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A whole new appreciation...
Last post Thu, Jul 26 2018 by littlewierdo, 14 replies.
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Posted on Sat, Jul 07 2018 15:59
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 551

We've all discussed the merits of live performance vs. sample performances, but I wanted to highlight an experience that just occurred to me yesterday.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a clarinet concerto dedicated to my wife, Becky, who some of you know is a clarinetist and also polishes up my midi performances (I write the music, do keyswitches and cc data/velocities, etc. and then she comes along and tweaks things before doing the final mix and master).  Well, in writing this clarinet concerto, I spent 4 days writing the 3 movements, and then two weeks of non-stop midi entry/editing.  I finished the first movement, including the clarinet cadenza and presented it to Becky.  She loved it, but as is typical, there's a "few things I want to change," she says.  So, last night, she disappears in to our studio after our baby is put to bed, and this morning, tells me to go listen to the cadenza.  She said, "it's as close to how I would play it as possible."  WOW!  I listened, and man, does it sing!  It truly felt like I was sitting in the audience, listening to a live performance by a skilled musician.  It awakened my enthusiasm for what we can achieve with samples, even if it takes a bloody long time to get there.

On another note: next week, I'll be receiving a world debut of a piece I wrote for flute, viola, and harp, that I shared here last year.  Members of the Calgary Philharmonic will play it in concert.  They were sold by the VSL rendition, and I hope to get a recording of it so we can do another fun comparison.  A week later, two other pieces will be performed in Ontario by members of the Michigan Opera Orchestra, also because of VSL renditions!  

Here's the flute, viola, and harp piece, if interested:  Whisper in the Wind by David Carovillano - PLAY

All the best,

Dave

p.s.  Now if I can only make some money :)

Posted on Sat, Jul 07 2018 17:54
by mh-7635
Joined on Wed, Aug 04 2004, Posts 192
Well you kept that quiet Dave. Four days for a concerto......really? Now I feel inadequate...😞. Mine took about 4 months....
Great news about the live performance, let’s hope they schedule appropriate rehearsal time.
Posted on Sat, Jul 07 2018 18:39
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 551

Inadequate?  You?  Hardly!  I'm sure yours is extraordinary, and I was inspired by you to write my own, especially since I've never given Becky one (and never will again based on how much work the midi editing is taking!)

Truth be told, mine is a fairly short 20 minute affair.  I write quickly to prevent boredom and the dreaded, "incomplete work".  In the past, when I've started a piece and come back to it later, it's never been as rewarding an experience as simply writing continulously.  Lucky for me, I don't have a day job, so... (or is that, unlucky for me).

Cheers!
Dave

Posted on Sun, Jul 08 2018 08:02
by mh-7635
Joined on Wed, Aug 04 2004, Posts 192

Too kind and risky given you haven't heard it yet... Honoured to have been some sort of spur for you though.

So, you just lazed around and wrote 5 minutes a day eh? I find I have to gain perspective on a piece in order to progress sometimes, but there is no right way to compose just so long as you keep at it.

Anyhow as there isn't much feedback here yet on the trio, FWIW I would reccommend it to folk here as it really is a good listen. BTW, how long did that take you to write?...no wait, don't answer that................

Posted on Sun, Jul 08 2018 10:35
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 551
Lol, you're too funny, Mike! First, thank you for your kind words re. Whisper in the Wind.

Five years ago, when I started composing, I literally stopped listening to virtually all classical music, so as to avoid talking myself out of writing music; the rationale being, who needs my voice to be heard when so much incredible music already exists by masters far greater than I'll ever be? A friend actually said to stop putting limitations on myself before I even tried to write something. And so it began. The concerto, like every other piece is as random a thought process as you could imagine. I woke up, turned on the computer, said to myself, what will I write today? I remembered you were working on a clarinet concerto and so I said to myself that I probably owe Becky one, and started writing it.

My entire compositional strategy is to "just write, don't strike." As in, no revising, no telling myself that I didn't put enough thought in to sketching out ideas...just write. It works for me, because if I allow voices of doubt or inadequacy to enter my head, I'll quit writing music. I know this about myself, and so, I simply don't. And yes, I was lucky that the concerto flowed freely and came easy. Two days for movement one, and one day each for 2 and 3. Oh, and a month of bloody midi editing. Whisper in the Wind, in looking at my log, took two days...and a week of midi editing. In fact, this is a topic for another thread that I'm sure we all could contribute our ideas to: why does it have to take so long to edit midi?! It drives me nuts, because all I want to do is keep writing, and I feel like the body of work I'll create is going to be significantly hampered by the endless time it takes to turn scores in to reasonably convincing performances. And don't get me started on polishing scores in Finale...maybe it's time to look at Dorico, but I digress.

Dave
p.s. I know when I hear your concerto, I'll be blown away, as I have been by music on your site. Also, had I actually heard yours before starting mine, I would have probably shied away from even trying it.
Posted on Sun, Jul 08 2018 18:35
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

Originally Posted by: Acclarion Go to Quoted Post
Lol, you're too funny, Mike! First, thank you for your kind words re. Whisper in the Wind.


My entire compositional strategy is to "just write, don't strike." As in, no revising, no telling myself that I didn't put enough thought in to sketching out ideas...just write. It works for me, because if I allow voices of doubt or inadequacy to enter my head, I'll quit writing music. I know this about myself, and so, I simply don't. And yes, I was lucky that the concerto flowed freely and came easy.

