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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, hope you're all well. I haven't posted anything for quite some time but I kept working on my 2nd Piano Concerto and I'm happy to say that it's finally ready!
It's dedicated to Ruben, the most wonderful cat who died this week from cancer but who gave us 10 great years, I love you Ruben.
The Concerto is in 3 movements, I hope you'll find time to listen to them all, it's just over 21 minutes in all.
I don't really like to impose my views or thoughts about I feel about it or what it might represent, I prefer to leave that up the individual but needless to say I'm very pleased with it.
I hope you like it, and please feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to know what you think.
The links are to my sound cloud page, hope they work ok.
Love to you all
Mark.
https://soundcloud.com/user-729021187%2Fpiano-concerto-no2-in-bb-minor-1st-movt
https://soundcloud.com/user-729021187%2Fpiano-concerto-no2-in-bb-minor-2nd-movt
https://soundcloud.com/user-729021187%2Fpiano-concerto-no2-in-bb-minor-3rd-movt
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hello again,

Just a quick addition. I know some of you like to see the score so I have uploaded them here.

My process is quite messy, there are lots of mistakes, improperly divided notes and badly tied notes, wrongly spelled enharmonics etc., etc., plus there are various artifacts that are necessary for NotePerfomer to play it correctly. I just hope that anyone wishing to see the score can follow my intentions rather than what is sometimes actually written.

If I thought there was ever any chance that someone might actually want to perform it, then I would take the time to produce a performance score, but I hope you will forgive my not taking the time to do it right now.

Thanks again and I hope you enjoy it.

Mark

https://www.dropbox.com/s/718pkss8j...2 in Bb minor 1st Movt. - Full Score.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pe8ar8hra...2 in Bb minor 2nd Movt. - Full Score.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/63zwwyen0...2 in Bb minor 3rd Movt. - Full Score.pdf?dl=0
 

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Liszt, Bruckner, Chopin, Scriabin, Wallace, Bortkiewicz.
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Very good composition with Busonian style! I LIKE it! Keep going.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello yet again,

Please ignor the links to the scores as posted above. I made a mistake before exporting them and they are nearly unreadable.

I have since made much clearer copies and here are the links to follow if you would like to see the scores.

Thanks again and sorry for the mix up.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vm7nud7lc...st Movt adjusted score. - Full Score.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/r6o298nfg...nd Movt. adjusted score - Full Score.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ahoabrlur...rd Movt. adjusted score - Full Score.pdf?dl=0
 

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There's some decent work here Mark but maybe I don't really hear you or the potential you as such. Are you in the process of trying to progress your work into a more updated but not necessarily atonal style of writing, or are you happy in this harmonic/stylistic world?
It'd be worth your while imv to push into newer areas as you have a good grounding upon which to build.
(as a cat lover myself, I'm sorry for your loss).
 

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Liszt, Bruckner, Chopin, Scriabin, Wallace, Bortkiewicz.
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There's some decent work here Mark but maybe I don't really hear you as such. Are you in the process of trying to progress your work into a more updated but not necessarily atonal style of writing, or are you happy in this harmonic/stylistic world?
It'd be worth your while imv to push into newer areas as you have a good grounding upon which to build.
Bold Nr.1 >>> I hope he will NOT do it. Lol

Bold Nr.2 >>> I completely agree with you, my dear friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello Mikeh375 and Dimace,

I think that I am trying to find something that is "me", but within the confines of tonality as I am firmly a tonal composition lover. The trouble is that I am not in any way trained either formally or informally, and so my progress is slow, but I do think that I am at least "on the path". Lol.

I have no illusions that I will ever make even the tiniest impression on todays classical music scene, and really that is not why I do it, or even why I post what I do. It entertains me greatly to tinker with notes and see what comes out but I don't truely understand (beyond the intellectual concepts) most of the atonal compositions I have listened to. For me, there is very little beauty there, merely cleverness and I don't find that satifying.

