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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When I was selected the musical leader of the band (no longer in existence), I started to compose this piece XyXy straight away for the band. I created a score and parts for every instrumentalist. It took many months for the amateur band to rehearse this little piece of mine and an immense amount of effort on my part to lead the whole. But damn it was rewarding eventually to record the piece and hear it!

It is me on male vocals and keyboards.

The reason for me posting it is simple: it is kind of a prequel to my symphony in progress although I had forgetten about the piece — and the genre is progressive rock and there is more traditional tonality in XyXy than in the symphony. This is classical music in everything but the orchestration if you ask me.

Do you believe in me being able to pull of a symphony? At least this XyXy here is thoroughly symphonic and based on a motive technique. I hope you are not embarrassed. I will probably delete the link soon because I am a modest Finn. ;)
 

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I like it. The interplay of the dual guitars is very cool, and the variety of the interlocking sections that meld into each other very symphonically is very well done. In order to keep the modest Finn modest I'll mention the male vocals are probably the weakest link, as they are in a lot of prog-rock. You tend to extend the vocal phrases over several notes (there's a term for that, but I can't recall it [melisma?]) leading to a somewhat strained execution. Faster singing/more words and/or less singing would have made it seem more effortless (ex: Richard Sinclair). But overall, man, it's great. Yes, you could write a symphony!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I like it. The interplay of the dual guitars is very cool, and the variety of the interlocking sections that meld into each other is very well done. In order to keep the modest Finn modest I'll mention the male vocals are probably the weakest link, as they are in a lot of prog-rock. You tend to extend the vocal phrases over several notes (there's a term for that, but I can't recall it [melisma?]) leading to a somewhat strained execution. Faster singing/more words and/or less singing would have made it seem more effortless (ex: Richard Sinclair). But overall, man, it's great. Yes, you could write a symphony!
Thank you very much for the insightful comment!

Yeah, as a singer I have an OK voice I think but I do not practice enough and it sure can be heard. Neither do I perceive myself a musician although when recording, I really should! My focus is on the big picture as I am the producer and so with the vocals there is nobody to kick my butt and coach me.

So I agree with you totally on my vocals.
 

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Prog doesn't get the respect it deserves. Truth is, only a person with a masters or doctorate in music has even a remote chance of having their works performed by an orchestra. Unless they're some kind of genius.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Prog doesn't get the respect it deserves. Truth is, only a person with a masters or doctorate in music has even a remote chance of having their works performed by an orchestra. Unless they're some kind of genius.
I am a typical guy growing up playing Bach and Chopin on the piano while listening to rock music as part of the pop culture surrounding everyone. Of course the sound world and energy of rock stuck with me although I later found the deepest musical experiences from ”art music”. Combining rock and art music appealed to the Great Eclectic in me = resulting in Progressive Rock a la Yes, Genesis and King Crimson… We did many wonderful gigs and I got to be the real glamrock lead singer.

Now it is time for me to focus on art music but not to give up on the eclectism nor the energy level of rock.
 

