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Topic: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

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  1. #1

    "Spring in Mid-May" - an Orchestral Art-song

    Hello -

    Attached is a MP3 file of my latest composition, "Spring in Mid-May". It composition #2 for what I hope to be a four-composition project titled "Orchestral Art-Songs #1". Actually, I finished this piece sometime during the the fall of 2012. It is the second of two orchestral composition that I finished last year. (The last piece, "Winter in Mid-January" was finished about a year ago.) I guess I'm just a sloooooow composer. LOL! (More accurately, life has been busy between work and family illnesses.)

    This computer-based orchestral composition primarily used GPO, JABB libraries along with Kirk Hunter's Orchestral Strings 2 & Orchestral Brass 2 libraries. As I've shared before in the past, I find that GPO and JABB blends well with other libraries, especially with Kirk Hunter's Libraries (with their reverb turned off). I used Apple's Logic Pro 9.1.7 audio/sequencing program along with its own reverb and EQ plug-ings.

    The composition is what it is. From a compositional point of view, I'm attempting to develop my own style of "Pop Orchestral Art-Songs" (if that makes any sense). So the melodic and harmonic structures sound relatively "inside" as compared to more modern and sophisticated orchestral compositions. Hopefully, as I write more and more pieces, I'll feel brave enough to develop more sophisticated compositions. I'm just not there yet. However, I am happy to accept any and all comments/criticism/suggestions on improving the overall sound of this piece.

    I'm using an orchestral templet (utilizing my modest set of orchestral libraries). Without a doubt, this piece does not capture the true sound of an orchestra. (I know that some of you here have the chops to use GPO to create such a sound!). But, overall, it seems to me that the sound captures the overall mood of the composition. This I like. But I am ALWAYS willing to take suggestions on improving my sequencing/audio-mixing chops!

    Here's the MP3 file. Please let me know if you have problems opening up and listening to the music: Spring in Mid-May

    I'm sharing this, in part, to help me get motivated to writing more music. Life will always be busy with one issue or another. I need to make time to compose more. In my busy and some-what neurotic mind, sharing this piece to a forum such as this one will provide me a gentle "kick in the behind" to write more.

    I hope all is well with everyone. As you listen to my piece, I will make the time to listen to yours. Thank you!

    Ted Fiebke - Full-time ICU/CCU nurse & composer-wannabe!
    Last edited by efiebke; 01-24-2013 at 04:44 PM. Reason: spelling & grammer corrections.
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  2. #2

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Quote Originally Posted by efiebke View Post
    ...I'm attempting to develop my own style of "Pop Orchestral Art-Songs"...So the melodic and harmonic structures sound relatively "inside" as compared to more modern and sophisticated orchestral compositions. Hopefully, as I write more...pieces, I'll feel brave enough to develop more sophisticated compositions...
    What a wonderful piece of music. Just now as I started to write, Elmer Bernstein came to mind. This is warm, playful, and rich without being fattening. I like it very much.

    I pulled out the above quote to ask a rhetorical question - WHY hope to write more "sophisticated" compositions. The world is already full of modern, atonal noise that only academics listen to. Why not keep writing actual Music that real people can enjoy? I think that's much worthier goal.
    Quote Originally Posted by efiebke View Post
    I'm sharing this, in part, to help me get motivated to writing more music...a gentle "kick in the behind" to write more.
    Consider yourself kicked. It's a new year, fill it with new music. What you're already writing in inspiring others, so there's plenty more music in you where this came from.
    Quote Originally Posted by efiebke View Post
    As you listen to my piece, I will make the time to listen to yours...
    That's a very refreshing phrase to read - Unfortunately, it's too common for people to post music here without listening and replying to other people's pieces.

    Thanks, Ted - Excellent to see you here again, and with such a captivating piece!

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    I just awakened from a little lie down and listened to it.
    What an awakening!
    And yes, you're right Randy
    The world is already full of modern, atonal noise that only academics listen to. Why not keep writing actual Music that real people can enjoy? I think that's much worthier goal.
    so, go on further Ted
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Hello Ted,

    It's good to see you posting!

    I really enjoyed listening to your Spring In Mid May about four times. It's light but full of great ideas and completely unpredictable.

    You draw from several musical influences and combine them into a tasty salad for the ear. One section reminded me a little of music from sixties TV shows. Boy, that takes me back aways!

    I think you've done a great job on rendering this one. I know you use Apple's Logic. It's only $199 now at the app store and it's over-do for an upgrade. Apple could set a new standard for a modern DAW as they have the resources to do it.

    Being critical: at :40 the strings sound a little thin and accordion like. I would try to get more legato right there and a fatter sound. It might take using some other samples.

