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Thread: My Compositional Journey

  1. #61
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    Hi Fred. I will not comment on the music you have written, but, for sure, the piano you are playing leaves a lot to be desired. We "conversed" on another thread re iOS music production. You can lift your music substantially for your own enjoyment with an affordable iPad setup. There are very expressive, affordable iOS pianos. Here is a recording I did on a crummy Casio keyboard. I did not even have a sustain pedal with me when I made this. I have played my Steinway B for thirty of the fifty years I have been making music. While not perfect, the Ravenscroft275 piano ($36) is a marvelous, expressive instrument. Again, I am not using a sustain pedal, with one the string resonances are all there. Though they might say otherwise, many people would believe they are listening to an acoustic instrument. I know I would. Happy to give you all the details if you like.
    https://soundcloud.com/michael-levy-...rdbird-suite-1

  2. #62
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IpadComposer View Post
    Hi Fred. I will not comment on the music you have written, but, for sure, the piano you are playing leaves a lot to be desired. We "conversed" on another thread re iOS music production. You can lift your music substantially for your own enjoyment with an affordable iPad setup. There are very expressive, affordable iOS pianos. Here is a recording I did on a crummy Casio keyboard. I did not even have a sustain pedal with me when I made this. I have played my Steinway B for thirty of the fifty years I have been making music. While not perfect, the Ravenscroft275 piano ($36) is a marvelous, expressive instrument. Again, I am not using a sustain pedal, with one the string resonances are all there. Though they might say otherwise, many people would believe they are listening to an acoustic instrument. I know I would. Happy to give you all the details if you like.
    https://soundcloud.com/michael-levy-...rdbird-suite-1
    That does sound great! I guess you're referring to the Nocturnes, which aren't really my style. I can write tonal music in my head or with a digital piano, but the sounds I want to make focus on the sustained intermingling acoustic resonance of instruments, and I feel mentally blocked unless I'm using a real piano. It's good to know that there are nice sounding digital instruments out there. Was the bass digital as well? One major problem is that I really can't stand Apple hardware or software. I've been looking for decent digital instruments, but really without acoustic instruments it's not going to sound how I want it to sound, and I won't know how it will really sound. I have a pretty nice digital piano. There's a stark difference in how freely creative I can be with a real piano and without.

  3. #63
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    Thanks for listening, Fred. I am glad you could hear it is a very good quality virtual instrument. As I mentioned, I had no sustain pedal with me so the string resonances the app provides were not present. And yes, it is a virtual bass that I played on my Casio (cost $15). The piano cost $36.
    I make a distinction between digital pianos and virtual pianos tho they are both software based. With a virtual instrument you can have a simulacrum of a Steinway, Bechstein, Bosendorfer and many others like the Ravenscroft I mentioned. A digital piano, no matter what the price tag, does not let you sample the variety onboard ( though you could use your digital as a midi controller to play thru an iPad. You would have to overcome your objections to Apple. For many in the iOS world it is also a love hate relationship. They admire the technical innovation but don't like the world's biggest corporation's policies and attention to what is really a super small niche market. Not that you are asking my advice but I still counsel you to investigate. A used ipad4 with 32 gab ROm would cost you about $150. You would need an Apple camera connection kit ($50 and worth it) and the two virtual pianos I use less than $100. You can check the AppStore for details on the Ravenscroft RC 275 and the Colossus grand by Crudebyte. Recording options are as inexpensive as $10 and you would record directly from your keyboard to the iPad. Perhaps I have stirred your curiosity. In any case I wish you happy composing and playing,

  4. #64
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    I was inspired to start composing a piano piece, which usually doesn't happen with my digital piano. I have essentially the first "theme" done and a bit of the next one, but here I recorded just the complete first theme. The recording is awful: a phone recording of a digital piano, but at least its a real human playing the music. I'm not a good piano player. My performance is not exactly how it's supposed to sound, but it's close enough.

    If you don't like Feldman, you will certainly not like this!

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eF_...ew?usp=sharing
    Last edited by Fredx2098; Sep-20-2018 at 08:55.

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    I actually think it's quite good as a structure, but is hitting the semitone: e-f a 'theme'.
    "I expect I shall have to die beyond my means." — Oscar Wilde, on accepting a glass of champagne on his deathbed.

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneonagain View Post
    I actually think it's quite good as a structure, but is hitting the semitone: e-f a 'theme'.
    Thank you! And perhaps it is a bit of a sparse theme, but there's also a major second A and B in there. I only used those 4 notes and I though it sounded interesting. More to come though, with more notes.

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    Senior Member shirime's Avatar
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    This is very nice. I guess it will expand into a longer work? Something you may want to consider is avoiding octave transposition of the main 'theme' to give the piece a very slow but continuous feel of transformation. Perhaps you could formulate your own logic or set of rules for how the semitone can be transposed across different octaves, still retaining the same quality and interval, but avoiding the establishment of the semitone as equivalent to a 'tonic' function. The piece would have the potential to sound even more expansive through sparser occurrences of sound, constantly having the need to go somewhere else but constantly lingering on unresolved sonorities, something you might be interested in, I think.

    I really really liked the sense of anticipation around 35 seconds in where the duration between each attack is longer than expected.

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  10. #68
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirime View Post
    This is very nice. I guess it will expand into a longer work?
    Thanks! Yes, what I posted was just the first section. I'm about to post a recording of two sections completed. At this rate the finished product might be around 10 minutes long.

