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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:59 pm 
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
InnerVersion wrote:
Also, the introduction is actually based on the intro of a Radiohead song called "Street Spirit (Fade Out)", hence Cloud One (Fade In) on the sheet music...


Yeah? I heard they toured with Robert Fripp who I totally idolize.


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:27 am 
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Location: Bath, UK
Likewise my piece "Us Prisoners" is based around the intro of Radiohead - No Surprises (Us Prisoners is an anagram of No Surprises, hence the slightly unusual name ... )

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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:11 pm 
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Also, since mp3 forum attachments seem to get deleted after a while (3-4 months?), I edited all of the posts to include external links to my Bandcamp page.

Here are the final two pieces from my first album (Egyptian Concerto Parts 1 & 2), they were initially album-exclusive which is why I didn't post them on here to begin with, but they can now be listened to in full:

http://music.innerversion.com/track/egy ... ano-sketch
http://music.innerversion.com/track/egy ... ano-sketch

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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:55 am 
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And the fourth piece from my upcoming album, two more to go before the album is complete :)

http://music.innerversion.com/track/ref ... -pink-rose

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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:37 pm 
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The fifth and penultimate piece from my new album, this one is short and sweet:

http://music.innerversion.com/track/ref ... il-flowers

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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Hello Chris,
I have composed and have taught composing. I listened to your three works and have a few things to say. Let's start with the encouragement :) You have a very well-devloped sense of musicality. You often have interesting harmonies (a splash of whole-tone here and there). I heard a section in Clouds that brought to mind the "EngulfING Cathedral" prelude of Debussy, because the large open-chord statements were descending. For its genre (which is a bit difficult to describe for reasons I'll state below) your music is beautiful and successful. Now for some (I hope constructive) critique. Your style is hardly novel. By and large, the works you gave us are what I would consider "sonic musings." There is no memorable melody that I will remember afterwards. Harmonically, you toy with other keys (as in the development section of a sonata where a "plurality" of keys may be featured) but never modulate to a distinct key "and live there." Consequently, the sense of departure is not clear, and therefore, the sense of return is not strong (when you finish in the same key that you started in). Rhythmically, there is nothing to catch my attention. Now, having said all this, I would have to add that "miniatures" like yours, especially if they are meant for "easy" listening, are supposed to be like that, BUT, your music is often far more interesting than "conversation music." There is the crux. Are you trying to let me talk over your music at a romantic dinner, or are you trying to interupt my conversation with your interesting musical ideas? I think (IMHO) that you need to decide if you wish as a composer to be in the background or if you want to say something worth people listening to. In a sense, to be a composer means to write works that other pianists (in this case) will wish to perform. The genre you are writing in does not lend itself to significant expression that will be uniquely identified by a single personality (yours); it will all pretty much sound very similar, not only to your other works, but unfortunately, to the works of others in the same genre. I suspect this may be disheartening to hear. You certainly have musical talent, but you haven't (IMO) begun to tap what you may be capable of. Keep in mind that this is a site for "Classical" (piano) music and that I am trained in that idiom. If you were my student, I would begin by having you do a lot of analysis (of extended works and Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn (the orchestral version) as a weekly vitamin pill on technical devices) and start you writing some variations on a given theme, for example on the opening of the Chopin Ballade No. 2. From there, you would be assigned to compose a work in ternary form (ABA, have you ever noted how beautiful are the B sections of Brahms piano works?). There you have it; take it for what it's worth. I wish you the best sincerely.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Location: Bath, UK
Thank you Eddy, some useful criticism. I'm still deciding myself what direction to go in future, and like you I can't really put a precise name on the genre, especially for the piano sketches, which weren't designed to be that similar in style to each other.

Also, I noticed you said you listened to my "three works" - have you only listened to the first three of my piano sketches? In total I've done ten pieces so far (5 piano sketches, 5 reflections, with 1 more reflection currently in development).

The general aim for my second Reflections album was to have a more consistent style, which is roughly Debussy-esque impressionism merged with some elements of jazz, and partly inspired by Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" amongst other pieces. Each of the five piano sketches on my first album (I think) are quite different in style, even Egyptian Concerto Part 1 vs Part 2 are separate pieces that can be performed independently of each other.

