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Fantasy for Flute and Piano
Last post Wed, Jan 16 2019 by Acclarion, 26 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Jan 13 2019 23:14
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 160

I love this...playful, yet dramatic, especially like some of the chording with the piano...

Since I have to run out the door in few minutes, I wanted to comment but briefly.

The composition itself is great. What I would love to hear is a more intimate setting. It sounds like Im listening to this over a PA. Id love to have this sound like Im standing next to the piano and flute player. I guess what I mean is, similar to how the newer Synchron piano releases have a preset for player or intimate, so would I love this piano to have that sort of sound in this piece. The flute sounds like its a mile away, and it really is missing something tonally, its almost ear piercing at points, which is something that at a live, unmic'd performance, should be a rare occasion. Perhaps it needs to be eqd, specifically, bringing the lower mids up and dialing down the highs a smidge and some of the reverb dialed back?

As to critiques, we are all musicians and sound engineers here. We are not posting to the masses who, generally speaking, have no idea what is authentic and what is not. We certainly dont listen on beats earphones and most of us generally hate this culture of mixing for ipods and phones. When a piece is posted here, first, expect critiques. Second, critiques should be made in a constructive way. Be specific. Finally, as Paul instructs in the bible, start with what you like about the piece. Even if you are having trouble finding something you like, find something, anything.

I want to comment further, especially on what I like about this piece, because I feel like Im giving that aspect short shrift, but I have to run out the door. Perhaps tomorrow I will listen to it again and comment on some specific aspects. As a pianist, I found the chord structure fascinating, just a hint of one of the things I liked :)

Posted on Mon, Jan 14 2019 14:06
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 436

Hi "littlewierdo",

Thanks for checking this out and reviving the thread :)  It did stir quite some debate, didn't it?  As for the piece itself, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that you found interest in some of the harmonic choices/progressions.

As for the sound aesthetics, we all have our own ideas of what sounds authentic.  As we do live in a world where expectations from everyday listeners is influenced by the larger than life sounds everywhere else, I do try with small chamber pieces to make them sound "bigger" than perhaps might be 100% authentic in an intimate concert setting.  When my wife and I released our first classical accordion and clarinet CD 15 years ago, my cousin, who never listened to acoustic/concert music a day in his life, put the CD on his system, turned to me and said, "you guys need more bass...nothing's rattling on my shelves."  Becky and me turned to each other and gave that knowing glance of "he'll never get it with his Dolby-rattled, 10 subwoofers in his Honda Civic-loving frame of mind."

In spite of all this, we're still happy with how this piece turned out, even if there are elements of course that could be improved (starting with having access to the full library instead of just the standard for additional flute articulations, as Jos pointed out.)  

As for your suggestion of offering a kind word up front regardless of what one thinks of something, this is my philosophy completely.  You get more bees with honey than with vinegar.  Unfortunately, in the composition world, too many composers are so insecure/competitive/downright dismissive of others, that the desire to break others down and humble them prevails in their communications.  I posted an orchestral work on another forum that made use of the Synchron Strings, and a composer there wrote to me:  "Is this a joke?  It doesn't sound remotely realistic!"  That was the only thing he wrote until others came to my defense, at which point, he still didn't apologize...just doubled down with his holier than thou opinions.  Ah, the internet :)

Cheers,

Dave

www.dearvillainmusic.com - music for live performance by David Carovillano

www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Mon, Jan 14 2019 16:53
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5307

That makes me particularly mad when somebody doesn't even mention the composition.  It is true that mixing is extremely subjective, and yet everyone always acts as if it is completely straightforward and obvious.  This mix seemed to suit the piece perfectly.  I also don't want chamber pieces to sound too dry.  I remember hearing live recordings that are so dead sounding. They don't have to be simply because it is chamber music. 

Posted on Mon, Jan 14 2019 23:12
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 160

Im so glad that you understand what I was saying. Im on the other side of the aisle, worried someone will misunderstand what I say as being too harsh and critical.

I have been going through some of the pieces here in the forums and listening to them, commenting on ones that I feel like I have something to say.

By the way, what I was imagining listening to this, what if I were just leaning on the piano and listening to the pianist and flute player play this, thats what my comments so in-eloquently should have said yesterday haha.

Im relatively new to all of this. My collection of soundfonts is limited (I just finished buying the special edition complete, which has taken nearly a year to purchase), I work a minimum wage job 60 hours a week while going to school for astro physics. I dont make money with this music hobby. I enjoy it, and only now do I feel like I have enough of an orchestral library that I can make competent music. I have the experience with composing, Ive been writing orchestral music all my life, but as I keep saying in other places here in the forums, these days, it is not enough to be a composer, one must now be a sound engineer, in addition to a composer.

All of this to say, I listen to alot. Im trying to learn from others. There is no reason to re-invent the wheel, and regardless of what anyone says, music isnt 100% original. It is all derivative. People accuse John Williams of stealing licks from classical pieces or other composers, and I say, no, its an homage to the greats.