Having said that, I think that within tonality, there are infinite variations to be explored (for my own personal experience, I'm not sure that there is anything new left to find as far as musical history is concerned) and I would like to carry on finding my way through the possibilities. In the end though, I love a nice tune, interesting harmonies and rhythmic intricacies. These are what carry me through a piece without loosing interest.

My reason for posting is in the hope that good people such as yourselves, will help me along on the path with certain observations and suggestions. I do listen and usually I try to impliment those things as best I can and in that way I learn more in the doing.

I don't know about you but I could no more hope to sit down and read (and absorb) any book on musical theory, than I could walk on water, I just don't learn that way.

Once again, thank you both very much for taking time to help me, it really is appreciated.
 

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Some of this is really excellent, especially the rhythmical and harmonic twists in the finale. Everything moves with real fluency and has an infectious joie de vivre. My impression is the second movement has a bit too little contrast with the outer movements but that may in part be due to the fact that the more lyrical sections in the orchestra are a bit underplayed dynamically. NotePerformer is at its best in crisp, clearly articulated music. I wonder which notation software you use because I haven't found NP requires much in the way of "artificial" corrections to the score although any VST will have a few.

As for studying music theory formally, I see no point. Your ear is good enough from what I can hear. Anyway, what exactly would you study if you did....
 

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Hello Mikeh375 and Dimace,

I think that I am trying to find something that is "me", but within the confines of tonality as I am firmly a tonal composition lover. The trouble is that I am not in any way trained either formally or informally, and so my progress is slow, but I do think that I am at least "on the path". Lol.

I have no illusions that I will ever make even the tiniest impression on todays classical music scene, and really that is not why I do it, or even why I post what I do. It entertains me greatly to tinker with notes and see what comes out but I don't truely understand (beyond the intellectual concepts) most of the atonal compositions I have listened to. For me, there is very little beauty there, merely cleverness and I don't find that satifying.

Having said that, I think that within tonality, there are infinite variations to be explored (for my own personal experience, I'm not sure that there is anything new left to find as far as musical history is concerned) and I would like to carry on finding my way through the possibilities. In the end though, I love a nice tune, interesting harmonies and rhythmic intricacies. These are what carry me through a piece without loosing interest.

My reason for posting is in the hope that good people such as yourselves, will help me along on the path with certain observations and suggestions. I do listen and usually I try to impliment those things as best I can and in that way I learn more in the doing.

I don't know about you but I could no more hope to sit down and read (and absorb) any book on musical theory, than I could walk on water, I just don't learn that way.

Once again, thank you both very much for taking time to help me, it really is appreciated.
Hi Mark,
There is plenty to find and write tonally speaking, especially in extended tonality. You might find a way forward into a newer sounding and potentially more personal language by studying synthetic scales and constructing new vertical shapes. Check out Hanson's treatise below. It's dense and extremely pedantic, however if you work through bits of it (not all of it - there's no need imv) , in order to pick up general principles, you'll have enough to experiment with harmonically and to find new sound - his theory of Involution is fun to mess with despite its off-putting name. The treatise is based on generating extended tonal principles and is here for free......Harmonic materials of modern music; resources of the tempered scale : Hanson, Howard, 1896-1981 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive. Other texts exist and it might be worth you while perusing some to see what might fit your sensibilities best. You wrote about your aversion to theory books so you'd have to overcome that and worse still, you'd have to practice techniques and then play with them.... :p ...it's worth it though, honestly.

Regarding theory, knowing about in depth and mastering techniques enables you to push further into your own aesthetics, encouraging you to discover more about your expressive self by means of exploring any potential the techniques may offer in supporting your own voice. Once you understand a principle, it's a good idea to start applying it as it might pertain to what you like to write, only in a free manner and not restricted by academic constraints, in order to see if it yields any interesting musical results or directions worth exploring more. I've said it many times before that technique/theory if used in a certain way, acts like a search engine and aids inevitability in a piece. Consequently, the view that theory isn't needed and a good ear will suffice is very misguided imv if a composer wants to write concert hall music to the best and most honed of his/her abilities.
 

