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Topic: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

  1. #1

    Post Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    Hi everyone, this is my first post to this forum. Nice to meet you all.

    I am working on my second symphony (the word still sticks in my throat, as if I am not yet qualified to use it!). All the sounds are from GPO as included with Finale 2006.

    I would appreciate feedback of all kinds -- subjective -- ie what did you experience listening to this? also technical, compositonal, balance, orchestration, whatever. Also, for those of you knowledgeable in musical styles, how would you classify this piece?

    This movement is based on the 4 stages of the womb experience as described by Stanislav Graf. As I understand them, they are: the oceanic experience, the feeling of pressure but "no exit" as labor starts but the cervix is not yet open (this is enormously stressful for the fetus), the birth process -- messy, noisy, sensory overload, frightening, and release. Please know that it changes significantly throughout, so any small part is not indicative of the whole piece.

    go to my soundclick page:

    scroll down to:
    Symphony No. 2 mv 1 'In the Womb'

    click the little play button at the upper right (choose hi-fi or lo-fi as you wish).

    Thanks and nice to meet you all.

    Karen ("KE") Peace

  2. #2

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    Very nice, Miss Karen.

    The "heartbeat" (timpani) got a bit tiresome after a while but overall, your work is very pleasant and highly listenable. Perhaps the sound of a real heartbeat substituting for some of the timpani measures would be the way to go.

    You have considerable talent. It's nice to have another chick...uhh another lady composer on the forum. Welcome.


    Larry G. Alexander

  3. #3

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    Couldn't hear the first 30 seconds or so. I thought the music was beautiful. It's a wonderful idea for a project. I understood the drum to represent a heartbeat but thought it sounded too harsh, as though communicating a sense of foreboding, to convey a womb-experience ... maybe something softer somehow? Sorry I could only listen to 4 minutes or so, have to get ready to go to work now!
    Vista / Sonar Home Studio 6 / GPO 2d edition / Melodyne Uno 1.8

  4. #4

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    I enjoyed your piece quite a lot, a nice bit of a rollercoaster which evoked perfectly the feelings\images you describe . I'm not particularly qualified to give an informed opinion but I thought the orchestration\choice of instruments worked well..the highest notes (piccolo?) sounded a little synthy but that may be software related and\or may also be linked to my lack of exposure to the sound of a real piccolo. Well done and welcome to the forums; I'm pretty new to this whole thing myself and the people on here are great.

  5. #5

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request


    I would not classify this as a symphony but rather a programmatic tone poem. Orchestrationally, I would suggest you not introduce the timpani hits at the beginning till a big event happens. For example, start off with just cellos and bass and perhaps around 3 minutes in you bring in the timpani adding to or replacing the cellos and double bass. Also one thing that having the timpani pedal note going on for so long without much change, is the feel is that the key hasn't changed and it starts getting a bit old and static.

    I also could use more harmonic contrast in the various sections. Perhaps deviate from the key you are in when the brass enters. So maybe around the 5 minute part, you place the listener in a different key - maybe this is the place the timpani should come in. I think this would sound refreshing. In a typical symphony, the development section is going to be unstable harmonically - for instance, jump keys and make the final section seem like we finally arrived at our destination but it took some work to get there.

    I felt when the brass section ended and we were at the string coda - it just sort of happened all of a sudden rather than a feeling of "ahhh - we've finally arrived" - does that make any sense? It's hard to explain by typing it. I would generally encourage you to try more contrasts. For example, how about a solo instrument leading up to a tutti orchestra? Just as an idea - something like pp string tremelos with a solo clarinet playing something that eventually works itsway up to the full ensemble?

    I think the concept of the piece is strong and you understand many of the technical aspects of music writing - but these are just some of my subjective observations as a listener. Overall, definitely a nice job.


  6. #6

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    Hello, Karen - This is wonderful the way you've arrived here "fully born" (to borrow an analogy from your posted music) with a substantial composition to share right off from day one.

    From concept, composition to execution I find this very captivating and impressive. You certainly have command with the techniques to make the most from GPO inside Finale--You've managed to give us one of the best sounding pieces to be posted here in some time.

