Author Topic: Hello from Seattle  (Read 1925 times)

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whitebark

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Hello from Seattle
« on: January 16, 2017, 12:44:35 PM »
Hello Compose Forum people!

I've been involve in musical activities for a long time, starting in grade school where I learned to play double bass. I have continued to play for school and amateur orchestras as a fun hobby up to the present day.  Soon after learning the bass, I started to get interested in composition, although my progress was halting and slow as I lacked patience and being no Mozart, my musical muse provided inspiration only sporadically. My bass teacher (Jason Klein, now director of the Saratoga Symphony) provided lessons in harmony and counterpoint, which was a big help. My first breakthrough work was a string piece that my high school orchestra performed - it was strangely called "Lasagnia #2" and was a big hit with the audience. Of course the audience was mostly composed of parents of the orchestra members, so it was no surprise that the crowds went wild at the end of the performance.  And really, "Lasagnia" was a pretty decent little piece of music.   I've adapted a version of it for the second movement of my recent Sinfonia For Strings.

I continued to play bass in college and also took some courses on music , but this was not a productive time for my composition efforts.  Eventually I gave up on composition completely, and put all my efforts into getting an engineering degree.  It wasn't until the '90s when the first crude notation programs started to appear on personal computers that my interest revived. I purchased an off-board MIDI module to get better sound, and started creating various musical works with gradually increasing skill though the early '90s.  A computer crash that wiped out the scores of most of these put an end to this productive period around 1995.

Again, it was improving technology that revived my interest in composition. By 2010,  score creation programs were vastly improved and could create somewhat lifelike "performances" without buying external synthesizers. I downloaded a free scoring program "Musescore" and went to work creating new compositions and recreating some of the old ones lost in the computer crash. That was a tedious process as all I had were some audio cassettes of the works, and I had to recreate them by ear.  Later on, I convinced the music director of my community string orchestra to perform a version of one of these pieces, and preparing for this performance was a fun but stressful process - you really learn the necessity of creating accurate and detailed parts when doing a live performance! Since that performance, I've continued to compose and stepped up my efforts to learn some fundamentals - I reread my old college textbooks on music (Harmony and Melody by Elie Siegmeister), purchased a book on orchestration, and transcribed some paper scores into Musescore format, a tedious but effective way to learn orchestration.   

Currently I've retired from my engineering job, which has given me more time for my musical activities. Although right now, there is no hope of any live performances, I have continued to create musical works, including a "Classical Symphony", Sinfonia for Strings, Sinfonietta for Small Orchestra, and others.  I hope that joining this forum will help my improve my skills even further.  Once I get the nerve, I'll post a piece or two here.

Regards,
Jay   a.k.a whitebark



tbmartin

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2017, 01:36:00 PM »
Once I get the nerve, I'll post a piece or two here.


Oh, no nerve required! Just go for it. We won't bite. 

Welcome!
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

Michel.R.E

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 01:41:24 PM »
Welcome Jay.

if you want to post "without risk" ;) you can try the "beginner" section of the forum. It tends to get much milder reviews.
though if we feel that your work is strong it could get pushed to the Senior section.

Don't worry, we really do try to be kind with all our reviews, whether good or bad. But honestly, most of the times what counts as a "bad" review here tends to be more on technical aspects, often easily correctable things.

By the way, one of my piece is being performed in Seattle next May. I don't know if I'm going to make it down for the concert, I'm trying but it's a very expensive flight for me.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

whitebark

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2017, 02:08:20 PM »
Michel,
What's the name of your piece that is going to be performed in Seattle, and what ensemble is playing it?  I'd be interested in hearing the performance.

J

Ron

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 02:12:41 PM »
Hi Jay,

You're not alone. After a promising start as an adolescent, I gave up on composition as well until near the end of my working life. It was the discovery that I could force a computer to play back my scores whether it liked it or not that led me to start exploring that strange world again. So, welcome aboard. Don't be shy about posting. Nothing can compare to some of the dreadful works I foisted on folks. :)
Ron
Rules? What rules?

gogreen

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2017, 02:46:53 PM »
Welcome, Jay!

Michel.R.E

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2017, 05:14:48 PM »
Michel,
What's the name of your piece that is going to be performed in Seattle, and what ensemble is playing it?  I'd be interested in hearing the performance.

J

Jay, it's "Octava Chamber Orchestra", a sort of half community/half professional ensemble.
They'll be performing my 3rd symphony, which they commissioned.
I'm not sure exactly where the performance is. it's a very beautiful church, that's all I know.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Periwink

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2017, 11:15:30 PM »
Welcome Jay:)
Honesty doesn't serve the self; it serves the truth.
-Peter Ralston

perpetuo studens

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2017, 10:18:38 AM »
Welcome to the forum. Looking forward to hearing some of your work.

Jamie
The perceived object...is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analyzed discretely, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure: the element's existence does not precede the existence of the whole, it comes neither before nor after it, for the parts do not determine the pattern, but the pattern determines the parts: knowledge of the pattern and of its laws, of the set and its structure, could not possibly be derived from discrete knowledge of the elements that compose it.

That means that you can look at a piece of a puzzle for three whole days, you can believe that you know all there is to know about its colouring and its shape, and be no further ahead than when you started. The only thing that counts is the ability to link this piece to other pieces...

Georges Perec - Life: A User's Manual

sandalwood

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Re: Hello from Seattle
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2017, 10:23:57 AM »
Welcome :)