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Prog doesn't get the respect it deserves. Truth is, only a person with a masters or doctorate in music has even a remote chance of having their works performed by an orchestra. Unless they're some kind of genius.
I don't agree with that at all. If a composer is dedicated and willing to do some selling, it can be done. Maybe it won't get played by the great orchestras in Chicago and Cleveland or elsewhere, but there are thousands of smaller orchestras in the US alone that do regularly give time to new music. The orchestra I play with the most often premiered a decent work by a young woman who had little experience writing for orchestra. She came to us and gave the conductor and board members a score and computer-realized CD and whaddaya know, we programmed it. Our upcoming concert in May will also feature a beautiful concerto for wind quintet and orchestra - the composer is a Julliard student but grew up in town and we know him which helped. The composers who have a tough time are the over-educated PhDs who write music that is simply beyond the ability of less than professional orchestras. One composer whose name is withheld, but many people on this site will know him, has written 12 symphonies and never had one of them played. He's very bitter about it. I've tired of explaining to him that a 12-tone work in rapidly changing meters 7/8, 3/8, 5/16. 1/4 then repeat is not very easy. Add to the bewildering array of percussion instruments (2 xylophones, glockenspiel, 3 timpani players and 12 drums, vibraphone, marimba, chimes, 2 different sized bass drums, 2 cymbal players, and then all toys like guiro, tambourines, triangles etc) and you've shot yourself in the foot. If you want to get your music played, make is accessible for both players and audience, make it realistically and economically performable, have a set of parts and score that are computer typeset, and go out and sell yourself.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't agree with that at all. If a composer is dedicated and willing to do some selling, it can be done. Maybe it won't get played by the great orchestras in Chicago and Cleveland or elsewhere, but there are thousands of smaller orchestras in the US alone that do regularly give time to new music. The orchestra I play with the most often premiered a decent work by a young woman who had little experience writing for orchestra. She came to us and gave the conductor and board members a score and computer-realized CD and whaddaya know, we programmed it. Our upcoming concert in May will also feature a beautiful concerto for wind quintet and orchestra - the composer is a Julliard student but grew up in town and we know him which helped. The composers who have a tough time are the over-educated PhDs who write music that is simply beyond the ability of less than professional orchestras. One composer whose name is withheld, but many people on this site will know him, has written 12 symphonies and never had one of them played. He's very bitter about it. I've tired of explaining to him that a 12-tone work in rapidly changing meters 7/8, 3/8, 5/16. 1/4 then repeat is not very easy. Add to the bewildering array of percussion instruments (2 xylophones, glockenspiel, 3 timpani players and 12 drums, vibraphone, marimba, chimes, 2 different sized bass drums, 2 cymbal players, and then all toys like guiro, tambourines, triangles etc) and you've shot yourself in the foot. If you want to get your music played, make is accessible for both players and audience, make it realistically and economically performable, have a set of parts and score that are computer typeset, and go out and sell yourself.

Great advice!

(For my prog I have not been willing to do the hard selling work but for my art music I will do just that because I believe people will understand the music and I know what I am doing there.)
 

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I don't agree with that at all. If a composer is dedicated and willing to do some selling, it can be done. Maybe it won't get played by the great orchestras in Chicago and Cleveland or elsewhere, but there are thousands of smaller orchestras in the US alone that do regularly give time to new music. The orchestra I play with the most often premiered a decent work by a young woman who had little experience writing for orchestra. She came to us and gave the conductor and board members a score and computer-realized CD and whaddaya know, we programmed it. Our upcoming concert in May will also feature a beautiful concerto for wind quintet and orchestra - the composer is a Julliard student but grew up in town and we know him which helped. The composers who have a tough time are the over-educated PhDs who write music that is simply beyond the ability of less than professional orchestras. One composer whose name is withheld, but many people on this site will know him, has written 12 symphonies and never had one of them played. He's very bitter about it. I've tired of explaining to him that a 12-tone work in rapidly changing meters 7/8, 3/8, 5/16. 1/4 then repeat is not very easy. Add to the bewildering array of percussion instruments (2 xylophones, glockenspiel, 3 timpani players and 12 drums, vibraphone, marimba, chimes, 2 different sized bass drums, 2 cymbal players, and then all toys like guiro, tambourines, triangles etc) and you've shot yourself in the foot. If you want to get your music played, make is accessible for both players and audience, make it realistically and economically performable, have a set of parts and score that are computer typeset, and go out and sell yourself.
Too bad the Louisville Orchestra isn't commissioning new works anymore. Or are they?
 

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I don't agree with that at all. If a composer is dedicated and willing to do some selling, it can be done. Maybe it won't get played by the great orchestras in Chicago and Cleveland or elsewhere, but there are thousands of smaller orchestras in the US alone that do regularly give time to new music. The orchestra I play with the most often premiered a decent work by a young woman who had little experience writing for orchestra. She came to us and gave the conductor and board members a score and computer-realized CD and whaddaya know, we programmed it. Our upcoming concert in May will also feature a beautiful concerto for wind quintet and orchestra - the composer is a Julliard student but grew up in town and we know him which helped. The composers who have a tough time are the over-educated PhDs who write music that is simply beyond the ability of less than professional orchestras. One composer whose name is withheld, but many people on this site will know him, has written 12 symphonies and never had one of them played. He's very bitter about it. I've tired of explaining to him that a 12-tone work in rapidly changing meters 7/8, 3/8, 5/16. 1/4 then repeat is not very easy. Add to the bewildering array of percussion instruments (2 xylophones, glockenspiel, 3 timpani players and 12 drums, vibraphone, marimba, chimes, 2 different sized bass drums, 2 cymbal players, and then all toys like guiro, tambourines, triangles etc) and you've shot yourself in the foot. If you want to get your music played, make is accessible for both players and audience, make it realistically and economically performable, have a set of parts and score that are computer typeset, and go out and sell yourself.
All good points, but it's still advisable for most to set their sights lower. On a string quartet or piano trio for example, in addition to prog rock. A busy conductor or music director will be even less inclined to listen to just anyone's work than a record label exec to listen to a stack of CD-Rs from just any garage band. Add to that a large portion of today's classical audience simply don't want to hear contemporary works anymore. They only want to hear Beethoven and Brahms. The same way people don't want to hear anything off the Rolling Stones' new album anymore. They only want to hear Jumping Jack Flash and Satisfaction.
 