    During the first Oceanic movement, I was a bit surprised to hear how melodic and tonal it was. After reading your description I thought perhaps I was going to hear something more primal--not in the aggressive sense the way that word is often used, but in an peacefully expansive and constantly unfolding pre-structured music way. I enjoyed what I heard, it's just my subjective experience to be surprised by the opening's tonality.

    Musical interest gathered as the piece went on, and the dramatic moments of almost being born, then being born were wonderful. I was expecting the post-birth to continue with less restfulness, considering how traumatized infants remain for some time after emerging into the world. Perhaps that's the opening concept of the next movement?

    You indicated you're not comfortable calling this or anything you write a "Symphony"--And you asked us what category we feel it's in. The more academically inclined types here may have interesting ideas about what to call it--to justify the word "symphony" or not, for instance--But categorization concerns me extremely little. And my advice is that if you're not comfortable with calling something you write a "symphony"--then don't call it that. You mean that you feel pretentious saying that. Maybe it is pretentious. Maybe it would be better to just give it a title and skip the category label. I have Zero care if what I'm hearing is a Symphony, a Concerto, an Invention, a Song--It's all Music to me.

    I just now looked through some of the responses you've gotten so far--Several reactions to the Tympani. Well--I don't feel inclined to tell you how I would use it in this, that would have nothing to do what you have done. I thought it was very effective. Having it replaced with a sound effect doesn't strike me as appropriate--I feel keeping it traditionally orchestral is preferable. And whether or not it comes in at the beginning, the way you have it, or comes in later--one could justify a variety of different entrances, it's out of the realm for anyone but you to decide that--and you already have decided, and I accepted what you did because it works. It was certainly scene-setting.

    I appreciated being taken on this journey--Thank you so much!

    Randy B.

  7. #7

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    A very warm welcome aboard, Karen!

    Highly impactful writing, I must say; quite an introduction of
    yourself and your work.

    On your question of "classification" of the work: few modern
    works submit all that readily to one pigeonhole or another;
    but the loosely-fitting shirt of neo-Romanticism would be apt.

    On the writing -- excellent work! The subtle handling of the
    pulsing heart works quite, quite well, in my opinion, by the
    way -- just enough to carry the idea and move the piece;
    but never obtrusive. Clearly, the piece is devoted a great
    deal to color and the creation of an emotive atmosphere;
    at which, it's highly successful... definitely a few lessons
    learnt from Wagner and Bruckner lurking in the thought that
    underlies this.

    Strong work, Karen. We're definitely looking forward to much,
    much more from you!

    All my best,


  8. #8

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request


    Very nice writing, orchestrating, and rendering. Did this ALL come right out of Finale or did you enhance with Pro Tools? I noticed that you stated that you used Pro Tools in the recording process. Maybe that's just live stuff.

    All of the 4 parts were well described, musically, but I do agree about holding off a little with the Timpani. I understand that you wanted the fetus to be apparent with a constant heartbeat (as a living being), so this is an involved decision here as to when the heartbeat begins.

    As a digression, what is the oceanic experience? I'm not familiar with that term in the "womb" process.

    And lastly, a big welcome to the Garritan "listening room." We experience a lot of enjoyment here listening to each others' music. A lot of helpful comments and beneficial solutions are offered by members, pro and otherwise, to motivate and encourage musical advancement.

    Hope to hear some more of your music in the near future.

    BRAVO, karen

    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 25.5, DORICO 1.2.10, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.51, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  9. #9

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    This was Terrific work, Karen!

    I quite enjoyed the timpani throughout the duration. It does create a somewhat ominous presence.. but then, what better way to describe the awesome force/mystery behind creation.

    The transitions between stages was nice!.. I detected hints of foreshadow throughout.

    Indeed a wonderful introduction.
    I would suggest you post a few more arrangements from your site. ( very prolific!)

    Nice work!, .. and welcome to the forum.


  10. #10

    Re: Symphony No. 2 mv 1 "In The Womb" -- Feedback Request

    I also thoroughly enjoyed this movement.
    I haven't had the time to lsiten to any other movements, however.

    maybe if you feel like, at some point, trying out a bit of a change in response to the timpani comments, you could maybe consider slowly melding the timpani heartbeat into an orchestral heartbeat? sort of pulsing chords? mind you, I didn't feel the timpani went on too long. it suited the piece, in my opinion (which of course, as has been mentionned elsewhere, is nothing BUT an opinion).

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