student composition

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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mtherieau

student composition

Post by mtherieau » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:35 am

I began studying CG about two years ago, working through Noad's solo guitar with the help of a great teacher. But I found my progress on learning those lessons often got interrupted with ideas for my own compositions. I kept bringing my teacher sketches/ideas for new pieces. Eventually he encouraged me to finish enough of these pieces to put together a suite. I'm attaching the first of six pieces in that suite and would very much appreciate any feedback or critiques.

-markt
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bcross3

Re: student composition

Post by bcross3 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:33 am

mtherieau, I really enjoyed your composition. I am a new member to this community as well, I study classical guitar performance at cal state Chico. I'm currently in a composition course and my goal is to eventually write some short guitar works later this year, your piece was inspiring to me in that regard. I am curious to see the rest of the suite you say this piece is part of. It would also be nice to hear some kind of recording of it. My perception of the score was to let notes vibrate for longer than their written duration, doing so gave the piece an interesting sense of openness. I don't know if that was your intention or not, but maybe adding more fingerings would help clarify that e.g- if the B and E notes are meant to be fretted or not, it would make a big difference in the "open" quality I described. What experience do you have with composition, music theory and counterpoint? I felt like your piece had influences from Andrew York's music. If I had to say what my favorite parts where I'd say the first few measures in the beggining that you also repeat at the end, and I also really enjoyed the middle section of triplets. A few suggestions, I heard the dotted eighth note D in the second measure as an opportune place to maybe have a fermatta and treat the last three notes B,C and E as a hurried pick up into the next measure. Also, your intro is so cool, I like how it comes back in the very end, maybe try to squeeze it in another place somewhere in the middle. And lastly I liked playing a chord with less notes as the final chord, I ended up playing a low E, 2nd fret B and a fretted G note on the D string.

mtherieau

Re: student composition

Post by mtherieau » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:31 am

thanks very much for the helpful comments and suggestions! I have all six of the pieces in the suite posted on musecscore.com, if you're interested in looking at the other pieces. I'd be happy to post pdf copies here too, if there is interest. Recording these pieces is one of my goals, but I have to admit my playing skills are not yet up to snuff on that front (fyi: you can "play" them on musescore.com, to at least get an idea of how a mechanical rendering sounds)

As far as playing open or closed, I have to admit that I've done both, especially wrt the first/last measures. I initially wrote that part playing closed positions but eventually settled on open to let the notes ring longer (as you surmised). To answer the questions about my experience -- this suite is my first venture into composition and I did it more by ear/feel than by formal theory. I have a decent grasp of keys and chords, but no real clue about counterpoint theory, etc. I should say though that I showed my progress to my guitar teacher weekly and assimilated his feedback, which mostly consisted of statements like: "you've got a good start, now you need to develop this more" and sometimes pointed out portions that were likely dead ends. I feel very fortunate to have received his consistent encouragement to keep exploring. It's interesting to me that you mention Andrew York; I hadn't heard anything by him prior to this exercise, but my teacher suggested listening to and learning some pieces by him, suspecting I would enjoy his work, which I was very pleased to discover.

Thanks for the detailed suggestions in your suggested interpretations. As far as a fermata on the final d in measure 2, that sounds intriguing to me, although I have to say that when I play this, I go for a strong rhythm and so those following notes sort of "march" directly into the next measure. And I am thinking about your suggestion to repeat the opening motif at some point during the middle--thanks again for the nice suggestions!

bcross3

Re: student composition

Post by bcross3 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:59 am

I think it would be a great idea to post the rest of your scores on here! You'd have a greater chance for more feedback. I just checked out the winter movement to your suite on musescore, I am very impressed. The main reason I joined this web community was to be exposed to new composers and their works. If I had the means of recording I would record myself playing some of the movements for you to listen too. It is one thing for you to understand how your piece is to be played and expressed but it is a whole nether ballgame trying to convey how other performers will interprate your works. I heard Roland Dyens say at one of his performances how interesting of an experience it is hearing somebody interpret his own works because it gives him a better sense of ways his pieces can be expressed. I'm sure you've heard your teacher play them back to you but having more interpretations will yield more results, the more the merrier so to say. Are there any specific points in your works that you are especially fond of? Or what about parts you were maybe hesitant on and weren't satisfied with the results. I hope to give more feedback as I further explore the rest of the movements.

mtherieau

Re: student composition

Post by mtherieau » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:01 am

I would be tickled to hear any/all interpretations should they come about! And I would love to hear feedback on how I could make the score more readable. My teacher commented that my scores are pretty sparse/terse on playing instructions (then he showed my some leo brouer scores to demonstrate how comprehensive playing instructions can be!) I think that's largely because I don't quite have a grasp on how to communicate those types of instructions. As you suggested, I'm sure I would benefit a great deal from hearing other interpretations. So far, I have just my own fumblings (I can put a handful of measures together at a time, but still have difficulties playing through) and a few passages that my instructor played back as I was working through issues.

To answer your question about how I feel about the specific passages, I have to say that for "falling", I really like the all of the parts but worry that measures 18-20 or so might feel a little like a stall, when my intent was to build slowly from there up to measures 29-33 and beyond. To my ear, the groove in 29-33 is funky and I truly enjoyed continuing it for a while before switching to the triplets which have their own sort of groove. Now that I revisit this whole piece my small worry is that there could be too many switches of feeling (but I still like each individual part of it).

Thanks once again for the thoughtful comments!
oh, and I'll post more of pieces from the suite: "wintering" next...

mtherieau

2/6 in suite: Wintering

Post by mtherieau » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:10 am

Here is the 2nd of six pieces in this suite. Working on this piece was a joy for me, but after finishing it, I got some interesting feedback...from my wife: "That's too sad". from my instructor: "that sounds like it should be played on strings". I took it all in good humor...after all, they may both be right!
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Last edited by mtherieau on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bcross3

Re: student composition

Post by bcross3 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:06 am

I just ordered an a little digital recorder to record some mp3's to upload someday. I had plenty of reasons to order one of them, but one of my first projects will be recording a few of these pieces. You should hear back from me in a week or so once I get it in the mail.

mtherieau

Re: student composition

Post by mtherieau » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:03 pm

way cool! look forward to hearing you.

best regards,
markt

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