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When Doubt Arises
Last post Mon, Sep 23 2019 by William, 28 replies.
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Posted on Thu, Sep 12 2019 16:49
by crusoe
Joined on Sat, Dec 26 2009, Posts 139

Hi Dave,

an interesting piece, it went a lot of directions, they were fun to follow, even though I'm not sure I fully grasped the "main" idea. More on this later (hehe). The clarinet was somehow more assertive, and the strings followed it more often than speak their own word. The stringed instruments were also in unison often, which made me thinking about their... secondary role compared to the piano+clarinet. I could be wrong here.

The ending felt just a little bit abrupt, as if its composer (you) all of a sudden decided: "Enough!".

Overall, I enjoyed the ideas and clever interplay, even though I'm not really a huge fan of chamber music in general.

On the technical side, I felt sometimes there's too much resonance in the low-mids (~250-500Hz) that is created by the reverb (I think). 

I went through a discussion in this thread, and would like to add something vaguely related. I went to Paris once, to see the beatiful paintings of the D'Orsay museum, and then to see more of that in Louvre. Even though in visual arts I was as educated as an average caveman. It was overwhelming in terms of new information, but I didn't think there was a painting thing in particular that I *liked*. And then, a couple of days later, I went to Versaille, to see the palace, of course. The palace also boasted a few paintings, but to my amazement, they were horrible. Maybe they are not, maybe it was just me pumped up with the beauty of all those great masters, and just incomparable. It was amazing not only because the French kings couldn't find a single decent painter. It was also amazing because I knew by heart that what I saw a couple of days ago was more beatiful than what I saw in Versaille. I learned to appreciate paintings!

Well, not even vaguely related, so it seems :) 



P.S. Disappeared, indeed, but not entirely :) just went on vacation. I for some reason don't get notifications from your YouTube channel, even though I'm subscribed to it.

Posted on Thu, Sep 12 2019 17:08
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 755

It sounds great, and it is a very meditative piece. Like following a series of memories.


Posted on Thu, Sep 12 2019 18:48
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513

Crusoe and Paolo T:  thank you both for listening and commenting.  Paolo, I'm happy the piece resonated with you!

Crusoe, as always, your discriminating ear picks out some fine detail.  I'll confess to not being as confident as you with regard to the resonance in the low-mids.  Reverb is always a delicate balance between not enough and too much.  What I like on Monday might change drastically on Tuesday.

In terms of interpreting the piece, my thought process in conveying the range of emotions when composing, was to have an anchor point, such as the initial two chords, serve as the question of, "am I good enough to do this?" (almost like a musical sigh).  The loose structure, with constant interweaving ideas, echos (as you pointed out in the strings echoing the clarinet and piano often) etc. all serve to imply the racing of thoughts through the mind, with the ever-looming question returning no matter how I try to escape answering it.  

The second movement's aggressive nature, with the strong conviction opening is that point when I, as a composer, feel I'm secure in my ability, and will plough forward with new determination and resolve.  The unbridled enthusiasm and energy catipults me forward, but of course, doubt returns (marked by the slow/mysterious section where the harmony unravels).  The abrupt ending was with intent (not because I had to rush in the house and tend to my crying baby, I promise!)  The phrase preceeding the ending, in which the violin plays the last (almost hicupped) note before the final assertive conclusion, was to imply that doubt never fully leaves, but the final word was my way of saying, I'll drown it out and move forward with confidence.

OK, so I usually prefer to say what I'm thinking through music, not words.  However, I recognize that instrumental music can obfuscate the meaning/intent, absent lyrics which pretty much give anyone listening the intended meaning of the writer.  

Thanks again to both of you for listening.  And yes, crusoe, I counted you among those wonderful forum contributors that vanished in the night :)  (I'll also look in to the youtube notification thing)

All the best,


www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Thu, Sep 12 2019 21:43
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1577
Originally Posted by: Seventh Sam Go to Quoted Post
First of all, this piece of music is really, really good. I mean, *really* good. 9:30-9:50 especially caught my attention; something about it gave me goosebumps. It's not just the wry portamentos; those are all over the place in this piece. There's something very simple and elegant about most of this. It flows like a calming stream in an idyllic forest.
Second, I'd like to offer you what might be a unique (and hopefully uplifting perspective) in regards to the following point you made:
Originally Posted by: Acclarion Go to Quoted Post
It has always been the domain of the "cultural elite" and this infuriates me, as there is no reason classical music can't appeal to anyone, as long as it's part of the formative development of children.

I'm a young buck (early millenial) who grew up on an infrequent diet of thumpy electronica, thrashing metal, and whatever poppy, punk-esque nonsense was playing at the skatepark I used to frequent (I used to skateboard a lot). I was never exposed in an inclusive or educational way to classical, jazz, or more intellectually demanding/rewarding forms of music during my formative years. All I knew is that it was what the band kids did, and I'd rather be jumping down stairs on a piece of wood with wheels.
So, many years later, when I first started diddling with piano and happened to listen to Bach, I was surprised to find that I loved it! Same with Beethoven, Bartok, Chopin, Debussy, Gershwin, Ellington, etc. Music that is supposed to be "artsy", "pretentious", "inaccessible" - I found that I couldn't (and still can't) get enough of! You would think that a silly millenial with no music education or musical family (my mother and father are tone-deaf...frustratingly) would be completely averse to all this, but here I am!
I've puzzled over why this is, and I believe the reason is that I was never *told* what music was supposed to be and what I was supposed to like. Or maybe I was and I just stubbornly ignored it. I didn't have the practical benefit of music education (something I'm diligently trying to rectify), but I also didn't receive all the "shoulds" and "expectations" that I have since learned come with the multitude of music scenes and industries. In other words, IdiscoveredMusic with a capital M in an innocent vacuum of child-like curiousity - evenin adulthood when such things are not supposed to be possible - and I would have it no other way because listening to music fills me with a genuine, untouchable happiness that is hard to express.
My point is: yes, early exposure and education are crucial to allowing this kind of music to flourish in the minds of future generations and live on, but equally important, I think, is the *freedom* for said future generations to explore and discover the music on their own terms, sans expectations, pressures, and social implications of genre, style, etc.
Or maybe I'm just an anomaly that has something in his DNA that says, "This dude will likeFugues no matter what!" However, I know for a fact that, when I listened to your piece, I didn't hear "art music" or "pretentious" or "classical" or anything like that - I just heard music, and it was good, and I liked it, and I'm going to listen to it again now because I liked it :) And, for me, that's all that really matters.
Hopefully, one day, the general public will adopt the same outlook!
- Sam

