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How long does it take you.
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bachus



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:24 am    Post subject: How long does it take you. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I’m working on a fugue thingy. The composition is complete. It’s 2 minutes 55 seconds long. Took me ~220 hours to write. So far I’ve spent ~ 320 hours on the realization and I’m not quite half done. It is to precede a quasi passacaglia the composition of which is mostly complete. But it’s a longer piece and more difficult in composition. It has taken me an average of 90 hours per phrase. Been working on it off and on for years. Oh dear god…
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Keysandslots



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:49 am    Post subject: How long does it take you. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've recently started working on a four-part choral thing, four voices and piano. It was written by the "Mason" half of Mason and Rich pianos, I'm not sure if these were available outside of Canada.

The piece was given by Mason to his great grandniece, who gave it to me to attempt to play. It has never been performed and never been heard. It's not really a difficult piece but the constant key changes and time changes are making it challenging. I'm using various orchestral sounds to sub for the voices, but it's a long process. When I do get a chance to sit down with it, I'm usually doing maybe 16 or 20 bars at a sitting, taking me an hour or so.

I gotta quit volunteering for this sort of stuff.

Randy
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: How long does it take you. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
I’m working on a fugue thingy. The composition is complete. It’s 2 minutes 55 seconds long. Took me ~220 hours to write. So far I’ve spent ~ 320 hours on the realization and I’m not quite half done. It is to precede a quasi passacaglia the composition of which is mostly complete. But it’s a longer piece and more difficult in composition. It has taken me an average of 90 hours per phrase. Been working on it off and on for years. Oh dear god…


90 hours per phrase sounds like a lot of time, unless it is a really long phrase!

I, too, labor over my compositions. The toughest parts are getting started and writing the ending. The middle sections tend to "fly together" for me.

For me, the initial idea is key -- if the idea somehow "resonates within me" then the music tends to write itself. Thus, the first 30 seconds to minute of a work is labored, the next 5 to 10 minutes is easy, and the wrap-up is, once again, difficult.

Now, I REALLY LOVE counterpoint and I am excited for you to finish this and present it to the world. So, I will indulge myself and write a few thoughts that might nudge your project along:

Since you are at the halfway point of the work, you probably already have the musical motives well-developed and you don't need to introduce any new ideas. Basically, your work should be building towards a climax -- often times the highest note of the work that would occur within the next 1 to 1.5 minutes then you can consider some fugal style endings.

One common way to end a fugal work is to write a stretto over a pedal point -- the pedal note (drone) would be the dominate pitch. The pedal point would resolve to the tonic and the work would likely quote the fugue subject and end. The pedal point/stretto-ending might take another 1 1/2 minutes -- so you wouldn't need a lot of episodic material.

If you prefer NOT to do a pedal point -- then consider bringing in the fugue subject in the bass in augmented note values (i.e., double all the note values -- quarter notes would become half-notes, etc.) and then do a stretto over that with normal note values -- or you might invert the fugue subject for the stretti. You might consider inverting the subject on the pedal point and making the stretti un-inverted.

I like to compose with MIDI -- with such things I just grab "globs" of notes and drag and drop 'em (I use a piano roll style editor -- easier than notes and staves). I don't worry if they "fit" harmonically -- I just kind of "rough" it in. Then I go through and alter notes, add or remove passing tones, and make sure no parallel fifths or octaves kill the independence of the voices.

The point of all this is that you can go ahead and "rough in" the elements of the music -- your pedal point, ending cadence, your highest note -- once that is done, you can start filling in the blanks -- kind of like a jigsaw puzzle where you put the border pieces in first then start filling in.

All the best -- keep us posted.

-- Kevin
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seraph
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

a few times I have been involved with projects that took years to be completed with all the ups and downs of something like that.
from an economic point of view they could only be considered a huge waste of time but listening to the results I always feel proud of them.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm work in an extemporaneous improvisionary style. 90% of my music is done in one or two sessions. This describes movements. A movement being something about 2 to 15 minutes long.
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Alexander



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sometimes work that takes a great deal of preparing, calculating and organizing makes me really insecure about the end result, because it tends to become audible only in the latter part of the process..
I am currently doing a large 12 channel polyrhythmic structure.. it has over 140 samples a channel and it takes so much concentration and paperwork that I sometimes don't even enjoy it anymore.
Thank goodness I am at a point where I can actually listen to it!

