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Topic: symphony

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  1. #1

    symphony

    Here's some recent work, symphony #4, first movement. Just about finished both the writing and the recording, but still welcome any and all comments, good or bad, about music or mix or anything ...

    It's on www.soundclick.com/guglielmo "symphony #4 I"

    Latest version with some added reverb (streaming): http://www.soundclick.com/util/stre...ID=2758384&q=Hi

    Direct mp3 download link: http://www.soundclick.com/util/Downl...cfm?ID=2710571

    Streaming link:
    http://www.soundclick.com/util/strea...D=2710571&q=Hi

    Score link (not quite up to date):
    http://www.guglielmomusic.com/0511/g...0511score.html

    Thanks, guglielmo

  2. #2

    Re: symphony

    I'll have to listen to this later, but I glanced at the score. I'm very impressed with your system of microtonal notation for just intonation. Years ago I got interested in just intonation systems, and I worked out a system of microtonal symbols for just intervals up to the 13-limit. But I never went very far with it, it was just too imtimidating, and I didn't expect that I'd ever be able to get a piece heard. Maybe if I'd had some of the tools then that are available now, I might have gone further with it.

    Anyway, I'll give this a listen later tonight. Looking forward to hearing it!
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Re: symphony

    I'll be eager to hear your comments.

    Also working on reverb settings -- the original was quite dry, so here is a version with some, hopefully not too much, warmth added. As always, some definition seems to be lost when the softness of reverb is added. Opinions?

    Reverb version (streaming): http://www.soundclick.com/util/strea...D=2758384&q=Hi

    Original version (streaming): http://www.soundclick.com/util/strea...D=2710571&q=Hi

  4. #4

    Re: symphony

    Gugliel,

    It seems that it'd take quite a while to manually enter all of the tuning symbols you have done. It seems I remember reading posts months and months ago where you wrote about problems with e.temp. tuning and sampled instrument playback...

    Have you fine tuned any of your sampled instruments accordingly- now that would be a daunting task for sure... or would it be? I'm curious.

    Now as far as the tuning symbols and live performance- Shouldn't trained classical performers come hardwired with that information already- lowered M3, high P5, etc.? Now this is not intended to be any kind of criticism of your work, but I think all those symbols might be a redundancy that could actually hinder a performer- you've gotta admit, that's alot of symbols to keep up with, esp. when you're trained to do what they instruct naturally and automatically.

    Certainly it is a different story with virtual performers- so I wonder if these symbols are loaded with patch changes or other MIDI assignments to alter the sampled instruments for playback. That would be wonderful, huh? As to live performers, I question if it's necessary.

    What library are the trombones from?
    Jason DeWater aka Lickety-Split
    Very busy, yet always unproductive.
    Some of my music is here:
    http://www.audiostreet.net/jasondewater

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: symphony

    Quote Originally Posted by Lickety-Split
    Now as far as the tuning symbols and live performance- Shouldn't trained classical performers come hardwired with that information already- lowered M3, high P5, etc.? Now this is not intended to be any kind of criticism of your work, but I think all those symbols might be a redundancy that could actually hinder a performer- you've gotta admit, that's alot of symbols to keep up with, esp. when you're trained to do what they instruct naturally and automatically.

    Certainly it is a different story with virtual performers- so I wonder if these symbols are loaded with patch changes or other MIDI assignments to alter the sampled instruments for playback. That would be wonderful, huh? As to live performers, I question if it's necessary.
    I wonder about that as well. Anyone who has trained as a classical performer should know how to achieve key-based intonation as a matter of automatic response. The only case I can think of where intervention would be of value is in cluster-type harmony, where the intended relationships would only be apparent if specified. Even then, you get into that interesting gray area--is the interpretation of complex harmony a rightful part of the performer's discretion? Is there hidden truth in a piece that the composer himself does not recognize?

    I must admit that I have met some people who are actually teaching at Universities who have no clue how intonation works, and who are obviously not doing a very good job of teaching their students to be qualified ensemble players in that sense. In that regard, to literally map out the relationships symbolically might actually achieve an educational purpose.

  6. #6

    Re: symphony

    Lickety-split, Bruce -- I don't know! Arrived at this place on a long long path partly out of a feeling that performers don't really bother to understand intonation, they just, if good enough, and if the music is clear enough for their understanding, play in tune. Also this was influenced by some troubling performances by professional players, where they clearly did NOT figure out the correct tuning by instinct. But when I began to get very specific about what gets tuned to what, it became more difficult (the more you know about something, the less you know ... you know?), it became more difficult to REALLY identify what the tuning of some notes should be.

    One of the simplest problematic illustrations: in major, the progression ii V I ought to be pretty clear, right? But how do you tune the root of ii? To the fifth of V? If yes, then it's out of tune with the fifth of ii; if no, then any melodic interval involving the two is going to be problematic unless it's a step, and even with steps there are tuning 'cross relation' problems.