 

I seem to remember an old interview with the Beatles during their hey day back in the sixties, I think it was a BBC interview, but anyway they asked the band "What's the process like?  Writing songs. I mean what is it you guys do when you sit down and write a song?"

And I think it was Paul who answered, "Well the first thing you do is you sit down and then the second thing you do is you write a song.  And that's pretty much it."

You seem to take the Mozart approach to composing which is to just get it out there.  I, on the other hand, take the Beethoven approach which is to practically agonize over every little phrase even down to the note in some cases constantly revising and redoing etc.

You're fortunate to have a subject matter expert, Becky, to assist you in breathing life to the clarinet and I must say it sounds perfect to my ears.  I would have never thought that to be samples.  Even VSL samples.  Since I've only been trained in piano I'm lost when it comes to other instruments.  So I find myself doing more and more research on the instruments I'm writing for.  I watch youtube videos about "how to play the clarinet."  Or I'll watch live performances people post of themselves playing songs with whatever instrument they know to try to get a feel for the sound and various idiosyncrasies of the instrument.  I never used to do this before.

As for your piece Dave. It's very soothing and has this peaceful almost pastoral quality to it.  It makes me feel like lying by a gentle stream with some birds singing along in the background and just letting all of the days worries drift away.  Unfortunately, it's like a hundred and ten degrees outside today so I'll have to enjoy your piece in air conditioned compfort instead. 


"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 Mon, Jul 09 2018 00:53
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5640

Where is the clarinet piece? There doesn't seem to be a link to it.  

Posted on Mon, Jul 09 2018 13:57
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 551

Jasen,

Nice to see you again on the forum as it's been a while!  Glad you enjoyed Whisper in the Wind.  As to composition style, yeah, I'd be so grateful to be anything like Mozart (in terms of musical ability, not in terms of physical features, personality traits, fiscal responsibility, vices, etc.) lol  I liked your recollection of the Paul McCartney response...I think Debussy offered a similar answer when asked how he comes up with his beautiful harmonies.  

As for being lucky to have Becky...can't argue with that!  I'm lucky that since my university days, I found a musical partner to build a career alongside, and then, later, discover a completely new path in which we each bring complimentary skills: me as a composer, her as a producer and interpreter of my music. Neither of us would have ever predicted we'd be doing anything like working with virtual instruments...but it's so exciting to have these tools available to explore and share our creativity.

Bill, sorry for the confusion: the clarinet concerto is not yet complete...I'm starting work on the third movement today.  When it's done, I'll definitely share it on the forum.

All the best,

Dave

Posted on Mon, Jul 09 2018 14:43
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5640

I see.  The Whisper in the Wind is great - a beautiful composition. It has a mood and charm that is very appealing.  Also the performance is near perfect. The dynamics were so well done.   A few times the legato sounded wrong as if overlapped - was that set to global?  But not anything big.  It is really an excellent piece and I love that combination of trio - each timbre contrasts but compliments the other.  

Posted on Wed, Jul 11 2018 03:07
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 551

Thanks for listening and sharing your great advice, Bill!  Yes, the global legato was on which did affect overlapped notes in the viola, some of which were a little too overlapped compared to how I do things now.  

Dave

Posted on Wed, Jul 11 2018 09:48
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

Hello Dave,

I've been here on the forum it's just I haven't had time to listen to the music of my peers.  I usually listen two or three, or sometimes more, times before I feel that I can make a fair assesment of the piece and I just haven't had the time to dedicate to that but I've been contributing to other areas of the forum.


"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 Thu, Jul 12 2018 02:34
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 237

First, as a newer composer, just starting to get into this (and I dont get near to as much time as Id like, being a physics student and working full time), I really like this piece. Its simplistic and has a very playful nature to it. I particularly like the work done with the flute, it is stellar, the trills, the attacks, fantastic.

The only thing, and I hope you dont mind me asking, because Im a bit new to this, the very beginning, the cello, sounds a bit off and Im thinking its because of the reverb / delay you are using. It works for the flute and harp, but the cello sounds synthetic. Im wondering if this might work using no reverb on the cello, or perhaps using a longer tail just for the cello? Again, I might be completely off here.

And yes, want to hear the clarinet piece!

Posted on Thu, Jul 12 2018 12:15
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 551
Hi Littlewierdo,

Thanks for listening and I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. It's also great to hear that you pursue composing while having so many other commitments.

It's likely that what you're hearing with the viola (it's not a cello) is what William mentioned, especially in the opening exposed solo: overlapping legato notes. The instruments are all placed in Mir to sound like a cohesive ensemble, but in order to achieve the fantasy-like quality, perhaps it's a smidge wetter than usual. Also, in that opening, the viola is in its lowest range, and there's a richness/density to the sound that may be "synthetic" (I think it's because the samples are so pristine, and the tuning so precise...no viola jokes, but one might expect less perfect tuning in a live performance).

Anyway, I look at each piece as a postcard or musical snapshot of where we are, in terms of composition/production skills, and try to keep growing and learning with each subsequent work. With the amount of music I'm writing, I would never be able to go back and fix previous pieces, but always take the lessons learned and try to improve future offerings.

Thanks again!
Dave
p.s. This piece will actually be performed tonight in Calgary and they should be recording it, so we'll see how different their interpretation is.
Posted on Thu, Jul 26 2018 02:31
by littlewierdo
Joined on Sun, Apr 24 2016, Posts 237

haha, you're right, its a viola :) *pulls cotton out of ears*

The technology is fascinating, its getting to the point where a real orchestra is not as much needed as a sound engineer that can work with midi.

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