How do you do that, you work on your composition for years, so do you play the phrases on a piano? Do you have people try out part of the work, or do you have a healthy confidence for the end result?

Anyways, keep it up, in music it is often good to put a lot of time in certain works!

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bachus



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Alexander wrote:
How do you do that, you work on your composition for years, so do you play the phrases on a piano?


I don't normally take many years to do a piece. I completed a full length ballet for orchestra when I was 19 (several generations ago) so I've had time and practice to get reasonably good at hearing written score in voice if I can hack it out on the keyboard a couple of times. I really don’t' play I just hack.

The passacaglia was started on an ancient score program call Personal Composer. I'm finishing it on Sibelius. And that's the only way I work now. I enter the music in Sibelius doing as much of the composition by listening inside my head as possible. I listen to the Sibelius midi with a piano voice but can then read the score and hear it in my head pretty much with the sounds intended.

I dump the Sibelius midi into SONAR and work from there.

I’m attaching a fragment: It’s as rough mix and there are two places of three notes each in the exposition were I am going to substitute legato strings for staccato. All in all it is pretty much what I hear in my head.

The motifs are passed among instruments so that each line is speaking with itself as well as with the other voices. There are complex aesthetic reasons for this having to do with the “aesthetic meaning” of the passacaglia.

Kevin, thanks for your comments. I will address the technical issues you raised later. My struggles are mostly with getting the aesthetics right.


chromatic fugato RMX.mp3
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Completed fugatto

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 Filename:  chromatic fugato RMX.mp3
 Filesize:  6.67 MB
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Last edited by bachus on Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
I’m attaching a fragment:


Sounds great! Can't wait to hear the finished music - assuming we both live long enough... Wink

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
I’m attaching a fragment: It’s as rough mix and there are two places of three notes each in the exposition were I am going to substitute legato strings for staccato. All in all it is pretty much what I hear in my head.

The motifs are passed among instruments so that each line is speaking with itself as well as with the other voices. There are complex aesthetic reasons for this having to do with the “aesthetic meaning” of the passacaglia.


Wow, your music is fantastic Exclamation

Perhaps it is the organist in me... I can envision a climactic section wherein the subject plays in the bass in double-augmentation and really shakes the place while those wonderful motives run around. (Or, perhaps you are planning to state the passacaglia theme -- similar to how Bach handles the fugal part of his passacaglia.)

Your music is very exciting and your instinct is good... I would encourage you to push ahead with this (damn the torpedoes!) and my hunch is that the aesthetics will be ok.

I can't wait till you finish this and I look forward to putting it on my stereo and CRANKING it!

btw -- Have you written any organ compositions?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

it sounds really good Exclamation looking forward to hear the rest of it...assuming we all live long enough... Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kkissinger wrote:
Wow, your music is fantastic Exclamation

btw -- Have you written any organ compositions?


Thanks Embarassed

The fugue is complete, I use stretto twice, decreasing the duration between subject entries each time. This also increases the dissonance. But it does not end with a bang. Rather, after the second stretto it unravels quickly and dies quietly. As you might guess the subject of the fugue is an elaboration of the theme of the passascaglia which is a reconciliation of that death. The aesthetic meanings of my music are abstract but well defined (subjectively for me). But that makes the writing a greater challenge.

Interestingly the very first music I ever wrote was a set of fugues for organ. (I had an old AGO Wurlitzer electrostatic reed organ that I had refurbished myself. I think I was more proud of the organ than the fugues.) But I was a child and they weren't very good and I haven't written for organ since then. The organ is still my favorite instrument. Taylor and Boody especially.

The Passacaglia is in F minor and Bach's C minor was certainly on my mind.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
looking forward to hear the rest of it...assuming we all live long enough... Cool


And thanks. Feel confident I'll last long enough for this one. Wink But I gotta admit the next one ( a large one in the early sketch stages) actually worries me a bit on that count or loss of mental acumen. Hmmm maybe I should start medication Smile


And thank you mosc. I know this kind of "electronica" is not your cup of tea so I am appreciative that you can hear some good in it.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
And thank you mosc. I know this kind of "electronica" is not your cup of tea so I am appreciative that you can hear some good in it.