    So as I got deeper and deeper, all this tuning began to influence the music I was writing, and I began identifying MY rules of harmony, throwing out Piston and the other theorists. Not saying that the theorists are all wrong, naturally, just that their rules are incomplete and ... sometimes wrong. In the little area of ii V I, my rules say that if ii is acting as a IV (which it can) then it gets treated one way, and if as a V/V, then another way.

    When every note is tuned, then only some harmonic combinations work correctly. This symphony movement is the first one where the tuning framework drove the writing, rather than, as in several prior pieces, the tuning framework just kind of got laid onto the music that was in me to write.

    As to the practicalities of using samples, yes, I have spent a lot of time tuning the actual samples -- melodyne was a big help for this -- and then re-tuning appropriately for the harmony using pitch bend. And since starting notating tuning, I haven't had a professional performance of the new music to see what the performers are going to do about it -- it's a large and mounting fear!

  7. #7

    Re: symphony

    ..and the trombones are ewqlso gold, three distinct trombone parts, played by '4-trombone' patches (!) Nice sound, pretty well tuned, which is good because you can't get to the samples to improve on them.

  8. #8

    Re: symphony

    Score pages newly updated, now the endings more or less match. The version with reverb (top post) is the latest. Thanks for listening!

  9. #9

    Re: symphony

    My two cents...

    I like the composition and the tight sequencing. The tuning sounds more realistic than most sequences I've heard - closer to a real ensemble. Nice!

    Some of the transitions change tuning earlier or later than I hear the modulation, but that is a matter of personal listening and often difficult to quantify or agree on.


    The performers are going to freak out and revolt... In my experience, a good portion of them don't like to see new symbols. Some do after they understand why if it doesn't seem excessive. My writing contains very exacting changes of dynamics and timbre. At first glance it can appear to be over abundantly Type A - often it can have a half dozen dynamic and articulation marking over a single held note. i.e.: Solo horn over two tied whole notes - fp - cresendo (+ slowly insert hand in bell) to f - decresc. to mp - cresc. to ff (+ slowly remove hand from bell) - fltz - breath accent. Of course it is notated exactly where to change - quarter tied to half tied to quarter tied to quarter tied to half tied to eighth tied to eighth...

    On first seeing this s/he will say, "What the..." But after trying it once or twice they are fine with it. It's going somewhere and it is clearly notated... And this is not happening on every note. Sometimes on a reading they will ignore my markings just to get through the piece - and sometimes still even after several rehearsals. Seeing a new foreign symbol over each and every note will blow their minds... In short, it may be difficult to get an orchestral ensemble to play it as written. Do you have a chamber work like this? May be worthwhile to try it live before magnifying any issues with a larger ensemble.

    Some options to think about:

    1. Does every note need a marking?
    A. simplify repeated notes - maybe use "sim." or a dotted line. The score sometimes seems unneccessarily cluttered.
    B. can a performer really play 16th note quintuplets with a new intonation adjustment over every note? Is it too fast to process? The amount isn't quantified (like exactly a quarter step), so is it so slight that inexactness of changing notes on say the strings really going to make the tuning perceptable on fast passages? Maybe use the intonation markings on held notes and key target notes only.
    C. can a performer really trill with exacting intonation adjustments on both pitches? Again, maybe target notes only.

    2. Quantify the amount of intonation adjustment in writing. Is it a quarter step...a third... Does the account for intonation changes due to vibrato and modulation? If you are not at the performance how will the conductor or players know?

    3. You seem to be missing some dynamic markings on entrances. Sometimes after 3 measures rest you re-indicate the dynamic, sometimes you don't. Do one or the other. With the exactness you used to indicate intonation it seems contradictory not to be exact (or at least consistant) in other facets of notation. They will notice this and ask...and if you show any signs of not knowing instantly they will lose interest in the work. Don't waste time in a rehearsal. Be in control. Show no fear!

    Sorry to be the wet blanket, but since this is using alternative notation these items should be addresses and probably clarified. Don't waste the time in a rehearsal. Address it beforehand and make it clear.

    Nice composition and sequencing. I hope to hear more of this work soon.

  10. #10

    Re: symphony

    dvincent, thank you for the thoughtful response.

    On some of your points -- I've tried only notating some of the intonation markings, leaving the obvious ones out, but that did not save much time, and seemed to me to cause the markings that WERE present to jump out more aggressively. My hope is that players will basically ignore the markings as long as everything goes in tune, and use them with things are not in tune during rehearsal.

    As to dynamics, the missing ones are simply because the proof-reading and correction phase isn't done yet; I agree fully with what you said.

    Tuned trills? Dunno, really, but I don't see why not, for strings anyway. Markings on fast passages? Same answer!

    Glad you thought the tuning sounded good -- years ago now, one of the impulses to begin thinking about tuning was the response from string players to my early midi renditions: not that they were good or bad, but that they were simply IMPOSSIBLE for the players to listen to. And that, I always thought, was more tuning than timbre. Still think so, but luckily for many people around here, players over the last decade have been exposed to far more messy-equal-temperament-electronics, and have gotten somewhat used to it.

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