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Thread: Worlds Apart for string quartet and woodwind quartet

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Default Worlds Apart for string quartet and woodwind quartet

    Hey guys, another piece that I just started not to long ago. It was about 4 weeks ago that I started this piece, I only have a minute of it done though, but I decided, yet again to post an unfinished piece so I could get feedback as I am composing it.

    This piece is called worlds apart because I am trying to create two different worlds with the strings and the woodwinds. You see, the strings have their own set of rhythmic motifs that they will develop throughout the piece, while the woodwinds have their own set of independently developing melodic motifs throughout the piece. That is the idea anyway, hopefully I am able to pull it off pretty well. I am only a minute into the piece but let me know what you think so far.

    http://soundcloud.com/violadude/worlds-apart-for-string

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    Senior Member Igneous01's Avatar
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    I think it has potential, I like how it begins - almost indicating a sort of primitive rhythmic dance, I like the irregularity of the rhythm as well (Not sure if theres syncopation in it as I couldn't tell where you had placed the accents on the beats). However I felt the pizzicato from the violin 2 octaves higher was sort of stale - it just did not feel right for me.

    And just to clarify: is the piece itself serialist? Felt like you had a tone row going there after the beginning. I get the impression that the rhythm is trying to be barbaric (like the rite of spring?) while employing some serialism into it.

    perhaps you were aiming for a polytonal-atonal hybrid?

    Anyways, I liked the rhythm and the row, but im not too sure on the harmony. A longer version would probably answer my questions as to the direction of this piece.
    Life really isn't a Beethoven's 5th "I conquered the world and defeated my fears by going from C minor to C major", it's really about compassion towards yourself.

    In this sense, the simple acceptance and honesty at the end of the Grosse Fugue (after the greatest expression of human suffering)... is quite an artistic achievement.

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igneous01 View Post
    I think it has potential, I like how it begins - almost indicating a sort of primitive rhythmic dance, I like the irregularity of the rhythm as well (Not sure if theres syncopation in it as I couldn't tell where you had placed the accents on the beats). However I felt the pizzicato from the violin 2 octaves higher was sort of stale - it just did not feel right for me.

    And just to clarify: is the piece itself serialist? Felt like you had a tone row going there after the beginning. I get the impression that the rhythm is trying to be barbaric (like the rite of spring?) while employing some serialism into it.

    perhaps you were aiming for a polytonal-atonal hybrid?

    Anyways, I liked the rhythm and the row, but im not too sure on the harmony. A longer version would probably answer my questions as to the direction of this piece.
    Eh..no it is not really serialist. You could say it is bitonal somewhat though! The strings are pretty much playing a chord made of C, D, A and B, while the woodwinds are playing in an e-flat minor tonality.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Discounting the horror of low-end midi samples and pizzicato, I have a few suggestions before you proceed.

    The winds, once they enter, completely obliterate the strings: One could discount this to a midi imbalance (actual) but I would bet the natural acoustics of the winds playing sustained notes and the strings playing pizz will very like give near the same amount of imbalance when played live. There is very little difference in actual amplitude of what can be gotten playing pizz.
    It decays, and the winds stay sounding and very 'up front' in the hearing of the listener. Also, when you have pizz. running in all verticals (almost) for even a little while,it gets very quickly dulling to the ear.

    Here, with the winds having all horizontals and 'looser' rhythmic activity, it turns all those string verticals into the far background of a rhythm guitar or some strongly 'secondary' or remote position -- as mere accompaniment for the wind lines.

    I would consider spiccato bowing for the strings, or stop bow, if that is the sound you are going for: most importantly, make some variance of rhythm between the parts, at least here and there, so those verticals at least start to have some other configuration: when the winds come in, there will be more push-pull as to hearing both ensembles if the strings are not just verticals.

    Consider too, depending upon who you are writing for, a poly-temporal piece, either by actual difference in metronome pulse, or by casting the winds in bracketed tuplet bars in relation to the string tempo and barring. Getting the two groups off the same pulse will also help clarify their 'apart-ness.' Good old Medieval hocketing is another way to go about it, or combine it with the poly-temporal.

    Charles Ives ~ Unanswered Question. (chose this link for the score. look at score @ 1'45'' - trumpet over quarter note strings, note the clear separation in what we hear.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qbrh...eature=related

    If you do not take some steps in that direction to separate them more, whether what is proffered is 'your' solution or you find another, the strings will sound like a mere background accompaniment, even if they are clearly in a distinctly different tonality that the winds -- a proverbial quartet of "second fiddles."
    Last edited by PetrB; Mar-23-2012 at 05:51.

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