• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27

Topic: Who do we write music for?

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Who do we write music for?

    Now, keeping in mind that GPO is the one we get the most performances right now, I had an epiphone!

    This question seems pretty cut and dry, but I realized the answer is not so simple. I bet everyone says right away, "The audience! Duh!"

    Think about this, though. Who decides what music even get's presented the audience we write for? The performers! These are who we have to impress first every time!

    Now Phillip Glass's music is actually well liked by his fans, but performers hate it. (Oh god no! Not the same phrase over and over again for 10 mintues! AHHH!) So Glass hires his own ensemble to perform his music. We can't do that, that is why we have GPO.

    What's the difference between impressing an audience and a performer? Well most all of us here are performers, so we should know. For serious professional performers there are two criteria to what they play. First, they have to like the music personally. Second, and just as important ... the act of performing it must be interesting to them if not challenging.

    This doesn't mean the music has to be hard... just challenging. Even Adagio for Strings by Barber sounds easy, but it covers a wide range on the instruments and getting the proper expressivness is difficult.

    So, in conclusion, I think we could all do well to think about whether we are writing something that might catch a performer's eye on the music shelf, the audience's love will follow.

    As a matter of fact I now want to write something for the trombone!! I haven't played it in years because I switched to piano in college...


    .... must ... finish ... the .... flute .... sonata!!!
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Who do we write music for?

    Hello JessH,
    Good topic.

    I have found that when I compose for myself I find success more often. When I try to compose for someone else I usually fail. For me, music is a method to express something(s) specific as I see it from both the inside and outside. It is personal and is a method of sharing to see if other people can relate.

    I know that sounds a bit hoity toity, but it is what it is. It feels good when others hear, enjoy and can relate to what I have written.

    -LFO
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  3. #3

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    Quote Originally Posted by LFO
    Hello JessH,
    Good topic.

    I have found that when I compose for myself I find success more often. When I try to compose for someone else I usually fail. For me, music is a method to express something(s) specific as I see it from both the inside and outside. It is personal and is a method of sharing to see if other people can relate.

    I know that sounds a bit hoity toity, but it is what it is. It feels good when others hear, enjoy and can relate to what I have written.

    -LFO
    Of course that is the first priority, and I find that the best music I write because of this fact is my piano music. I guess my topic more addresses the secondary priority when writing.

    Of course if you are commisioned I'm sure you at least think about what your performer likes!
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  4. #4

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    In my limited experience, the answer to this question isn't always the same. When I write something for theory class, the professor and the structures of common practice harmony dictate what I write. I'll usually end up with something that resembles the sound of whatever composer we're studying at the time. When I write something for myself, anything goes, and I end up with something very individual and expressive. If I know that the piece is to be performed by a student who has little time to rehearse it, I hold back on the virtuoso expressions and instead try to be creative using less-demanding passages.

    I like to tailor my pieces to whatever the situation calls for. In my opinion, a good composer must be able to adjust to different situations and requirements without complaint.

    Chris

  5. #5

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    Quote Originally Posted by lontas
    I like to tailor my pieces to whatever the situation calls for. In my opinion, a good composer must be able to adjust to different situations and requirements without complaint.

    Chris
    Absolutely!
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  6. #6

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    What a thought provoking topic!

    I think I'm kind of in a different boat, though, because I can't play an instrument (at least not that well), and I can't take any serious music class (at least not yet), so that really only leaves one person to write music for: me! As you say, that is top priority anyway. I'm not sure I want to worry too much about performers liking it, unless their likes coincide with mine. I do hope audiences will like it, but I would never change my style just for them. Then again, I probably don't have to worry about that anyway, since I probably have to seem a bit more serious about music for performers to even consider my works for playing . . .
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Wilton, NH
    Posts
    2,450

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    Actually, this was one of the many subjects brought up by my instructor yesterday. To paraphrase –

    If the instrumentalists find the part dull, they’ll think the composer is dull, even if he/she is another Mozart. If, on the other hand, the instrumentalist enjoys the music, they will play it with passion and will put fire into the performance. That is when the magic happens.

    Makes sense.

