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Topic: Anachronistic?

  1. #1

    Exclamation Anachronistic?

    I updated it...If it sounds the same to you...then try clearing your browser's history....I think...anyway, I played with the dynamics...and replaced the section strings with individual instances of Strad, and 'friller...and GPO solo strings. It was my first time building my own section.

    Enjoy the update,


    Hey everybody,

    I just returned from Scotland, where I was working on the slow movement in my final project...a symphony. Anyway, I was also there to look into a Masters program in Composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The head of the department, after having heard this piece, said that I wrote anachronistically...or like a dead guy. I was wanting to know what you all thought. After talking to him, I did add more Brass and harmonies to the piece. The question is...does it still sound too old?

    He said that I was not ready for their Masters program, but that my orchestration was not bad.

    Also...he said that I needed to listen to more contemporary composers...any recommendations for listening repertoire that would give me the edge I will need to get in a good program like this one. He had said to listen to everything I could get my hands on...

    I was also wondering what emotions this evokes? I was trying for something, and I wanted to know if I achieved it by seeing how you all responded.

    Thanks for the listen...

    As I complete more of the major work this is from...I will post them as they come along. All told, my goal is to have 3 or 4 movements...and then, hopefully, have them performed as my Senior recital.

    Any ideas on how to raise the money to fund the performance would be greatly appreciated. I have a lot of woodwind and brass people here, but will have to hire strings.

    BTW this is based on 2 Scottish tunes...loosely.

    Thank you (in advance)
    Last edited by Prowland; 02-09-2009 at 02:15 PM. Reason: left out some info...

    Prowland the posting Ninja

  2. #2
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Central Illinois

    Re: Anachronistic?

    Hi Paul, After hearing your piece, I would say it is more "something from another time" or a similar meaning of anachronistic. I suppose there is a great emphasis on writing in a modern style in music schools. I like the style of this, and don't see why it's not deemed important to study and emulate some of the masters while learning composition and scoring. I enjoyed the piece, and look forward to hearing the rest of your symphony. John

  3. #3

    Re: Anachronistic?

    Hi Paul,

    I love this track.

    The head guy can go to H#ll in my opinion (not that he is going to give a squat about my opinion). Those dead guys wrote some damn fine music...and it is still being played.

    Take what he said and file it under "OK'. I say write music that you feel from within.
    Producer ~ Sound Engineer ~ Musician


  4. #4

    Re: Anachronistic?

    The Brittish unis are rather known to go towards a more contemporary approach. Their idea is that you don't need to 'learn' composition in a tonal idiom (as this 2nd movement certainly is), when you know harmony, counterpoint and orchestration. The techniques used in tonal music (and classical, romantic, etc) are all matters of more 'traditional' development.

    When you enter a masters degree you are expected to go deeper into the contemporary techniques of composition.

    This work sounds anachronistic, exactly in the sense that it could've been written 150-200 years ago. It is a part of a symphony to begin with, which automatically makes people think classical, neo classical, meta classical and anything to do with classical. If you look into music history the people who wrote symphonies were either classic composers (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven), neo classic composers (Prokofiev, Shostakovich), or Malher! So you are immediately aiming at such a connection, whether you like it or not. Your totally tonal language, confirms the above suspicions.

    NOTE: By no means this means that the movement is bad, or that it's a 'wrong' idea to compose in such a way! There's nothing right or wrong here!

    On what to listen. Since you seem to enjoy tonal language I would urge you to stretch out by going towards Bartok, Ravel, Debussy at first, try Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Stavinsky (Rachmaninov and Scriabine (the works of his youth) are probably labeled towards neo romantic works), and later strive for works by Messiaen, Schnittke, etlux (damnit can't remember another 2 names in here, whose music is TOTALLY AMAZING), and other names that might crop up!

    As a primary tool, I would suggest youtube, at first, and then buying CDs, if you can afford it.


    I'm not good at emotions but it brought images of the great outside... Some kind of forest, or simmilar. Sorry I'm no good at that.


    Having a symphony performed (of around 20-40 minutes) is a HUGE feat! If you manage it by all means! But it still remains that it will be difficult and hiring... 20-30 string players will be problematic.

    One idea would be to find an amateur orchestra where you are. Google "amateur orchestras + uk (or london, or wherever you are), and start contacting people.

    Alternatively just... work.

    Best of luck with everything you do.

  5. #5

    Re: Anachronistic?

    Responses are in reverse order...

    Nikolas--I am in Kentucky...I was leaning towards a chamber orchestra (so, fairly small). I might even pare it down to a string quartet if I need to...I am going to contact the closest uni with a string program (Eastern Kentucky Uni). If I can get them sold on the idea, then I will not have a problem! The issue with the idiom (symphony) will, hopefully, be ameliorated by giving a title to the larger work and subsequent movements. I have listened to a number of the composers you listed...I have been finding a few new folks like Torke, Zappa, etc.