    Also I think the ending is good but I would follow it with a short uplifting motif. Maybe something like the beginning but faster and in a higher register. It would leave the listener with a sweet after the salad. Ear candy.


    Great work!





    Phil

  5. #5

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Hi Ted

    I can't but agree with the others, it's a great job, a wonderful composition. And there isn't any reason to start writing experimental cerebral music (that you probably wouldn't even like yourself). You have found a firm way to express your musical ideas in solid traditional harmony and you will find a lot of listeners that way. Music is after all a form of expression and therefore of communication (mostly feelings and emotions). Far going experiment often leads to non communication and non understanding...

    Keep up the efforts!

    Max

  6. #6

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Oh my gosh! THANK YOU for the listen and kind encouragment. I'm at work right now and having a quick coffee/"internet" break. I am off from work Monday and should have time to thoughtfullyl respond.

    Oops. . . call bell. . .must go. . . See you!

    Ted
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Well, this is far more interesting than your description led me to expect. As soon as the word Pop appears, there are certain expectations - that you very easily, and skillfully avoided. This is a good composition, and needs no apologies-disclaimers. Very nice rhythmic ideas - they add just enough to keep the ear focused. And the coda is just lovely!

    I don't get much time to listen, here. In this case, I am very glad I did.

    And if you need a kick in the pants to get going, well here you go! Would a nice slap on the back do as well?

    Thanks for this!
    Ron Pearl

    Website:

    ronaldmpearl.com

    myspace:

    http://myspace.com/rmpearl

  8. #8

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    repearl -

    Well, this is far more interesting than your description led me to expect. As soon as the word Pop appears, there are certain expectations. . .
    I giggled a bit when I read these first couple of lines. I honestly don't know how to describe my music. LOL! I call it "Pop" because I know that I'm a novice of sorts in writing orchestral compositions. It definitely has an "inside" sound to it with not too much dissonance, not too much "angular" and unpredictable melodic and rhythmic structures, etc. I've actually composed a couple of "outside" stuff in the past. To be honest, I have a hard time "controlling" it so that it remains interesting to the "educated" ear. In other words, I simply don't have the chops to write more involved, experimental, contemporary stuff. LOL!

    As soon as the word Pop appears, there are certain expectations - that you very easily, and skillfully avoided.
    I thank you for the compliment which I will use as encouragement to continue on the path that I'm going compositionally.

    __________________________________

    Max -

    I also thank you for the kind words and encouragement. I don't know if I totally want to avoid writing "experimental" stuff. I've done it before in the very distant past, but as a real novice to that genre of music. Actually, it was part of a writing assignment for music college! LOL! My music educational background, besides composition, is in film scoring (when flat-bed moviolas were used to edit film-score music to film ). A lesson well-learned during that period of my life is that composer, especially a film-composer, should be at least acquainted as many styles/genres of music as possible. I internalized that in such a way as to it into a philosophy or life-value of sorts. I may never be successful in writing experimental music, but I don't want to be afraid of exposing myself to it either. As you probably know and have heard, there are some really good composer found HERE on this bulletin board that seemed to have mastered composing more "modern" or "experimental" music. I may not be able to take a steady diet of this type of music, but I do appreciate the thought process behind it. By the way, my favorite "experimental" composition to this day is John Cage's 4' 33"!!! I tell you, I can listen to this piece over and over and over and over and over and over again! LOL!

    ________________

    Phil (fastlane) -

    You draw from several musical influences and combine them into a tasty salad for the ear. One section reminded me a little of music from sixties TV shows. Boy, that takes me back aways!
    True story. I've been told over and over again, since my high-school days, that my compositions sounds like television and film-score music! I kid you not, it is this very reason that I decided to study film-composition back in 1978!! I always took those comments as a compliments (which they were intended to be, I believe) and I hold no regrets to the educational path that I followed during my "younger days"! Any and all education is good education in my books. Also, I love '70s style of pop music. Much of my recent "progressive-rock" pieces have that style of sound (especially in the chord progressions & rhythmic/melodic structures used in the music) found in the 1970s. But I really do like the television & movie score music found in the 1960s and 1970s. It's my opinion that the film-composers of those decades (and the decades preceding the 1960s) had great compositional chops! I love the music to such shows as the "Twilight Zone", "Star Trek", "Hawaii-Five-O", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "I Dream of Jeanie", "Bewitched", and much of the cartoons of that time! I LOVE the theme songs to the "Flintstones" and "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"!!! There's a lot of great, great music found in those shows!!!!

    Being critical: at :40 the strings sound a little thin and accordion like. I would try to get more legato right there and a fatter sound. It might take using some other samples.
    I believe that the section that you mention involves a cello-solo with the harp. I can work on the legato and maybe have the solo-cello be a small cello section. If the cello-solo is sound "accordion-like", maybe some EQ might be helpful?!? I'm going to think and maybe experiment more on this one. . .