When I critique a piece, it is because I like the piece enough to say it can be improved. I however, understand that my critique is not necessarily the vision of its creator. I like to use real life examples, its why in another thread, I have commented on the use of a solo violin by using a real recording of a violin. To say something doesnt sound realistic isnt enough, youve got to be more specific, and youve got to point the creator to something he can potentially fix, which is something that also bothers me in this realm. So often, a critique is focused around something not sounding realistic, without giving a reason or what can be done to improve it.

Posted on Wed, Jan 16 2019 16:35
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 436

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

That makes me particularly mad when somebody doesn't even mention the composition.  It is true that mixing is extremely subjective, and yet everyone always acts as if it is completely straightforward and obvious.  This mix seemed to suit the piece perfectly.  I also don't want chamber pieces to sound too dry.  I remember hearing live recordings that are so dead sounding. They don't have to be simply because it is chamber music. 

Couldn't agree more with you, Bill, on the idea of overly dry chamber pieces.  There's always that balance between clarity, especially with contrapuntally dense passages, and adding enough reverb to add to the sonic richness.

As for the subjectivity of mixing, we all make decisions on how something should sound based on our own sensibilities, technical skills, and available tools.  If you try to "chase a sound" or predict what others will expect a piece to sound like and mix it according to those goals, you'll go crazy because one person will tell you they expect it to sound like you're sitting next to the pianist; another will tell you they were hoping it could have more of the room's presence; a third will say that the flute sounds like it's in a bathroom while the piano is in the Taj Mahal; a fourth will swear the piano is in the bathroom (how did you fit a grand piano in there?!) while the flute is in the Taj Mahal, etc. etc. etc. 

Let your ears decide and if you're happy with it, generally, some others will be...never everybody though.  The internet would break if we all reached consensus on anything!

Cheers,

Dave

www.dearvillainmusic.com - music for live performance by David Carovillano

www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Wed, Jan 16 2019 16:50
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 436

My responses in bold:

Originally Posted by: littlewierdo Go to Quoted Post

Im so glad that you understand what I was saying. Im on the other side of the aisle, worried someone will misunderstand what I say as being too harsh and critical.

You can always spot a person that is harsh/critical for reasons that aren't designed to be helpful/constructive.  No worries here :)

I have been going through some of the pieces here in the forums and listening to them, commenting on ones that I feel like I have something to say.

By the way, what I was imagining listening to this, what if I were just leaning on the piano and listening to the pianist and flute player play this, thats what my comments so in-eloquently should have said yesterday haha.

For sure, one could mix it the way you described.  For my purposes, it was mixed the way I expected to hear such a piece in a concert hall.

Im relatively new to all of this. My collection of soundfonts is limited (I just finished buying the special edition complete, which has taken nearly a year to purchase), I work a minimum wage job 60 hours a week while going to school for astro physics. I dont make money with this music hobby. I enjoy it, and only now do I feel like I have enough of an orchestral library that I can make competent music. I have the experience with composing, Ive been writing orchestral music all my life, but as I keep saying in other places here in the forums, these days, it is not enough to be a composer, one must now be a sound engineer, in addition to a composer.

You're not the only physicist that dabbles in music on the VSL forum.  You guys bring unique perspectives to those of us that (foolishly?!) pursue music professionally/full-time.

All of this to say, I listen to alot. Im trying to learn from others. There is no reason to re-invent the wheel, and regardless of what anyone says, music isnt 100% original. It is all derivative. People accuse John Williams of stealing licks from classical pieces or other composers, and I say, no, its an homage to the greats.

There's 12 tones to work with (my apologies to microtonalists).  We're all going to make use of those same 12 pitches.  Those that came 200 years ago had more original ideas to explore within the realm of tonality.  Doesn't mean modern composers can't write pleasing music that still brings something new to the table while respecting the work and accomplishments of the greats that came before us.

When I critique a piece, it is because I like the piece enough to say it can be improved. I however, understand that my critique is not necessarily the vision of its creator. I like to use real life examples, its why in another thread, I have commented on the use of a solo violin by using a real recording of a violin. To say something doesnt sound realistic isnt enough, youve got to be more specific, and youve got to point the creator to something he can potentially fix, which is something that also bothers me in this realm. So often, a critique is focused around something not sounding realistic, without giving a reason or what can be done to improve it.

This is important, because as William said above, it's very subjective.  When someone suggests how they would rather a piece of music sound, I always try to imagine it from their perspective and they are usually right in that their interpretation is a valid one.  My thoughts on this are that, unless a composer expressly mentions that they are not satisfied with the results of their performance and would like suggestions on how it could be improved, they are likely sharing music that reflects their sensibilities and is mixed to their satisfaction.  Of course offering a different suggestion shouldn't offend, and could at its best, let the composer re-think their own choices.

www.dearvillainmusic.com - music for live performance by David Carovillano

www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
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