Hey, the music I write doesn't necessarily resemble the music I like to listen to. I think I once surprised you because I told you I like Haydn's music. I dig a good waltz too. How about dem polkas?

I love Baroque music - even the atonal polyrhthymic kinds. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

James

Interesting thread -- my two cents:

I find, as a result of the algorithmic composition techniques I use, that I have the opposite problem. Once I get the parameters and the input material right, practically speaking there isn't much difference between creating one minute of music with some interest and change, and creating 10 minutes of the same. (One of my typical tests for musical process is to start it, then listen to it while folding laundry or something. If I get bored with it in that time, then I start thinking about how else I can tweak it.)

The challenge is rather creating structure/form, and establishing the right pacing of the various sections. This almost always means becoming fluent in managing multiple compositional layers simultaneously for subtle or dramatic textural changes, and making those changes more quickly than I can on the first run-through -- that is, reducing a large, amorphous body of material into a coherent (and smaller!) form.

James

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
...The challenge is rather creating structure/form, and establishing the right pacing of the various sections. This almost always means becoming fluent in managing multiple compositional layers simultaneously for subtle or dramatic textural changes, ...
James


Are you saying that structure is conceived after you've made the "bricks"?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
dewdrop_world wrote:
...The challenge is rather creating structure/form, and establishing the right pacing of the various sections. This almost always means becoming fluent in managing multiple compositional layers simultaneously for subtle or dramatic textural changes, ...
James

Are you saying that structure is conceived after you've made the "bricks"?

Partially after, and partially coincident with. All my SuperCollider work is geared toward live performance -- even if I never play it in front of a crowd, the final "track" is produced in real time.

When I'm creating the processes, I have textural ideas in mind and a very broad overview in my head of what the form will probably be like. Working at that detail level, looking at the trees, I try to keep a sense of the forest in mind. But, to continue with the metaphor, while plotting out the trees, I'm still mapping out the forest. I don't know its full extent or the nature of the boundaries between distinct regions.

In live performance, to make a transition from one section to another requires coordinating several actions to be simultaneously or in quick succession. It takes a lot of practice and (so far) the coordination never happens right on the first try. So sections drag on for longer than they should while I figure out how to get to the next section. In this work flow, then, establishing the form is mainly a matter of tightening the belt on the algorithms tendency to expand and run wild, to bring concision and discipline to what, by nature, suffers from prolixity (logorrhea... note-orrhea? doh pretend this guy is holding his nose...).

If I were using a more conventional sequencer/multitracker approach, I would treat the process more like a sculptor. But I wanted to have bits and pieces that could be rearranged into new performances at later dates... which requires another way of arriving at large-scale form.

James

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bachus



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
All my SuperCollider work is geared toward live performance -- even if I never play it in front of a crowd, the final "track" is produced in real time.


Hey that's an interesting and informative post, thanks. I am a completely uncoordinated klutz and real time anything remains a mystery shrouded in awe to me. Also is probably partly responsible for my ridiculously slow pace.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i sense that i'm working in a quite different field of music, using completely different methods Smile
when i'm in the studio i try to write one complete piece in one night, if i'm in a good mood i finish two..
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

m_oestling wrote:

when i'm in the studio i try to write one complete piece in one night, if i'm in a good mood i finish two..

you are faster than W.A.Mozart Shocked Exclamation

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i get the feeling i have to slow down though, i actually prefer quality before quantity, how strange that may sound given what i just wrote Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

wow. that's a sweet 59 seconds. i'd love to hear more.

did you grow up with fugues? is it part of your culture, your blood? i find that composing 4 part bach chorale type stuff or counterpoint is very easy to do, but then i sang in a choir before my voice broke, as my voice broke and joined even more choirs after my voice broke. i was taught counterpoint and harmony at a young age as well as quite literally breathing it.

i actually found it harder removing myself from that culture and adapting to write in different styles. consciously writing atonally is nigh on impossible for me as i have a harmonic sweet tooth. however, i find it very pleasing to listen to atonality, or even to perform atonality. one of my favourite pieces to play on the 'cello is Henze's Serenade.

do you find that it's taking a while to write fugues because it's an interest that has come to you later in life?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Stanley Pain wrote:
wow. that's a sweet 59 seconds. i'd love to hear more.