    Of course you will get people who, like Kevin, are their own performer. He needs to worry only about his ideas and how to present them to his audience.
    Trent P. McDonald

  8. #8

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    The problem is finding performers who actually listen to the whole as opposed to focussing on just their individual part.

    Not all individual parts require "fire" - often the fire and magic comes from a soloist or a solo line and the ensemble demands a restrained approach.

    Example: Ravel's Bolero - there are many individual parts that in isolation are not exciting to perform, it is only when the sum of all the parts is experienced that the excitement comes.

    Switching to another genre, there are a series of classic Big Band charts that feature trumpet duets - (e.g. Memories of You, Stardust, ..) where again the backing parts are very straightforward and it is only when the soloists are added that the performance makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

    Too many performers do not listen to what is going on around them, and can't get into the mindset of hearing how what they are playing mixes with what others are playing and actually becomes something new.

    Adagio for Strings was a great example that I can use for my approach to performing. Just looking at the first 16 or so measures, the voicing of the parts is beautiful. Perhaps many performers would look on the start of the piece as a "settling in" period before you get down to the meaty climax, but real musicians would play each measure and hear how their part interacts with the other parts to create a beautiful sound.

    My main instrument is trombone, and whilst I enjoy many aspect of trombone playing - extended range (high and low), fast articulations, power that can kill at 20 paces...... there is a particularly powerful experience that occurs when playing slow pieces with perfectly voiced chords. Repeating myself I know, but the individual parts practised at home would soon drive spouses to boredom - it is only when all the parts are put together that the magic occurs. But as I said, there are many who don't listen to the whole and would write such music off as boring to play.

    Music that I write out of my own volition (i.e. not through a commission or at the request of someone else) I write for myself. However, when I have finished the composition/arrangement so that it goes somewhere to satisfying my particular aural desires, I will revisit it with my "commercial" hat on and revise (or completely change) the arrangement to make it accessible to a particular ensemble or audience whilst still trying to retain some of the essence of it's soul.

    An analogy to perhaps sum this up -

    I love spicy food - Chilli con carne in particular. The chilli is made up of many ingredients each of of which would not be appetising if served as a meal in isolation would be very boring and unpalatable. It is only when all the individual ingredients are put together and the parts become a whole that is different to the sum of the parts that the magic happens. However - I like my chilli really strong, and this is how I cook it for myself. If I want to share my meal with the rest of the family or friends, I have to make it much more mild - and sometimes call it something else so that they don't realise that I am getting them to eat chilli. [well the analogy almost works.... ]
    Last edited by Richard N.; 04-09-2005 at 03:06 PM. Reason: I must try using spellcheck !!!
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  9. #9

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    Richard: Bartok had a wonderful solution to some of the orchestra being bored by their parts. He composed the amazing Concerto for Orchestra, where everyone's part is virtuosic. And he did it almost to perfection. To me this is one of the greatest orchestra pieces ever composed, and all of the performers I know love it when the orchestra they are in puts it in the programs.

    Even on trombone it's fun.

    As a double bassist (I play too many instruments), I can say that Bolero is not something I would look forward to playing. But as a trombonist I would be thrilled. Especially if I am principle... then I get to play one of the most famous trombone solos after the Tuba Mirum from Mozart's Requiem Mass in Dm.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  10. #10

    Re: Who do we write music for?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesshmusic
    Richard: ... then I get to play one of the most famous trombone solos after the Tuba Mirum from Mozart's Requiem Mass in Dm.
    Jess, personally I prefer the Alto trombone part in the Requiem - but that's the beauty of music, everyone sees it form their own unique perspective.

    Actually I am interested in your approach to Bolero if you were on a Double Bass as opposed to the Principal Trombone chair - would your interest in being aked to play the Double Bass part be affected by whether someone like [insert your favourite trombonist's name here] Christian Lindberg or Bill Watrous was sat in the Principal Trombone chair?

    Surely being a small, integral but perhaps not very exciting cog in a large fantastic machine is more (or certainly not less) enjoyable/rewarding than being a very interesting cog in an otherwise very dull machine?
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •