Author Topic: Angst  (Read 1129 times)

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whitebark

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Re: Angst
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2018, 02:47:04 PM »
Nice work, Jamie. I like the jazz harmonies and the colorful orchestration. The piece definitely left me wanting more - could you expand it some way? perhaps add a contrasting section.

-Jay

perpetuo studens

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Re: Angst
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2018, 03:58:35 PM »
Nice work, Jamie. I like the jazz harmonies and the colorful orchestration. The piece definitely left me wanting more - could you expand it some way? perhaps add a contrasting section.

Thanks Jay. Glad you liked it.

There is definitely lots of material to build on here, and I may look into this at a later date. Initially this was not intended to be a piece that I would post, or even complete. I go through periods of writing, where I live day to day obsessed with the progress of whatever it is I'm working on, and periods of study, where I try to keep myself from actually writing anything and study areas where I think I'm weakest.

This was intended to be just an experiment in orchestration during a study phase. But since I enjoy writing so much more than studying I kind of got caught up in the spirit of the first few bars and decided to turn it into a 2 minute or less miniature.

And because I began the piece with no plan as to form, I decided to just play with developing, to a small degree, the motifs in the first dozen bars or so, which created an interesting dilemma: because the opening material had no clear divisions, no paragraphs particularly, it was hard to find a way to end it. so I ended up going quite a ways past the 2 minutes or so I had in mind.

But I am prattling now. :)

Thanks again for listening and for your kind comments.

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

Michel.R.E

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Re: Angst
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2018, 01:18:19 PM »
I'm sorry it took me so long to get to this piece. I desperately needed new glasses and really could not look at large orchestral scores (I can turn my monitor to portrait mode, which makes it much easier... but large scores are still too small for my eyes).

Anyway, that said!

It's a wonderful piece! It has an almost tango like quality to it in parts. I don't feel (the original title) "Angst" from this at all, but rather, a sort of tension/release.

it ALMOST sound as though you've been taking lessons from Jamie Kowalski  ;)

One technical issue I noticed is that you tend to write the flute parts a bit too low to really be effective. Remember that the lowest octave should be reserved for either sparsely-orchestrated passages, or moments where you want the flautists to basically mime playing their instruments.

A suggestion? (I have a fondness for bell-like sounds so....) maybe consider doubling some of the flute passages with a glock? or even with xylophone to double and highlight some of the woodwind work?

Were I you, I might consider changing the 2nd flute to a piccolo when you start correcting the register issues.

I can see this extended very easily. Take some of your "tango-like" passages and play them with, for example, only strings... then in a new key with woodwinds only, then maybe a solo woodwind with strings, then some tuned percussion with brass, or something like that. It could turn into a large "sonata form", or a sort of Rondo.
"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"

perpetuo studens

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Re: Angst
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2018, 04:14:30 PM »
Hi Michel,

Thanks for your very kind, supportive and instructive comments.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get to this piece. I desperately needed new glasses and really could not look at large orchestral scores (I can turn my monitor to portrait mode, which makes it much easier... but large scores are still too small for my eyes).

No apologies necessary. As someone who has had lifelong vision problems and three eye surgeries I am very familiar with difficulty reading small print, and very sympathetic.

My turn to apologise though. I'm still having some sort of mysterious health problems and so I only saw your response yesterday, and then went to lie down. :)

It's a wonderful piece! It has an almost tango like quality to it in parts. I don't feel (the original title) "Angst" from this at all, but rather, a sort of tension/release.

Yeah, as it turns out the response has been unanimous. The choice of Angst as a title was just a mistake (and was actually corrected on Soundcloud). The tension and release you mention was my trying to express how anxiety, at least for me, waxes and wanes, but never quite goes away. But I think there was just not nearly enough tense material to justify the title. A pity too, because I threw away a lot of pretty material as I was writing because I thought it wasn't angst-y enough. I've never tried to write something explicitly programmatic before this and it really complicates things. Perhaps I need to just go back to attempting to deal with the musical world and let the extra-musical world describe itself. :)

it ALMOST sound as though you've been taking lessons from Jamie Kowalski  ;)

I guess you know I'm a big fan of Jamie's work, so I'll take this as a huge compliment. :) And actually both you and Jamie were much on my mind as I wrote this. Everything I do has some pedagogical component to it, something I'm trying to learn about. In this case the major focus was orchestration, but I was also interested in exploring how to create a piece with coherence and forward momentum without falling back on relying on the standard predictable forms to provide structure, something I have seen in your work and Jamie's on multiple occasions.

I'm not saying there aren't recognizable forms in the works the two of you have posted, only that the development of the thematic material often seems to overshadow the form in terms of making the pieces hang together as cohesive works. In this case I abandoned form altogether and tried to use the thematic material in a sort of stream-of-consciousness way, hoping that the recurrence of the material would provide structure and the harmony woud keep things moving forward. Rereading this I realize this is a poor explanation of what I've seen in your work and Jamie's (and many other post 19th century composers) and what I was trying to accomplish, but I guess that just means I need to learn more about how to structure pieces that are less obviously structured.

One technical issue I noticed is that you tend to write the flute parts a bit too low to really be effective. Remember that the lowest octave should be reserved for either sparsely-orchestrated passages, or moments where you want the flautists to basically mime playing their instruments.

I see what you mean. As has often been noted on this forum, Finale playback is a poor substitute for a live orchestra, and in this case I think it allowed me to make some lower flute parts audible where in a live performance they would be buried. Loved this phrase BTW: "moments where you want the flautists to basically mime playing their instruments." It made me think of my Sea Cadet band days where often even some of the third clarinet parts were over my head (I was only about 12 :)) so I would have to just march along with the instrument in my mouth and wait for a part I could actually play. Fortunately there were about a half-dozen third clarinets so nobody (except maybe the conductor) noticed.

A suggestion? (I have a fondness for bell-like sounds so....) maybe consider doubling some of the flute passages with a glock? or even with xylophone to double and highlight some of the woodwind work?

This is a very cool idea. I will look into this. Ironically I've been wanting to do something with pitched percussion, but toally missed this as an opportunity.

Were I you, I might consider changing the 2nd flute to a piccolo when you start correcting the register issues.

I wondered about this as I was writing many of the higher flute parts, whether or not they should be piccolo parts instead. They ended up staying as flute parts because I was comfortable with the idea that flautists could handle the range (they're within a range I could manage in the years that I dabbled in the flute) and didn't really understand what criteria should be used to justify a change of instrument. but I can see now that many of the higher flute parts would stand out better as piccolo parts, being a bit brighter and thinner, so I'll look into this.

I can see this extended very easily. Take some of your "tango-like" passages and play them with, for example, only strings... then in a new key with woodwinds only, then maybe a solo woodwind with strings, then some tuned percussion with brass, or something like that. It could turn into a large "sonata form", or a sort of Rondo.

Initially this piece was only supposed to be about a minute or so long, a little experiment in orchestration. but since I gave it no obvious form I had real problems finding a way to end it - I kept coming up with ideas for developing the thematic bits so it just kept going and going. :) I can definitely see how it could be made into a (much) longer piece though, and here a more formalized structure would probably be necessary. Rondo or sonata form seem like natural possibilities. But since this took me (in elapsed time) almost a year, I'm pretty tired of listening to it for the time being, so I probably won't be looking into this in the near future, but it's nice to know others have also seen the possibilities; it gives me confidence.

Anyway, thanks again so much for your thoughtful comments. The suggestions for improvement, as always, are gold, and I'll be able to keep them in mind in other pieces as well, something I've done with every comment you've made about my posts.
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