Author Topic: Hello from Tucson  (Read 1102 times)

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Hello from Tucson
« on: May 16, 2017, 02:09:15 PM »
Hi. I'm a retired person with a couple of things in print (not self-published; a horn quartet and some duets for horns or tubas.) I always said I wanted to “really learn to compose” in retirement, but just at retirement time some serious illness manifested that took about five years out of my life. I'm back doing most of my normal activities and frankly blow hot and cold on doing anything difficult. I had enough difficulty over those five years to last the rest of my life....but still here and there I would like to write something else I'm proud of before I leave the planet for good.

What I have trouble with is structure; things I have written that I'm proud of feel more like "linear downloads" from "wherever" than things I've actually put together intellectually. Yeah they needed some organizing, but mostly came from the ether and flowed out onto the page. Most are quite short because I have written them "from start to finish" more or less, rather than having material I put into a structure. It's the structure I'm trying to get my head around. As an engineer you’d think that would be easy, but it’s not.

I have degrees in both music (violin) and engineering, and I play almost all the instruments well enough to understand what they can do and what is "asking too much of the average player." Especially with strings and brass, I can give advice on what is too much. With brass, just because it’s “in the range” does not mean you should ask a player to do it. Brass is now my primary, and I play horn in a high level community band and tuba in both a community orchestra and a British style brass band.

For me, writing for community level bands seems my best choice because there is a market there, plus local opportunities to have pieces played. So pieces have to be enjoyable to play for them and enjoyable for the audience to listen to, while not being so simple as to be ho-hum for either. I even tried studying composition in college, twice, and ran into "bring us what you wrote and we'll criticize it for you" but could not come up with anything I wrote because I was there to find out how to write it!!! I write music just like I wrote this intro….from start to finish, and it’s about the same length overall. That’s what I want to find out how to do differently.


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 02:25:45 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Eaubeauhorn!


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 03:33:26 PM »
Welcome aboard. Your expertise in the instruments you list will be much appreciated, I'm sure. Sorry to read about your illness, but hope that is now all behind you. As for form, all I can suggest is that you study the scores of works you find attractive and see how they are put together. Always feel free to ask questions on the forum. :)
Rules? What rules?


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 12:02:32 AM »
Welcome to the forum!
Honesty doesn't serve the self; it serves the truth.
-Peter Ralston

perpetuo studens

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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 10:27:04 AM »
Yet another engineering alumnus (there are a number of us)...interesting. Welcome to the group.

The perceived 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


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 10:47:32 AM »
my father the classical guitarist was an electrical engineer.
"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"


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2017, 12:22:09 PM »
Add me to the engineer category as well: An actuary is essentially the engineer of the insurance industry.

Terence Martin

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


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2017, 04:12:26 PM »
Welcome aboard.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
Frank Zappa


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Re: Hello from Tucson
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 06:53:15 PM »
Welcome :)