They say that on a dark night you could see a single candle flame burning at nearly 20 miles away.

This post from Seventh Sam is a burning candle in the darkness that is, in my opinion, the current state of affairs in the music artform. As a denizen who has been homesteading this darkness, sulking for years, it's refreshing to see this flame of hope from a representative of the Millennial community.

My only suggestion would be to keep an open mind to everything you hear even that "thumpy" EDM you've dismissed as "nonsense." As someone who started in the Pop realm I'm surprised sometimes by the rare gems (very rare) of originality I hear from time to time even in the so called low brow music forms.

Regarding Dave's piece, there's not much more I could add that hasn't already been said. I've been on vacation and came across this post late in the game but of course music is not a perishable that sours over time. Well, except maybe Disco but that's for another forum (Speaking of low brow).

"When Doubt Arises" plays like a book that unfolds in musical chapters. At first it seems crowded with each instrument vying for the listeners attention but after a subsequent listen it becomes clear that the instruments are also complimented each other thus creating the doubt that arises from this back and forth.

I've noticed this sort of sonic conflict/complimment in a lot of your music Dave. And it's not just the arrangements that fit this description but also the rhythms and time signatures false endings and melodic meanderings. It's a gift my friend and you are truly blessed so exploit it to the fullest.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Fri, Sep 13 2019 02:23
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1577
As for all the talk about the evolution of the forum, the "boom and bust" phases, what Dave said is true. The forum has evolved in that way. I would say that the year or two before the release of MIR was a Golden Age for the forum because there really wasn't anything technical to discuss aside from some new libraries coming out. MIR was a monumental effort and VSL poured its heart into it. So we were listening to a lot of music being posted we were discussing things like film music, composers, and a lot of Hans Zimmer for some reason. Feelings were hurt and those with thin skins tuned out in great numbers. All while waiting anxiously for the miracle of MIR to arrive.

When MIR finally came, the discussions shifted to more technical topics like how do I get this to work? What version of logic works best? how do I get my 15 machines daisy chained to work with Ensemble and MIR? I can't get MIR and Ensemble to run a full orchestral template on my Commador 64 why is that? Please help!!!

Technical discussions ruled because people were more interested in getting their software to work than they were in Jasen's opinion of Zimmer's latest film score or how great Bernard Herrmann was.

Now that Synchron is a reality, along with other software goodies, we're seeing this again. People just don't care about your latest masterpiece if they can't get their expensive software to work so they could make their masterpiece. They've got bigger problems. As things settle down on the software side of the house then we may see another Golden Age emerge because everybody's got their stuff up and running and the discussions will shift again.

By the way Dave, in addition to posting some beautiful music you tend to provoke some of the most fascinating discussions with your music. Now isn't that why we do what we do? It's not just about writing a catchy tune is it.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Fri, Sep 13 2019 12:28
by crusoe
Joined on Sat, Dec 26 2009, Posts 139

Dave, thank you for taking time and explaining the thought process behind the compositional decisions. Even though I did undrestand them to some degree, a lot of times my understanding was ambiguous. And you helped to clear that up. With zero initial understanding, the explanations would probably be meaningless, as you rightfully said in another message. But half-way through, they are certainly useful for a guy like myself (pretty much uneducated). I myself often have trouble with finishing a piece properly, and your explanation is very helpful since your interpretation is unambiguous.



Posted on Fri, Sep 13 2019 17:10
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 513


Thanks so much for all those thought-provoking comments.  You always inject information splashed with your wacky sense of humour in to your posts, which makes for very entertaining reading.  I believe you're spot on with regard to how most people view a forum as a technical troubleshooting reasource, as most that visit here are actively trying to write their own music, not be an audience for other composers (with exceptions, of course).  This begs the question:  if everybody's creating, who's consuming, and where can we find them, so we'll have an audience for our work?

As for my pieces serving as a sort of meeting ground for discussion, I love it!  You're absolutely right in that, when we write and share our music, we're doing so as much for stimulating discussion as we are simply for feedback. Thanks to the brilliant minds that occupy our little subforum, I get a regular dose of food for thought...I'm certainly not stimulating my intellectual curiosity in the grocery store :)



www.DavidCarovillano.com - NEW SITE!
www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Mon, Sep 23 2019 02:17
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5527
On this topic lately mentioned, I would add that the VSL Forum has been for a while almost like a "Schubertiad" - a place and time for composers (known or unknown) to share and perform recent compositions and discuss them. Some sensitive people seem alienated because the climate is not just right. Like if someone was not perfectly polite, the response is "Hmm! I'm going home and not playing with you anymore!" But anyway these posts are a great "heretical" use of the VSL Forum which the people in charge seem to tolerate. Mainly because they are musicians themselves. Re But generally it is a great way to hear new music and performances that you will never hear elsewhere.
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