Schindler's List-J Williams (9 more works in the list)
20   Armed Man-K Jenkins (2 more works in the list)

Just a hall among the halls! By the way. I saw somewhere in the Classic FM site H Gorecki mentioned as the most commercially successful composer of recent times.
Composition Topic of the Month / Re: April 2019
« Last post by Michel.R.E on April 09, 2019, 12:37:43 PM »
I like some of Corigliano's music. I briefly studied with him in New York when I was younger.
I particularly love both his piano and flute concertos.
Although at a certain point later on his music seemed to stagnate and become a bit cloying.
Composition Topic of the Month / Re: April 2019
« Last post by Patrick O'Keefe on April 09, 2019, 11:10:36 AM »
Actually, the recent "minimalist" thread gave a starter set:  Philip Glass, John Adams, John Luther Adams, Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt.  Add to that John Corigliano, George Crumb, Brian Ferneyhough (I'll put him on the list, but that doesn't mean I have to listen to his stuff).

As Ron mentioned, Google uncovers lots ... most of which I've never heard of.
Works in Progress: Junior / Re: Triology for English Horn and Strings
« Last post by smartysocks on April 09, 2019, 09:25:14 AM »
Hi Mark

This piece obviously comes from a good place. I can imagine a stroll with my gal.

I like the second section a great deal! A nice contrast to the first section. The third section ... maybe some brief tempo changes rit and accell.? Or maybe a little more rhythmic play between the eng horn and viola? They would still be dancing together, but be separate people.

Thanks for sharing !

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