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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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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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