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Thread: Dances for Brass Quintet

  1. #1
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    Default Dances for Brass Quintet

    I haven't composed as much new music this year as I would have liked. This has been a really bad medical year for me. I found out I have cancer, then I was hospitalized twice for congestive heart failure, and suffer with a major (debilitating) problem with my lower spine. That is all in addition to diabetes and neuropathy. So if you folks stop hearing from me, now you know why.

    Anyway, I finally finished this four-movement brass quintet and would appreciate any critique or feedback. The PDF score is attached.

    https://soundcloud.com/paultmcgraw/d...s-quintet-op-8


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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    If this work is for amateur players, then I think you've written something they'll have fun playing. But there's no challenges that professionals would prefer so there may be no interest in it from them.

    Meanwhile I do have a couple of score suggestions: (1) a dedication is placed above the title in small sized fonts (2) at the end of each movement you see the next movement's new time and key signature. That's not correct. They should not be visible. With my Sibelius program, that is easy to correct and if you don't know how I can explain it, but if you use some other software I can't help you fix it.

    The only thing that bothers me harmonically are the tiny spots of dissonance that show up in what is otherwise a very traditional harmonic piece. Here's two places (there are more but I have only time for a few): (1) m. 15 beat 2, the trombone plays an "A" off the beat while Cornet plays a "B-flat" (2) m. 32 last beat, the tuba plays a "B" while the Horn & Cornet play "C". Now if that's really what you want, don't change on my account, but I'm merely saying that if 95-98% of your piece is harmonious why have a few unnecessary dissonances.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Captainnumber36's Avatar
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    I wish you the best with all your medical complications. I enjoyed your dances very much, thanks for sharing!

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Very festive sounding for Christmas. It's great you can compose happy sounding music in spite of your condition.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasks View Post
    If this work is for amateur players, then I think you've written something they'll have fun playing. But there's no challenges that professionals would prefer so there may be no interest in it from them.

    Meanwhile I do have a couple of score suggestions: (1) a dedication is placed above the title in small sized fonts (2) at the end of each movement you see the next movement's new time and key signature. That's not correct. They should not be visible. With my Sibelius program, that is easy to correct and if you don't know how I can explain it, but if you use some other software I can't help you fix it.

    The only thing that bothers me harmonically are the tiny spots of dissonance that show up in what is otherwise a very traditional harmonic piece. Here's two places (there are more but I have only time for a few): (1) m. 15 beat 2, the trombone plays an "A" off the beat while Cornet plays a "B-flat" (2) m. 32 last beat, the tuba plays a "B" while the Horn & Cornet play "C". Now if that's really what you want, don't change on my account, but I'm merely saying that if 95-98% of your piece is harmonious why have a few unnecessary dissonances.
    Thaks for listening and for your detailed feedback. I really appreciate your comments. I would welcome your help.

    Regarding the level of difficulty - I thought about adding more flashy material but decided against it, both because of the character of the piece, and I would prefer to make my music approachable by a wide range of players.

    Regarding notation issues - I do use Sibelius, and I have no idea how to get rid of key signature changes at the end of movements. Can you please share with me how to do that?

    Regarding dissonance - this is extremely interesting. My ear does not detect these two spots as dissonance. Perhaps it is because I have old ears. At m15 the offending tone fits within a Bb major 7 harmony. I enjoy that sonority, so I guess I should not change that one. At m32 I was completely baffled. I had to go back to my earlier drafts for the answer. Initially, this was an F dominant 7 harmony. But I did not like it as the harmony seemed too static and dull. After trying out a number of things I found that the Bb sus 2 harmony gave me just enough tension to spice up that end of the phrase in my opinion. But I can for sure see where you are coming from.

  9. #6
    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    To get rid of both the new key sig and time sig at the end of a movement you use the "more options" that are at the bottom.

    First: Choose the first bar of the new movement. Click "T" for Time Signatures and look at the bottom; you'll see "more options". Click that and choose your time signature and then, most importantly, de-click "allow cautionary".

    For key sig change do the same. First choose the first measure of the new movement. Type "K" for Key Signatures. Click on "more options". Then choose your new key sig but also choose "Hide". Now both will not show up at the end of the previous movement.

    One more thing: I noticed that the final measure of the previous movement was spaced poorly by hiding the key sig. If that happens go to the top ribbon for "Appearance", choose that last measure and select "reset note spacing"

    About hearing parts better (I have old man's ears too with tinnitus to boot). I will often move a part to be adjacent to one that was not and just play those two so I can hear clearly what's going on. If you don't know how to do that just ask.
    Last edited by Vasks; Dec-14-2019 at 18:08.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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