    Something you may want to consider is avoiding octave transposition of the main 'theme' to give the piece a very slow but continuous feel of transformation. Perhaps you could formulate your own logic or set of rules for how the semitone can be transposed across different octaves, still retaining the same quality and interval, but avoiding the establishment of the semitone as equivalent to a 'tonic' function. The piece would have the potential to sound even more expansive through sparser occurrences of sound, constantly having the need to go somewhere else but constantly lingering on unresolved sonorities, something you might be interested in, I think.
    Are you talking about the very beginning where I just play the same semitone in two octaves? I'm not quite sure what you're suggesting. Using different notes each time rather than repeating some and making it feel like a tonic? I'm not opposed to having a tonic (I don't think Feldman was either, of course I have to mention him). I don't want to make 12-tone serial type music as my "serious" music. I like chromatic music where the key is relatively a mystery, has shifting amounts of consonance and dissonance, and may have something that sounds like a root note. I might be missing your point, so if you can elaborate that would be nice.

    I really really liked the sense of anticipation around 35 seconds in where the duration between each attack is longer than expected.
    Thanks, to create that effect I use notes of defined length that are each different lengths, each with another note with a fermata after it, creating a free/open/mysterious type atmosphere.

    I did a better job playing the piece this time, so the rhythms are more accurate to how it should be.

  11. #69
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nCh...ew?usp=sharing

    Here's the new recording with the second part as well. I'm gonna try to upload the sheet music too. Still not sure what to call this.

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    The pacing and the placing of the musical events is very well done, you put them at the right moment. Here they advance and develop a bit faster than in a Feldman piece, but if you plan a duration of 10 mins for the piece, then it seems the right pace. Many people don't have a good ear for that, which to me is essential in a piece. I also was a bit surprised with the harmony in the second section, which seems more tonalish, modalish or whatever, since that seems a departure from Feldman, but that's good, shows you can reveal against your idol. I would suggest, though, to add just a bit more of dissonance to those harmonies, otherwise the texture becomes too clean and the mystery dissipates a bit.

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleazk View Post
    The pacing and the placing of the musical events is very well done, you put them at the right moment. Here they advance and develop a bit faster than in a Feldman piece, but if you plan a duration of 10 mins for the piece, then it seems the right pace. Many people don't have a good ear for that, which to me is essential in a piece. I also was a bit surprised with the harmony in the second section, which seems more tonalish, modalish or whatever, since that seems a departure from Feldman, but that's good, shows you can reveal against your idol. I would suggest, though, to add just a bit more of dissonance to those harmonies, otherwise the texture becomes too clean and the mystery dissipates a bit.
    Thank you! I think with solo piano there has to be a minimum pace so the notes don't fully fade away. With different pianos it could even be played differently depending on the qualities of the instrument, which is what I want my music to focus on (can't wait to get my own real piano, soon I think). I don't want to be a copycat, I just want to use those qualities Feldman uses that I think should be used more often. I personally enjoy those few bars of melody in the middle of the second section, but now that I'm listening and re-listening, I don't like the "end". Definitely way too tonal, it's nearly a traditional cadence, and the A minor chord really solidifies a root note. It should probably be different anyways to go into the next section. Can't have anything that sounds like a separate "movement" or something. That's one Feldman thing I have to stick with.

  14. #72
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    https://drive.google.com/file/d/17ot...ew?usp=sharing

    Here's the sheet music so far. Maybe I'll call it Piano Piece, at least for now.

  15. #73
    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredx2098 View Post
    Thank you! I think with solo piano there has to be a minimum pace so the notes don't fully fade away. With different pianos it could even be played differently depending on the qualities of the instrument, which is what I want my music to focus on (can't wait to get my own real piano, soon I think). I don't want to be a copycat, I just want to use those qualities Feldman uses that I think should be used more often. I personally enjoy those few bars of melody in the middle of the second section, but now that I'm listening and re-listening, I don't like the "end". Definitely way too tonal, it's nearly a traditional cadence, and the A minor chord really solidifies a root note. It should probably be different anyways to go into the next section. Can't have anything that sounds like a separate "movement" or something. That's one Feldman thing I have to stick with.
    About the end and the tonal cadence, yes, that's exactly what I noticed, the resolution is too strong and dissipates too much of the tension. On the other hand, you can indeed have some local tonal centers, but you must cloud them a bit, before, during, and after the cadence-like moment. Check Barraqué's piano sonata, the section after the introduction, it has some very clear local tonal centers.

  16. #74
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oq_...w?usp=drivesdk

    I expanded the piece a bit, reworked it (no more gross pure tonal consonance, I think), and now it sounds like a full coherent piece of music, maybe. I'm not sure if I want to keep expanding. Perhaps when I get a real piano. I hate composing with a digital piano.... It makes it a challenging struggle rather than just art flowing out of my brain.

  17. #75
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1o_G...ew?usp=sharing

    I wrote some more for piano. I might add it to the other piano piece I was/am working on. This one's a bit more interesting with the notes used I think, not just white keys.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WVK...ew?usp=sharing

    Here's a link to the whole thing (so far, almost done (maybe)) mixed together. I think what I wrote today flows nicely after what I had before.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M2_...w?usp=drivesdk

    Here's my handwritten sheet music. Too lazy to put it in software. One page down. The last line is what I wrote today.
    Last edited by Fredx2098; Oct-02-2018 at 06:02.

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