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Some of this is really excellent, especially the rhythmical and harmonic twists in the finale. Everything moves with real fluency and has an infectious joie de vivre. My impression is the second movement has a bit too little contrast with the outer movements but that may in part be due to the fact that the more lyrical sections in the orchestra are a bit underplayed dynamically. NotePerformer is at its best in crisp, clearly articulated music. I wonder which notation software you use because I haven't found NP requires much in the way of "artificial" corrections to the score although any VST will have a few.

As for studying music theory formally, I see no point. Your ear is good enough from what I can hear. Anyway, what exactly would you study if you did....
Thank you DKO22,
I have to agree that the second movement does lack a bit of "ummph" every now and then, it was intended to be a calmer more quiet movement, but I think even so, it could do with a boost here and there dynamically speaking.

I use sibelius, but I think a lot of the fault lies with me not exploring it's capabilities fully enough, there are a LOT of buttons and settings etc., and an even bigger user manual (that has remained mostly unread)!

As for study, thank you for the compliment about my ear, (the other one is not bad either) but I do think that it might have served me better to have taken it further in my youth, however, now I think it's a bit harder to break all my bad habits and work arounds lol.
 

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Hi Mike,

Thank you for the link, I have followed and downloaded it and will have a look, promise!

I do agree with you that if I want to improve further, then at least a basic understanding of newer principles and techniques is going to be very helpful. I do intend to continue and hopefully grow as a composer, if only for my own pleasure. My problem is that I would much rather have someone talk me through it all, than sit down myself and read something that possibly uses language intended for already well educated folks! LOL. But, I do thank you and I will of course try to wade through it.
 

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Thank you DKO22,
I have to agree that the second movement does lack a bit of "ummph" every now and then, it was intended to be a calmer more quiet movement, but I think even so, it could do with a boost here and there dynamically speaking.

I use sibelius, but I think a lot of the fault lies with me not exploring it's capabilities fully enough, there are a LOT of buttons and settings etc., and an even bigger user manual (that has remained mostly unread)!

As for study, thank you for the compliment about my ear, (the other one is not bad either) but I do think that it might have served me better to have taken it further in my youth, however, now I think it's a bit harder to break all my bad habits and work arounds lol.
For notation, you might possibly find it worthwhile to try out Dorico as from the point of layout, 99% is done automatically for you in standard notation at any rate without needing to mess around. It is also much more powerful from the point of view of playback in general as it has a DAW-like pianoroll editor and works with NotePerformer (except at present proper glissandi and a couple of minor things). Of course another learning curve but I would never go back to Sibelius.

On theory and harmony, only you can decide how to develop. For myself, the starting point is deciding exactly which emotion I want to express and then trying to find an appropriate melodic/harmonic/rhythmical/instrumentation way of doing it. In many cases, there will already be inspiring existing musical examples but even small changes to any of the primary elements can subtly change the meaning. As everyone responds to music somewhat differently, there is no way that this can be objectively quantified even if it did exist in books. The more worthwhile music you know, the more reference points you have -- and of course that also applies to structuring the composition. Others take a more technical approach to composition but in general, listeners (as opposed to fellow composers or academics) are less interested in this side of things than what the music expresses for good or ill.
 

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Hi Mark

thanks for posting this. It’s a huge amount of work to put a full concerto together.

i quite liked many aspects of the work, especially the harmonic progressions.

in terms of recommendations. What i would suggest is giving more consideration to the interaction between the piano and the orchestra. The piano is especially dominant, especially in the 2nd and 3rd movements to the point it’s almost a moto perpetuo. Of course it would sound very different in the hands of a great pianist. This means maybe some more breaks to give the orchestra to have a chance to converse with the piano? Also some sequences sounded very rhythmically homogenous in the 2nd movement and made me wonder what some more rhythmic variety would bring to that movement in particular. Even though it’s not that way in the score, the combination of left and right hand results in a persistent note on every single beat. Almost they sound emphasised which makes me wonder if Sibelius is not using meccanico in the play settings.

anyway just my idea. To do this all untrained by ear is quite an accomplishment. Bravo.
 

