Tinkering with composition

Edited: February 18, 2018, 1:46 AM · Hi,

My wife has been learning cello for a year and I have been intermittently teaching myself to play violin for a while now.

As an exercise/project I wrote 4 duets for us in Musescore. We’re not able to play them well at this stage and some of the pieces will probably evolve (be heavily modified) in time.

The sound files are on the link below and can be heard by clicking the file name. The violin sound(font?) was awful so it has been replaced by the clearer oboe one.

Be warned: I’ve had no formal training in music or composition. They are fairly simple (pieces last from 1 to 2 minutes) but it was an enjoyable experience for me and hopefully for you too :-).


or Click HERE


Replies (7)

February 18, 2018, 4:02 AM · Pretty compositions.

Did you use clarinet/oboe for the violin/cello parts in MuseScore? The default string sound fonts are rather poor IMO. I usually put together violin pieces using the oboe sound font as that is similar to the underlying tone of a violin if one removes the initial attack of the bow on the string.

Do you have the Musescore files available for public download? I want to encourage my grandson to practice his viola more and perhaps playing duets with him might help.

February 18, 2018, 1:43 PM · Thank you Carmen.

Yes. I chose the oboe sound for the treble part for the same reason as you do. The bass part has the default cello sound which is ok.

I'm about to go out and won't be back to this computer for around 2 days. I'll upload the Musescore files to the same dropbox folder then.

Practicing duets with your grandson is a great idea. We've found duets are very motivating. Even scales are :-)

February 19, 2018, 7:38 PM · So far ... excellent.

Now, are you wanting suggestions about advancing in your composition skills, or are we simply asked to enjoy your efforts to this point?

While you mull this over, can I just comment that I liked your range of musical motifs. Clearly you are an attentive musician, who has learned well from the world around you. Thanks for sharing.

February 20, 2018, 2:19 AM · Hi Graeme. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful feedback.

The reason I titled the discussion “Tinkering with composition” is at this stage that is all it may prove to be. The initial motivation was to create some simple duets for my wife and I. Part of it was a personal challenge to see if I could accurately write down what was going through my head.

Will there be more compositions? I have no idea! At this stage my focus should be practicing violin consistently and developing the skills to play well enough for it to be expressive.

I’ll upload the Musescore files and PDFs for anyone who wants to play, modify or make recommendations. My lack of musical education probably means the scores have many notation errors and may unfortunately not be readable/useful for most musicians. Minims in 6/8 time etc. :-/

Edited: February 20, 2018, 2:24 AM · Hi Carmen

The Musescore files are up now & the last piece `Intensive Care` had failed to upload correctly when I posted them a few days ago. All should be playable now. Soundfont used is: GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.442.sf2

February 23, 2018, 10:05 PM · I liked "Intensive Care".

Remarkably good for a self-taught person. Do you have plans to read books on musical composition?. I think you might benefit from a short read to William Russo's "Composition"; even doing the exercises it's a fairly short book.

Edited: February 25, 2018, 3:04 AM · Thanks for the tip. :-)

Will definitely get a copy as soon as possible.

The pieces are in alphabetical/chronological order. Intensive Care was my last piece so I tried to push the ideas a little further than the previous ones (still very short though).

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