    Anyway, I am a firm believer in giving the professors what they want! He wants more modern techniques...then that is what he shall get! After all, Masters degrees are about connections and learning to give what is asked of you...that ability, and the new tools you learn along the way are what it is all about.

    Thanks for the comments, Nikolas.

    Hippie--I first learned music in Rock bands...metal to be specific...so your sentiment appeals to the rebel in me. There is nothing that says that I cannot continue to write tonally...AND work in the suggestions he gave me. ...or write the way I normally do for me, and then turn in what he is asking for to him. We shall see...he may have been testing me to see what pieces I would write if he nudged me in that direction. Does that make sense to anyone but me? LOL I thought myself into a whirlwind on that one!

    Bigears--I am unsure whether he was really downplaying the study and emulation of the masters...as much as wanting me to expand my horizons a bit.

    Everyone--thank you, again, for the listen and the comments. I have a year to get this monster written...so, who knows where it will take me! I have a general idea developing where the Larger piece (symphony or whatever label) gets more and more "Modern" as it goes along. Since this movement is fairly early on...it is OK for it to be older in style. The later pieces will incorporate more of the techniques I will pick up along the way.

    As everyone on this forum can note...there are many styles these days, and none of them are wrong or bad. We are alive...and composing, thus they are modern, even when they do hearken back to earlier times. Just look at the Neo-whatever composers!!

    Thank you all...again

    Prowland the posting Ninja

  6. #6

    Re: Anachronistic?

    Hey Paul,

    Boy, this could go on forever; the discussion, not the music
    The music is obviously very formal and well written.

    I have been following all the replies to your post. Your attitude toward learning and "performing" for your teacher is very admirable.

    It is hard for some to do both... stay true to yourself but go outside yourself to please and/or learn something new. You, as a composer, will benefit greatly with this ability and desire to achieve both.

    It's hard to label music sometimes. Am I modern, romantic, classical, or just "suck"? I don't know. But I am happy.

    I hope this helps and wish you the best!

    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music

  7. #7

    Re: Anachronistic?

    I liked the piece very much. I agree that it could have been written many years ago, but so what? I'm sure you've learned alot writing this piece and hopefully it's a satisfying result to you.

    One thing that took me a long time to learn was letting go of the expectations of my teacher and writing what I wanted to write. It was a hard break to make. Having said that, however, you will be expected to learn other techniques and I think you should dive headlong into those studies. It will only give you a bigger palette of tools to draw from.

    To add one more name to Nikolas's list would be qccowboy. I think you'll find his music rooted somewhat in tradition but his harmonic language is modern. Search the listening room for his symphony #1 (my favorite).

    Keep up the good work.

    Steve Winkler

  8. #8

    Re: Anachronistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by swinkler View Post
    To add one more name to Nikolas's list would be qccowboy. I think you'll find his music rooted somewhat in tradition but his harmonic language is modern. Search the listening room for his symphony #1 (my favorite).
    One down one to go. I love Michel's work! (already mentioned he's one of my favourite living composers in another forum! )

    The other one is Skysaw (I think this is his nick). He's written some lovely music and some miniatures in piano which are totally AWESOME (I was actually playing them the other day! ^_^). Firefly studies or something. (Then again I do hope it's him and not someone else and I embarasse my self further).

  9. #9

    Re: Anachronistic?

    agh! guys! I is blushing now!!!!

    However, to continue with Niko's comments.. I've also suffered from the "too conservative" label.

    I was quite rudely refused an audition to enter a Master's program at a local university after meeting with the director of the composition department.

    Thankfully, Professor Belkin at Université de Montréal, along with the rest of the staff there, were CONSIDERABLY more open-minded and inclusive.

    Find a school that will welcome you with open arms.

    From my experience, too many of the "contemporary vocation" schools skimp on CRAFT, while pushing "newness". They forget that the basics apply to whatever kind of music you are writing, be it extreme avantgarde or traditionalist. And trust me, it SHOWS. I've heard a great many works from composers who went to these schools that promote "avantgarde" thinking in composition.. and FAR too often, the most important comment I could make is that they were seriously lacking in craft. The fundamental tools of the composer's arsenal.

    Well-written is well-written, regardless of what musical language you employ. A good composition teacher shouldn't be trying to push you to compose in any specific harmonic language (other than encouraging you to explore other avenues). A good composition teacher should be concentrating on showing you WHERE what you've written could be BETTER.

    /rant over

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Re: Anachronistic?

    Hi Paul,
    I will respond along the lines my comp teacher would use.

    1. I keep waiting for something to happen.
    2. I don't hear any melody which lasts more than 6 beats.
    3. Instruments aren't the problem except that we never hear
    definite tone colors.
    4. There isn't any sense of form, i.e. A/B/A.
    5. The beginning, middle, and end are at the same dynamic & emotional

    Why do I recognize this? I've done the same things.


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