    Also I think the ending is good but I would follow it with a short uplifting motif. Maybe something like the beginning but faster and in a higher register. It would leave the listener with a sweet after the salad. Ear candy.
    To be honest, I had a hard time figuring out how I'm going to end this piece. I recalled some "compositional tools" of sorts that was taught by some composition instructor 30+ years ago and decided to use what is now heard at the end of this piece. Please know that this piece will eventually be part of a larger work. I actually used your suggestion in the first piece that I wrote (that will also be included in this larger work). Still, I will consider your suggestion. Why not have two pieces end in a similar matter? Decision, decision.

    Thank you, Phil for the listen and for your thoughtful suggestions.

    ____________________

    fabiolcati -

    Thank you for the listen and for the kind encouragement. At this time in my life, I think I'll take your kind encouragement and continue to walk down the compositional path that I'm taking. I do keep in mind the audience who will be listening to my music. I want the musical "communication" between me and them to be understood and, hopefully, appreciated. My "audience" is usually my family and friends. Whenever possible, as in past years, I give them CDs of my music as Christmas Presents.

    ____________________

    Randy (rbowser) -

    And Thank YOU for listening to this piece and for the kind words of encouragement! I see that you're still heavily involved with this wonderful bulletin board. I am glad that the energy provided by you and a number of other members are keeping this forum alive and kicking. I know that for me, it's been very helpful and supportive as well as informative and just plain fun! Thank you for giving those gentle "kicks in the behind". It may sound strange, but I need it now. At least for my own immediate goal, there are two compositions that I wish to write and complete to make up the four-piece set of compositions that I hope to give to family and friends later this year. I missed last year's dead-line, unfortunately. So far I've written, "Winter in Mid-January" and this piece, "Spring in Mid-May". I bet you can guess what I'm going to title the next two compositions! LOL! I want to finished the next two pieces. And, in the long run, I want to make the art of composing music more central in my life. Randy, there are other forums out there in the internet world that cater to the composer/musician. When its active, this is one of the more supportive ones, especially for the composer. Your involvement here, as well as the involvement of others, help make it so. Thank you, Randy!

    Warmest regards to all. . .

    Ted
    Full-time ICU Nurse & Composer Wanna-be! LOL!
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  9. #9

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Hey Ted, I just listened to "Spring In Mid May" and wanted to give you my impressions. First, it made me want Spring to get here soon! It really had that feel of spring, esp. in the begining. Second, It's interesting how different composers use different ways of orchestrating. I tend to use a lot of full colors, something I want to change. Also I rely on strings too much. You have nice contrasts between the different choirs. Musically, it is very good, very sophisticated and fresh sounding. You definitely have a more natural sounding midi orchestra than I have, something I am also working on.

    Question: How do you enter the notes? Do you record it live? My keyboard skills aren't good enough to do that.

    The only criticism I would give is that the tutti passages seemed a bit loud, I had to adjust my volume control.

    Keep composing, you have much to offer!

  10. #10

    Re: "Spring in Mid-May" - and Orchestral Art-song

    Hi Michael -

    Thank you for taking the time and interest in listening to this piece. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

    I'm a keyboardist, so all notes are inputted via my happy M-Audio Keystation Pro 88. (It's great for sequencing but it really isn't the greatest keyboard to use in a live situation. It's velocity levels when "banging" on the keys are not always reliably predictable. M-Audio doesn't even make it anymore, unfortunately.) However, I've spent many, many, many hours either practicing to a metronome, sequencing or playing with pre-sequenced music (in a lounge-band situation) so that I've become a freakish human metronome! LOL! Especially after sequencing for a couple of hours, my notes can line up almost exactly on top of each other on the beat with very little variation! This does not make for a more "natural" sound. So, either vary the inputted notes a bit or allow the software program to do it for me (in terms of percentage in being "on the beat"). And lately, I've spent more time with the program's tempo map (or whatever it's called) and vary the tempo throughout the entire piece ever so slightly.

    In terms of loudness. . . I know that the loudest piece is around -0.3 db. I could probably spend more time working to even the loudness to sound a bit more "natural". During one of the tutti places, I'm using Kirk Hunter's Concert Brass 2. It's got a great sound to it that may not actually fit the overall texture of the piece but, dang, I like it! LOL! I've given up trying to sound authentic. I just don't have the chops to create the sequenced orchestra to come across as sounding authentic. Oh well.

    Thank you for the listen. . . and I will be eyeing this forum as you share your projects. Looking forward to hearing more of your works as you present them.

    Kind regards,

    Ted
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

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