Thank you Embarassed Very Happy I am always embarrassed by such praise from talented people. My musical talents are meager to say the least and I can create music that satisfies me only by listening to what's inside my head and how I feel about it. And it is very, very hard for me to do, really like carving granite with a teaspoon.

Stanley Pain wrote:
did you grow up with fugues? is it part of your culture, your blood? i find that composing 4 part bach chorale type stuff or counterpoint is very easy to do, but then i sang in a choir before my voice broke, as my voice broke and joined even more choirs after my voice broke. i was taught counterpoint and harmony at a young age as well as quite literally breathing it.


I have to laugh at the culture thing. USA Deep South from dirt poor a bit after WWII to lower middle class by the time I was in my teens. In the late 50's I listened to rock and roll. Then one day, by accident, I discovered Beethoven and shortly thereafter Bach and listening to recordings of classical music became my world and I guess, my training. I did study counterpoint and harmony at an early age. I took a few organ lessons after which my instructor suggested that I take up something more suited to my talents, like plumbing. A fair assessment actually.

Stanley Pain wrote:
i actually found it harder removing myself from that culture and adapting to write in different styles. consciously writing atonally is nigh on impossible for me as i have a harmonic sweet tooth. however, i find it very pleasing to listen to atonality, or even to perform atonality. one of my favourite pieces to play on the 'cello is Henze's Serenade.


Except for the talent I have much the same relationship with atonality, I love Schnittke. But nothing like that will come out of me. I feel like my music is out of step and culturally irrelevant. But it’s all I can do with any conviction. Musically speaking it sucks to be me.

Stanley Pain wrote:
do you find that it's taking a while to write fugues because it's an interest that has come to you later in life?


I use counterpoint because I generally find music without it boring. And I really hate it when my own music bores me. Laughing It takes so long because of lack of tallent.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
Then one day, by accident, I discovered Beethoven and shortly thereafter Bach and listening to recordings of classical music became my world and I guess, my training.


To listen to Beethoven's Third Symphony (the "Eroica") where he transitions into a full-blown four voice fugue (in the final movement) has to be one of the most exciting peaks in western music. Beethoven knew his counterpoint inside-out, to be sure! That fugal section of the Eroica is mind-blowing!

Even more mind-blowing is that Beethoven's first two Symphonies were well-crafted, conventional, and didn't really break any new musical ground. And then, with the Third Symphony, Beethoven gave the world a master stroke that redefined the entire symphonic form. All the huge works to follow -- such as the Mahler Symphonies, owe much to Beethoven's third.

Beethoven's music feeds the brain, the body, and the soul. An intellectual feast that one can stomp one's feet to.

The oft-quoted theme from the 5th Symphony is real genius. Listen to the frantic ending to that famous first movement! Such fireworks and passion!

Whenever I am feeling down, I can count on the 9th Symphony to bring my spirits up. I have often sent CD recordings of the 9th to friends -- even those who don't think they like classical music. To give a recording of this symphony to someone is the closest thing I can imagine to giving someone the experience of pure joy.

OK, to get back on topic...

I am working on a new composition for Halloween (a work for solo Theremin and tracks realized on my K2600 synth). I feel that I am progressing at my usual rate -- and it is taking me about 10 hours per minute of music. I tend to do a lot of editing/arranging, etc... while I work and that slows me down.

I'll let you know when the work is finished. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kkissinger wrote:

I am working on a new composition for Halloween (a work for solo Theremin and tracks realized on my K2600 synth).

Classic! Cool

I'm curious about peoples backgrounds before taking up the Theremin. Did you play any string instruments before that?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
kkissinger wrote:

I am working on a new composition for Halloween (a work for solo Theremin and tracks realized on my K2600 synth).

Classic! Cool

I'm curious about peoples backgrounds before taking up the Theremin. Did you play any string instruments before that?


I've played piano and pipe organ but haven't played strings.

I created a little 'chronology' on my web site that will introduce you to my musical background. You might enjoy taking a look at it. You will find some contrapuntal work posted on both the "Synthesizer" and "Theremin" pages that you might enjoy, too. Wink

http://kevinkissinger.com
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