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Hi Adrien --- I was thinking also of mentioning your point that the piano -- apart from at the beginning -- doesn't have too many moments of rest. In the end, though, it seems to be more of an issue that the orchestra doesn't come through enough in places where it really should, and this is above all in the middle movement which should be more differentiated from the outer movements and indeed, as you point out, within itself.
 

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Hi Mark

thanks for posting this. It’s a huge amount of work to put a full concerto together.

i quite liked many aspects of the work, especially the harmonic progressions.

in terms of recommendations. What i would suggest is giving more consideration to the interaction between the piano and the orchestra. The piano is especially dominant, especially in the 2nd and 3rd movements to the point it’s almost a moto perpetuo. Of course it would sound very different in the hands of a great pianist. This means maybe some more breaks to give the orchestra to have a chance to converse with the piano? Also some sequences sounded very rhythmically homogenous in the 2nd movement and made me wonder what some more rhythmic variety would bring to that movement in particular. Even though it’s not that way in the score, the combination of left and right hand results in a persistent note on every single beat. Almost they sound emphasised which makes me wonder if Sibelius is not using meccanico in the play settings.

anyway just my idea. To do this all untrained by ear is quite an accomplishment. Bravo.
Hi Adrien and dko,

Thanks for listening and giving me your opinion, I appreciate it.
I also agree with the fact that the "conversation" between piano and orchestra, at times seems quite one sided. I had intended that there would be places where the piano should be much more part of the texture along with the orchestra but it hasn't been balanced very well. However, as you say, if I were to drop the piano out from time to time that would also give the soloist time to breath too, it is quite unrelenting.

Also the second movement is quite repetative rythmically speaking and perhaps it would benefit from the odd diversion every now and then.

I do listen and consider all the suggestions people give me and as you've said before, it is hard to call any of my music "finished". I can always spend more time with it and revise it add infinitum. My purpose in posting is for just that reason. To get others suggentions and then, after a little distance from it, I will go back in and try to impliment some the suggestions that people gave me.

Thank you once again for taking the time and "watch this space". Not too closely however, it might be a while yet LOL.

Dko, I haven't tried Dorico, perhaps in the future, as at the moment, finances will not permit but I do think that even though I don't know sibelius quite as intimately as some, it is not great when it comes to the sound quality and mixing of the piece. Notation is my own lazyness. I could go through and correct many of the mistakes but by the time I reach the end, it's a lot!
As I've said before, I would make the effort if I thought anyone would ever want to play it, but as that isn't likely, I don't tend to bother.
I have started reading the material you suggested the other day and it's not too high falootin' as I imaginded it would be, so i will keep going, in managable chunks of course LOL.
 

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Hi Mark,

nice effort, must have taken quite some time! I just have some small remarks which could improve the sound by small changes:

  • would be nice to hear some small rhythmical changes (ritardando / accelerando or time changes)
  • on several loud passages, static noises are quite noticeable (sound spikes, like 4:54 in movement 3). It would definitly improve the hearing experience to remove these spikes with an equalizer in post-processing. Sometimes I'm still struggling with those myself.
Composition-wise, I have no helpful remarks at the moment - I have to listen more in detail
 

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Hi veradnai,
Thanks for your thoughts, yes I don't quite have the hang of after processing, I have audacity, but I'm not sure how to use it lol.
As for the rest, yes I suppose it is a bit full on most of the time. Even the calmer 2nd Movt., is still quite non stop so perhaps you're right, let's see what happens in the next round of edits!
Thanks again for listening and talking the time to comment, much appreciated.
 
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