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Chris Gibbs (Inner Version)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/InnerVersion


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:25 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
InnerVersion wrote:
Thank you Eddy, some useful criticism. I'm still deciding myself what direction to go in future, and like you I can't really put a precise name on the genre, especially for the piano sketches, which weren't designed to be that similar in style to each other.

Also, I noticed you said you listened to my "three works" - have you only listened to the first three of my piano sketches? In total I've done ten pieces so far (5 piano sketches, 5 reflections, with 1 more reflection currently in development).

The general aim for my second Reflections album was to have a more consistent style, which is roughly Debussy-esque impressionism merged with some elements of jazz, and partly inspired by Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" amongst other pieces. Each of the five piano sketches on my first album (I think) are quite different in style, even Egyptian Concerto Part 1 vs Part 2 are separate pieces that can be performed independently of each other.

I began my reply after reading the comments on only the first page, having failied to note additional posts (including yours) following, so my comments were based upon hearing only the first three links you provided.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:57 pm 
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Location: Bath, UK
musical-md wrote:
I began my reply after reading the comments on only the first page, having failied to note additional posts (including yours) following, so my comments were based upon hearing only the first three links you provided.


No problems - I've now updated the initial post with links to all of the pieces I've published so far.

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Chris Gibbs (Inner Version)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/InnerVersion


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:45 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Chris -

I did not see this when you posted it. I find it amazing that you are still receiving posts after all these months! That, in itself, is an accomplishment. :wink: I listened to some of your earlier music, then listened to your later music and changed my mind on some of the things I was going to say. Generally, I think I like what you are doing. I like your rhythm and rubato. You are obviously using piano software (which sounds fantastic, by the way - Is it the Garritan Steinway? I ask because it is what I use.) which means you are recording in MIDI, but you are recording straight out and not getting sucked in to the strict tempo trap that so many do. I like your harmony and willingness to experiment. Your music has a "look what I found" character to it which I find attractive.

Though I found some structural devices holding together your earlier music, along with some clever - if sporadic - use of motivic material, this latest Reflections album seems even more spontaneous. The music seems to be held together by an underlying tonality, and the motion seems to be for you to make chromatic (or non-diatonic) excursions away from the tonality and then make your way back. Sometimes you "stay away" for quite a while, but I agree with Musical-md in that you never seem to arrive anywhere new. This does not bother me so much, though the entire album seems to be in the same or closely related tonality. Another thing that begins to wear on me is how each of your phrases ends in piano reverberation. It tends to stop the motion of what you just did. Some shorter pauses between phrases, or even elision of the beginning of your new phrase to the end of your old phrase would help to move your music along a little bit and allow you to group your music into longer sections.

The characteristics I have mentioned cause me to ask if this music was originally improvised. This is not a criticism, but just an inquiry. I, myself, use improvisation as the origin of my written music (see my post under Composition), as well as improvising for its own sake. I ask because several of the devices you are using are those which might be used by a good improviser. Also, some of the chromatic notes seem to get left hanging without resolution, which happens. If not, you have done a good job of simulating or assimilating an improvised style.

I also would like to pass along a structural technique I picked up from Debussy, since you name him as an influence. At the time I discovered this, my music was quite modal, and I found myself working with pentatonics and hexatonics rather than the regular tonal major/minor system. So I arranged the notes (not keys) in a line in fifths - flats in one direction and sharps in the other - like this.

. . . A# D# G# C# F# B E A D G C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb . . .

Major scales are grouped together - so are pentatonics and hexatonics - and they are arranged in a coherent tonal system. But I liked it because it did not imply a tonal CENTER but just a tonal COLOR. I played around with moving from one grouping to another, adding notes to the left then right, jumping, etc. Then I took a look at some of the modal music of Debussy and graphed it using the above arrangement of notes as a Y-axis against time as the X-axis. What he seemed to do was to plan his modal pieces so that they moved first in one direction then back and to the other direction and back, creating sort of a sine wave. This was a revelation because tonal function doesn't work very well in a modal setting. Most romantic composers (Brahms and Dvorak for example) just use tonal harmony to go with their modal melodies. But Debussy moved the COLOR of his music back and forth, without using functional harmony. I thought I would pass this along, because you seem much more 'color" oriented than "function" oriented, and your music does seem to get stuck sometimes in one area. Of course, all your interesting chromatic excursions would still be great, but this way you could have your background color move to different tonal areas. It also might help you to expand your concept of a "tonal area" as it did for me.

