Author Topic: The unheard sound of the ocean  (Read 146 times)

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Offline Kjelle

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  • Location: Sweden
The unheard sound of the ocean
« on: June 27, 2017, 08:11:52 AM »
Hi everybody,
this is my first post here. I thought I should post a tune before commenting others so that you know who I am.

This tune starts with a rather rough nearly atonal introduction contrasting the following melodic part working maybe as a relief:

https://soundcloud.com/user-892939153/the-unheard-sound-de-la-mer

I hope you listen and even give a comment.

Greetings

Offline relm1

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  • Location: California
Re: The unheard sound of the ocean
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 03:58:56 PM »
Hi and welcome.  Nice tone painting there.  I didn't think the instruments were used particularly idiomatically.  For example, the flute line at 1:10 is not very "flute" like.  Same with the strings at 4:55.  Good that you pulled out the orchestra at some moments like 2:15 where the piano played alone.  In general tuttis are way overused.  I don't just mean in this piece but it is a common problem.  Even a grand orchestral work like Mussorgsky/Ravel's Pictures at an Exhibition might have the full orchestra only playing for half the time leaving lots of room for solos and sub groups within the orchestra.  This is very important to help give a long work contrast.  I played the Bass Trombone on that work and was surprised how often we were tacet for a work that many would consider very brassy.  A little goes a long way.  I recognize your work is scored for flute, harp, piano, and strings so no brass but the same point applies.  Save the tutti for moments.  You don't always need the harmony to be clear.  A pedal tone with a melody (so no other voice playing the harmony) can be very effective especially if you add the harmony later.  Some of the rhythms are not very musical.  The strings at 4:55 could be stronger if you thought of the instruments singing the phrase.  Those lines are not very musically or rhythmically interesting.  You can change the rhythm and make those exact same notes more interesting.  There isn't much emotional contrast in your work.  That is a very important aspect of writing tonal music.  One can argue all harmony can be boiled down to two aspects: tension and release.  A skilled composer will gradually manipulate these elements.  Perhaps a false ending, a phrase that repeats but on the third repeat uses unexpected harmonization, a harmonic substitution, a suspension/anticipation, a wrong note here or there, etc.  A great composer will know exactly when to do these things for maximum impact.  Much of this can be learned from score study and imitation.  One final point, the work just sort of ended rather than feeling like the end was the culmination of all that had come before it.  Endings are very difficult for many composers.  In fact, I believe Mahler struggled for quite some time on how to end his Symphony No. 2 (boy did he deliver).  But an ending requires some set up time to earn its place in the work.  I would recommend more score study and also focus on dramaturgy.  Even works that are restrained have so much drama based on their own terms.  Don't take any of this as anything other than constructive criticism.  I enjoyed the work.  You are ultimately the creator of your vision and my comments are just that since you asked for it so feel free to ignore any and all of this feedback.  :)
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 05:33:34 AM by relm1 »

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