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Topic: Thirteen

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  1. #1
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    Thirteen

    Here is a new small (about 3 minutes) piece for large orchestra called “Thirteen”.

    All comments, good bad or ugly, and all criticism welcome.


    Why thirteen?

    When I finished my first entry for Challenge 12 I had a horrid thought – “What if I win? I’d have to write a theme for # 13!”

    I knew I didn’t stand a chance, but I wrote a theme anyway.

    The theme has 2 phrases that are 13 beats each. There are also 13 notes in each phrase, each one sounding a different pitch, so 13 pitches. Each phrase has an octave leap, so all twelve tones are given in a row with no repeats (except the 1 octave leap). Looking at the intervals, phrase 2 is an inversion of phrase 1.

    And yet the theme is totally tonal.

    Anyway, after listening to the entries for Challenge 12 I knew I had no chance and the theme was forgotten.

    Well, not for long.

    About a week ago I was churning some ideas around in my head that I wanted to play with. Know what? I was hearing them being done with my discarded “13” theme! I sat down for a few tests and experiments with a full orchestra and...

    ...here it is – “Thirteen”. (You’ll hear the theme at about 1:39 in played by the clarinets and glockenspiel with bassoon doing theme in inversion – you can’t miss it – everything has been leading up to this point).

    -edit - new version with a lot more reverb added on 5/23 at 8:35 PM EST
    Last edited by trentpmcd; 05-23-2007 at 07:34 PM. Reason: said marimba, meant glockenspiel
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2

    Re: Thirteen

    I loved this post, Trent--Your explanation of its genesis and the piece itself. Wow--that theme would have been nice for a Challenge entry!

    But instead of just the theme, we get to hear your full realization of it, and that's like getting to see the movie instead of just reading the review's synopsis of the plot.

    The energy in this is as if its coming from this symmetrical cube and shooting out beyond its borders.---I'm not quite sure what I mean by that, but it's an image I had by the piece's end.

    Nice!--if I may use that word. Crackling!--There, that's more what I mean. Nicely crackling--even better.

    Thanks.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  3. #3
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    Re: Thirteen

    Hi Randy. Thanks for listening to this little piece. Glad you enjoyed the back-story. When I wrote the theme I didn’t have any of this ("this" meaning this piece of music - the use of 13 was intentional!) in mind, I was just trying to come up with something that could be attacked from multiple angles (i.e., as a tone row, as a jazz theme, as a tonal theme, etc.). What I did with it here came later, partially inspired by what some of the people did with your theme.

    I think part of breaking forth from the cube comes from the some of the asymmetrical aspects – the first half is a basic 3 4 , then it goes to 5 4 for a while, but the theme is divided 3 3s and a 4 and later as 2 5s and a 3. Maybe also key areas – it starts in a weird kind of Locrian C, spends most of the time in Eb Major but ends in D minor.

    And you can use the word nice. I just have to keep myself from using it as the basis of my reviews. Crackling works, though…. Maybe I’ll plagiarize it….
    Trent P. McDonald

  4. #4

    Re: Thirteen

    Very sophisticated writing Trent.

    Honestly when I heard the quasi-serial explanation, I was aprehensive, fearing that like so many others this peice would be all concept and no content. But all my fears were unfounded! I absolutely love the level of emotion that you have achieved with this idea.

    Only flaw. Where's the rest of it!! ? ;-)

    Matt

  5. #5

    Re: Thirteen

    Wow! Now, this is darned interesting writing, Trent! You had
    me from the first measure... fascinating. The interplay of
    ideas, the unexpected yet emminently logical forward progress
    of them -- completely engaging. I've listened through this
    about six times... lol!

    A few tech notes:

    To my ear, this might be a bit dry...? And maybe the brass
    is just a hair "hot" in a few places.

    Now.

    Can I talk you into taking this further? There's good and plenty
    in here to develop!

    With applause,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  6. #6
    Senior Member rayzalaf's Avatar
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    Re: Thirteen

    Trent,

    I very enjoyable listen. To use my extensive musical vocabulary not!, "many twists and turns". I agree with David on the dry mix. It is most noticeable on the brass. It sounds like they're playing in a padded cell. Again these issues are of a technical nature and can be addressed. If like this, the content is strong, it's worth doing.

    Kind Regards

    Ray

  7. #7
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    Re: Thirteen

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew S Phillips
    Very sophisticated writing Trent.

    Honestly when I heard the quasi-serial explanation, I was aprehensive, fearing that like so many others this peice would be all concept and no content. But all my fears were unfounded! I absolutely love the level of emotion that you have achieved with this idea.

    Only flaw. Where's the rest of it!! ? ;-)

    Matt
    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for listening. When I wrote the theme I had the idea that it could be used as a tone row for somebody doing something serial with it but decided to treat it as a tonal theme instead.

    I’d like to expand on this a bit but haven’t decided where I want it to go yet.

    Thanks again for listening and for your comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  8. #8
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    Re: Thirteen

    Hi David,

    Thanks for listening and responding.

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    Wow! Now, this is darned interesting writing, Trent! You had
    me from the first measure... fascinating. The interplay of
    ideas, the unexpected yet emminently logical forward progress
    of them -- completely engaging. I've listened through this
    about six times... lol!
    One of the things I want to achieve when I write is to have one part seem to logically and inevitably lead to the next, but do it in such a way that nobody would expect it until it happens. It’s good to know that you think I’ve achieved that to some extent.

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    A few tech notes:

    To my ear, this might be a bit dry...? And maybe the brass
    is just a hair "hot" in a few places.
    I just posted a new version with the brass taken down just a very small amount across the board. When the fanfare comes in I want it a lot louder than what came before it (I have everyone playing about mf while the brass comes in at fff). (edit - at 8:35 EST I posted an even newer version with yet more reverb)

    I also upped the reverb a little. I’m not always great with reverb – I usually go way too much or way too little. I also just send the output channel through the reverb instead of sending sections to different reverbs with different settings to give better sense of space. Anyway, I hope this small change helps.



    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    Now.

    Can I talk you into taking this further? There's good and plenty
    in here to develop!

    With applause,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .
    I will most likely expand this quite a bit, however, at this time I don’t have a clear idea of where I want to go with it.

    Thanks again for your response.
    Trent P. McDonald

  9. #9
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    Re: Thirteen

    Quote Originally Posted by rayzalaf
    Trent,

    I very enjoyable listen. To use my extensive musical vocabulary not!, "many twists and turns". I agree with David on the dry mix. It is most noticeable on the brass. It sounds like they're playing in a padded cell. Again these issues are of a technical nature and can be addressed. If like this, the content is strong, it's worth doing.

    Kind Regards

    Ray
    Hi Ray,

    I posted a new version with a small amount more reverb. After a few listens I might go back and add a little more – I still have a lot of headroom to play with – this peaks out at about –1.2. I’ll have to listen to the brass parts with a more discerning ear… (I just posted an even newer version with even more reverb)

    Yes, lots of twists and turns. And to keep with the thirteen theme, some turns towards a darker area….

    Thanks for listening and taking the time out to listen.
    Trent P. McDonald

  10. #10

    Re: Thirteen

    Hi, Trent--Slight adjustment you made on this sounds fine to me. Very glad to come back. Hope more people catch your fine work.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

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