I don't see any problem with what you are going to do with this. Just keep writing and publicizing and something might happen. Hitting the jackpot is not always the most fortunate thing anyway, as people will no longer want you to grow and change. Composition can be a lifelong pursuit so growth and change are a must, for your sanity if nothing else. I did a show with James Taylor once who said that when he heard Carole King sing "You've got a friend", he complemented her on the song. She said to him, "you like it, why don't you take it?" He then said that if he had known then that he would be singing the song every day for the next forty years, he might not have taken her up on it!

Best of luck with your work. It is quite promising. Happy holidays.

Glenn Stallcop


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:22 pm
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Location: Bath, UK
glenn wrote:
You are obviously using piano software (which sounds fantastic, by the way - Is it the Garritan Steinway?

I've been using Pianoteq for the whole range of pieces so far, v3 or later for most of the pieces but v2.5 for my first piece Midnight Rain, which sounds a little brittle but oddly seems to sound better than on the richer sound of Pianoteq v3 and later.

glenn wrote:
Your music has a "look what I found" character to it which I find attractive.

Well you certainly stumbled on something there, you are correct in more ways than one :)

glenn wrote:
The characteristics I have mentioned cause me to ask if this music was originally improvised. This is not a criticism, but just an inquiry. I, myself, use improvisation as the origin of my written music (see my post under Composition), as well as improvising for its own sake. I ask because several of the devices you are using are those which might be used by a good improviser. Also, some of the chromatic notes seem to get left hanging without resolution, which happens. If not, you have done a good job of simulating or assimilating an improvised style.

I have a limited number of free invites to the full details on my compositional technique still available (see http://www.innerversion.com/forum.php for details). Please email me at info@innerversion.com if you would like one of the last free invites - in about a week's time they will cost £99 for a lifetime membership.

Some interesting analysis of Debussy as well, thank you, I've not looked extensively the modal aspect of his music before, although his preludes such as "La fille aux cheveux de lin" and "La cathédrale engloutie" have probably had the most influence on me out of all of his work and those pieces have a lot of pentatonic and modal harmony (so perhaps those sort of structures rubbed off on my work indirectly).

Chris

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/InnerVersion


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:45 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Phoenix, AZ
InnerVersion wrote:
I've been using Pianoteq for the whole range of pieces so far, v3 or later for most of the pieces but v2.5 for my first piece Midnight Rain, which sounds a little brittle but oddly seems to sound better than on the richer sound of Pianoteq v3 and later.


Thanks, I will keep that in mind. Sounds terrific on my speakers, though admittedly not high tech.

InnerVersion wrote:
glenn wrote:
Your music has a "look what I found" character to it which I find attractive.

Well you certainly stumbled on something there, you are correct in more ways than one :)


A teacher of mine once said, "Nobody discovers anything in music. Everything is always there, it is just a question of using it or not." But some composers seem to be particularly attracted to novelty. I have always felt that Moussorgsky, in particular, wrote this way, and really enjoyed breaking rules. (Debussy loved to break rules too, but he was very organized.) Berlioz has this feeling often, but he was just VERY creative. I feel that he gets distracted/inspired in the middle of phrases (drug takes effect), but he usually works everything out.

InnerVersion wrote:
I have a limited number of free invites to the full details on my compositional technique still available (see http://www.innerversion.com/forum.php for details). Please email me at info@innerversion.com if you would like one of the last free invites - in about a week's time they will cost £99 for a lifetime membership.


You are SELLING the details of your compositional technique? People are paying £99 to be in a compositional forum? I am astounded. (P.T. Barnum was right!) Maybe I am missing out on something here. Actually, what you are doing in your pieces is not a mystery, but I was just wondering whether you were an improviser, as I have become. The "concentrational imperative" of improvisation seems to betray one's true "inner vision". I have used a number of compositional techniques over the years. I have devised them as a means to come up with my envisioned music, whatever that may be. However, it really is a case of "whatever turns you on", because in the long run it doesn't mean anything. The music is everything. Best of luck in your endeavors.

Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:33 pm 
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glenn wrote:
You are SELLING the details of your compositional technique? People are paying £99 to be in a compositional forum? I am astounded. (P.T. Barnum was right!) Maybe I am missing out on something here. Actually, what you are doing in your pieces is not a mystery, but I was just wondering whether you were an improviser, as I have become. The "concentrational imperative" of improvisation seems to betray one's true "inner vision". I have used a number of compositional techniques over the years. I have devised them as a means to come up with my envisioned music, whatever that may be.


All I can say is that this is genuinely groundbreaking, and no, it has nothing to do with improvisation really (that's only a very small part of it), the core technique is much more mathematical than that. Please don't comment until you actually read about the technique (email me for a free forum invite).

I'm charging for it because not many people are actually buying my albums, and I'd love to make some sort of income from music so that I can carry on doing it full-time. I could easily justify charging £300-£400 or more for the technique, as it has been used to generate every Inner Version piece so far (and all pieces in future), and can easily be adapted to any other musical style (or instrument).

Also, I'll be stunned if you have genuinely worked out exactly what I'm doing, as no one else has figured it out yet by themselves, even though there are loads of clues of varying subtlety, including some cheeky ones earlier in this forum thread (!).

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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/InnerVersion


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:27 pm 
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Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
InnerVersion wrote:
glenn wrote:
You are SELLING the details of your compositional technique? People are paying £99 to be in a compositional forum? I am astounded. (P.T. Barnum was right!) Maybe I am missing out on something here. Actually, what you are doing in your pieces is not a mystery, but I was just wondering whether you were an improviser, as I have become. The "concentrational imperative" of improvisation seems to betray one's true "inner vision". I have used a number of compositional techniques over the years. I have devised them as a means to come up with my envisioned music, whatever that may be.


All I can say is that this is genuinely groundbreaking, and no, it has nothing to do with improvisation really (that's only a very small part of it), the core technique is much more mathematical than that. ...
Also, I'll be stunned if you have genuinely worked out exactly what I'm doing, as no one else has figured it out yet by themselves, even though there are loads of clues of varying subtlety, including some cheeky ones earlier in this forum thread (!).


Well this is sounding more and more like an algorhythmic process or function-based procedure. Perhaps what we need is code-breaking, rather than musical analysis.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: New Composer - Inner Version
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Posts: 62
Location: Phoenix, AZ
InnerVersion wrote:
All I can say is that this is genuinely groundbreaking, and no, it has nothing to do with improvisation really (that's only a very small part of it), the core technique is much more mathematical than that. Please don't comment until you actually read about the technique (email me for a free forum invite).


The last 50-60 years, "process" music has become quite common. First with total serialism, and then, with minimalism, process music went mainstream. Probably a majority of the composers I meet use some sort of process to generate their music. Some are mathematical, some are not so much. They all use some sort of formula. The best use their process to generate material or a "first draft" and then use their intuition and technique to shape the result into a musical work. I have used processes for most of my career. In a sense, using improvisation as a first draft is also a process, albeit a rather organic one. At some point, all composition is a process of some sort: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, whatever. The real art comes in molding the music. Be mindful of some of the reservations I expressed concerning timing and momentum. If these are "process" errors, they need to be refined.

InnerVersion wrote:
I'm charging for it because not many people are actually buying my albums, and I'd love to make some sort of income from music so that I can carry on doing it full-time. I could easily justify charging £300-£400 or more for the technique, as it has been used to generate every Inner Version piece so far (and all pieces in future), and can easily be adapted to any other musical style (or instrument).


How to make a living is the cross all composers bare. Most make their living by playing, teaching, copying, or even administrating. Very few make a living composing. What you are doing online is really no different than teaching private lessons or classes. You might make more if you actually give advise online, sort of a virtual master class. You have a right to charge what the market will bare. Good luck.

InnerVersion wrote:
Also, I'll be stunned if you have genuinely worked out exactly what I'm doing, as no one else has figured it out yet by themselves, even though there are loads of clues of varying subtlety, including some cheeky ones earlier in this forum thread (!).


Again, what you are doing "musically" is not a mystery. The generation process is not particularly important, except if it LIMITS you musically. What I have found with processes is that they tend to have boundaries within which they normally operate. After a while, those boundaries become tedious to even non-musicians. If you can use your process to generate creative OPPORTUNITY, you will be alright. But be careful, as you seem to be falling into a bit of a rut. It is best not to take your processes too seriously. Keep at it, you have obvious talent and enthusiasm.

Best wishes and happy holidays,

Glenn


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