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Topic: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

  1. #1

    "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    Hello -

    This is actually the FIRST piece that I finished early last year for what will eventually be a collection of compositions titled, "Orchestral Art Songs #1". This piece is titled, "Winter in Mid-January". (The piece that I shared earlier, "Spring in Mid-May" was written after "Winter. . . ", and will also be included in the four-piece set of compositions.)

    I'm using the exact same set of instrumental libraries in this piece as will be used for all pieces for "Orchestral Art Songs' #1". The instrumental libraries used were: GPO, JABB and Kirk Hunter's Concert Strings 2 and Concert Brass 2. The audio/sequencing program used was Apple's Logic Pro 9 using its own EQ and Reverb plug-ins. The piece was composed using the old "Pencil to Blank Manuscript Paper" method, by the way. Someday I might try using my happy and underused Finale 2011 program as the main tool to compose music, but for now I'm using the old method of writing music.

    The sub-title to this piece can be called, "Repeat That Cliche #4"!! When I went to write this piece, not only was the manuscript paper blank but my mind was blank as well. I used an old tried-and-true method of getting the creative vibes going to help fill that blank mind with sounds and ideas. I used the power of CHORD CLICHES! LOL! It will be noticed when (or if) you listen to this piece. Can you guess the chord progression?!?!? LOL! There is a reason why this particular piece could be titled, "Repeat That Cliche #4". LOL! Actually, I'll most probably re-titled all of the pieces to this larger work. They are only titles and don't necessarily reflect any feeling or sentiment involved with the four seasons of the year.

    Again, the composition is what it is. However, any suggestions to bettering the sound quality are always welcomed!

    Please let me know if you have problems opening and listening to this MP3 file. Here is Winter in Mid-January

    Peace. . . and happy composing, folks!

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  2. #2

    Re: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    Hi Ted,

    You've composed a very interesting 'abstract' waltz. It reminds me a little of the like pieces from the beginning of the 20th century (mainly by Russian composers). A very varied large orchestra with a decent overall sound. Whatever the title may be, it is a good job you've done with this one! I really enjoyed the listen.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing,


  3. #3

    Re: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    My, my, My that's an engrossing composition, Ted. I really enjoyed its lush whimsy, its intelligent happiness. And the recording does much more than just serve the music, it sound very nice.

    The part of your post where you use the word Cliche three times - That sounds like unwarranted insecurity, a self deprecation showing too little regard for your own talents. Really. Apparently you were experiencing a bit of a writer's block when you started this piece, and so started with a chord progression from an existing piece - Well, there's nothing wrong with that. I don't recognize specifically what the progression is from, because what you've done with it sounds fresh and original to me.

    You wanted to minimize and criticize your own work before anyone else here had the chance to - I say to heck with putting yourself down. You're right that the composition "is what it is"--and it is something very entertaining to hear. SO--Thank you for posting it--now, stop writing critical reviews of yourself!


  4. #4

    Re: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    Randy -

    You are a very kind and encouraging soul. First, I do thank you very much for taking the time to listen to my music. I trust what you write when you say that you like the music. That is like "icing on the cake". (How's that for a cliche?!? LOL!)

    I guess the typed word on the internet can be a difficult medium to communicate thought and intent sometimes. I don't necessarily feel negative about what I write. When I actually MAKE the time to sit down and compose, I really do enjoy the process. (Although, sometimes it's like "walking through mud", though. Another cliche. ). And, I like what I write. To be honest, I am humbled every time I come hear and listen to the great music found in this forum. I don't think that I have what it takes to be a professional composer. But I certainly don't think my music is horrible either. Rather, I view my skills as a composer as in a place where there is always room for experimentation, growth and improvement.

    About the use of cliches. . . . Some background. One of the courses I took in music college (a billion years ago) was titled something like "Writing Pop Songs". During that course, the instructor talked about commonly used chord progressions found in a lot of popular music. He actually listed them. He also used the term "Cliche Chord Progressions" to describe them. I do not believe that he meant to use the term "cliche" in a negative manner to categorize these commonly used chord progressions. At the very least, I didn't take the term "cliche" negatively. He used the term quite often as we analyzed dozens of pop songs and recognized those common chord progressions. In fact, part of the expectation of this class was to use these common chord progressions when we wrote our pop-tunes but make the overall arrangement as "original" as possible. I honestly don't mean to sound self-deprecating when I say that this particular composition that I share, "Winter in Mid-January" could be sub-titled "Repeat the Cliche #4". Like three other compositions that I wrote since 2004, (around the time I purchased my first Garritan product), I wrote three other pieces that utilized some commonly used chord progression like "iii - vi - ii - V - i" which "Winter" uses. The craft in using such a easily recognized progression is to personalize it in one's composition. I hold no shame in starting out this piece with "iii - vi - ii - V - i". It's what I used to get the "Creative Vibe" going. It helped me develop this composition to what is heard today.

    Right now, I'll use whatever compositional device that I learned (a billion years ago) to help get that "Creative Vibe" going. Randy, right now my mind is full of family illness, work, financial concerns, aging concerns and thoughts about current world events. What my mind isn't on is composing music. It's why I only wrote two major orchestral pieces last year. My goal is to write at least two more orchestral pieces this year and, hopefully, more. So, "I - IV - V - I", here I come!

    Peace to you, Randy, and thank you.

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  5. #5

    Re: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    This is a lovely work!

    Maybe it's just me ears, but are the strings centered? I'd probably move the violins to the left. And did I hear snare drum in the center and other percussion on the right? I'd probably move all the percussion to the left of center, and maybe even farther to the left. That said, I did like the rendering.

    Arthur J. Michaels

    Finale 2000 through 2014.5 (currently using 2014.5)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.2
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  6. #6
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    Hey Ted!

    This is another quite interesting and enjoyable piece.

    It does go here and there but manages to always return to the path.

    I think you did a great job with the arranging and I liked your selection of instruments.

    I hope you can complete your project.


  7. #7

    Re: "Winter in Mid-January" - An Orchestral Art-Song.

    Hi Max -

    I see that I missed you when you shared your post a few days ago. My apologies. A big "Thank You" for the listen and for the thoughtful comments. The one big Russian-type piece that I know well is "Pictures at an Exhibition". If there is any direct influence to be found, it would be from this wonderful collection of orchestral songs.

    Hi Art -

    Thank you for the listen and I'm glad that you enjoyed the piece. I will work on spacing the instruments as you suggested. It's kind of a "hit & miss" thing for me, sometimes. Some of the instrumental groups that I use are already pre-panned. Although they can be adjusted, it isn't alway a permanent adjustment which is either an issue with my DAW or the orchestral library that I use (or both). I might need to re-think how I mix different instrumental libraries together and re-think my panning strategies. I want consistency which I don't always get.

    Hi Phil -

    And, thank you, too, for the listen. I tried to make this piece a "song within a song". At least, that was the strategy that I took when I sat down to begin writing the piece. I might need to work on developing music such as this one by maintaining some kind of thematic thought to help "glue" the piece to make it sound "whole", even if the intent it to have a "song within a song". (Hope that makes sense! LOL!) I don't know. I'm still experimenting! LOL!

    Warmest regards to you all. . . and Happy Composing!

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

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