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All good points, but it's still advisable for most to set their sights lower.
The biggest problem facing most of us is simply the sheer number of composers all seeking performances, publications, recordings and entering contests. For that, one must just be realistic and yet persevere. Many times you'll be rejected (either by response or no response), but that does not mean just don't bother. I'll give an example. In researching publishers, I came across a decent sized one that had on their roster several composers I personally knew and were stylistically similar to my own. So I submitted one piece. They responded "Not interested". Later I sent a different work to them and again they declined. Later I sent them a third different piece and that they accepted. Now imagine if I had set my sights lower after the first reject and looked to a smaller, more obscure publishing house or worse stopped trying.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The biggest problem facing most of us is simply the sheer number of composers all seeking performances, publications, recordings and entering contests. For that, one must just be realistic and yet persevere. Many times you'll be rejected (either by response or no response), but that does not mean just don't bother. I'll give an example. In researching publishers, I came across a decent sized one that had on their roster several composers I personally knew and were stylistically similar to my own. So I submitted one piece. They responded "Not interested". Later I sent a different work to them and again they declined. Later I sent them a third different piece and that they accepted. Now imagine if I had set my sights lower after the first reject and looked to a smaller, more obscure publishing house or worse stopped trying.
My plan is to make also an excellent Radiophonic Version of the symphony with studio musicians (and myself playing double bass with a bow, keyboards and an aerophone with saxophone fingerings with which I can cover contrabassoon stuff etc) and publish it.

Then I will approach orchestras with the score and a CD. It sure needs perseverence but if I consider it a defining work of mine, finally I have the motivation.

I have absolutely no interest in marketing MYSELF. But if I manage to create a piece of work I believe in, sure I will be happy to market it. But it needs to be a work on the scale of a symphony for me to feel it is weighty enough.
 

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My plan is to make also an excellent Radiophonic Version of the symphony with studio musicians (and myself playing double bass with a bow, keyboards and an aerophone with saxophone fingerings with which I can cover contrabassoon stuff etc) and publish it.

Then I will approach orchestras with the score and a CD. It sure needs perseverence but if I consider it a defining work of mine, finally I have the motivation.

I have absolutely no interest in marketing MYSELF. But if I manage to create a piece of work I believe in, sure I will be happy to market it. But it needs to be a work on the scale of a symphony for me to feel it is weighty enough.
Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess made plans to hire an orchestra in Venezuela. Where the price for a highly competent orchestra would've been quite reasonable. Those plans fell through when the Chavez/Maduro regime made it politically untenable.
 

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[...] the orchestra premiered a decent work [...]
What are the economic habits for the premiere of a work by an unreputed composer?
The composer gets his normal remuneration?
He makes a rebate?
He abandons his remuneration that time?
He abandons eternally his remuneration for that work played by that orchestra?
 

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Good question. Most young composers I have worked with gladly hand over score and parts with gratitude and are just happy to get the music played; they don't expect to get paid - the performance is payment enough. I do know one local composer who wrote a tuba concerto and begged everyone to perform it. Finally, one semi-pro group accepted it. I would have thought he would be a bit more humble and grateful, but no...he then asked for $1000 for printing the score and parts and on top of that another $1500 to be the soloist. The orchestra always records its concerts for archival purposes but he even wanted to be paid for that! He busted the budget for that concert and the work was a piece of crap which made it even more insulting. He killed the golden goose - after our story got out no one, anywhere, has performed the work or hired him.
 
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As long as the orchestra pays a yearly license fee to the performing rights organizations (BMI, ASCAP, SEASAC) and the composer also belongs to one, the composer will get some money. I had one piece played by a community orchestra three times and ASCAP paid me about $800. Otherwise it is rare for such an orchestra to "pay" the composer. Money only happens with a competition that states upfront the prize amount or a commission.
 
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