What do you think about this composition?

Edited: July 9, 2019, 8:37 AM · I wrote this earlier this year to be a show piece in a local high school competition. Lots of people liked it but I am sure that it can be much better due to my inexperience in playing and composing. Please be honest in your feedback, if you think it is terrible then say it is terrible and give a reason why. Thanks! Also I am wondering what your thoughts are on my bow hold? I am in the process of fixing it but don't have a teacher right now.

(sheet music with computer audio)

(Video of me playing it at the competition)

Replies (10)

Edited: July 8, 2019, 2:32 PM · Very Wieniawski-esque, but it feels like you can't stay in one place long enough to bring out the music (it was in "disequilibrium"?).
I think it has more to do with your performance than the music. To me, it felt like you were just trying to get to the end.

Relish every note. Make it more dramatic.
Some people say it's over the top, but I think it's fun to add some visual flare to go with the music, especially when it's so energetic (the eyes are so important!). If you look like you're having fun, the audience will have fun—even if there are some mistakes. Obviously not appropriate during an hour long concerto or something, because then it becomes tiresome, but you get the idea.

As for your right hand, your wrist looks a little stiff. But you have a suit on and the camera is far away, so there's no way to really tell.

July 8, 2019, 2:49 PM · I feel like your playing could open up a bit more; your entire body looked very scrunched in and tense.

The piece sounded like it was trying to be in the idiom of multiple eras of not only western classical (neo-baroque, neo-romantic) but also what you'd find in a lot of modern pop violin. I find that if you could blatantly shift between those various styles (a la Alfred Schnittke), it would be a much more convincing composition on the whole. Otherwise, nice job!

July 8, 2019, 7:48 PM · I went to noteflight, but your link produced a blank page. Have you taken it down?
July 8, 2019, 9:41 PM · Thanks for all the feedback so far! I will definitely use your advice!
I apologize that link didn't work. Tell me if this one works.


Edited: July 9, 2019, 1:46 AM · Your link works, but some of it is hidden. You need to triple click it to select all of it.


I can't offer much in the way of feedback, but to my amateur ears it sounded impressive.

July 9, 2019, 4:19 AM · Mr. Fowler, I liked your piece and playing and thought it sounds a lot like Bach and then unexpectedly I hear some Paganini which makes it fresh and unique. Keep writing and performing.
July 9, 2019, 8:36 AM · Thanks guys! I see my mistake now. I will go and edit the link in the first thread.
July 9, 2019, 11:22 AM · Samuel,

Thank you for posting, I enjoyed listening and reading through the score.

This prompted me many ideas, please do not think of me as arrogant:
For the repeated lines like the C-E chord and octaves, I'd introduce more variation (Chromatic, chords or rhythmic). Also I'd develop those lines more, I like when you take more time with the motif/phrase - those ricochet runs are bit abrupt for me, they cut off the narrator. Longer question and answer would suit the baroque inflections introduced at the beginning.

I like the "blunderous" section, could have a more leading bass line voice on the repeat. I think more beefy G string tone would serve this piece well, maybe a rubato Sul G run before bar 76? To really lament.

Also at the end, a cheeky Tierce de Picardie would be the icing on the cake imo, keeping in mind the baroque :)

July 9, 2019, 12:22 PM · Awesome! I will definitely have to investigate your ideas! Thanks so much!
July 17, 2019, 7:28 PM · Samuel, this was a very fine composition.

For your age and experience, you should be congratulated. And, I do congratulate you.

Some things for you to consider for future work, if I might be so immodest:

return to a study of motifs, and how these fundamental germs of melody can lead you into surprising and challenging development of your themes. I think you will seek more "surprise" in your developing melodic material in the near future.

second, the transitions from section to section can be more sophisticated, with momentum preserved to drive the next section with more immediate purpose. You "stopped" for some new sections, and this is fine, once or twice, but I longed for your caprice to move more seamlessly, into the next section.

third, harmonic colour, tonal surprise, transition by swirling tonalities, if any of this makes sense to you, seems to be a stepping stone you could try. Smooth harmonic transitions are super starting points to move to new tonal centres, and back again, but we have been taught to enjoy clever movement to distant keys.

Think about rhythm, and what you like best about the rhythms of the pieces you most like. Strive to build rhythmic development that you thoroughly enjoy, for we shall enjoy that too (and, if we don't, that is our loss).

In fact, this reminds me of one of my best positions for encouraging composers: find three pieces that are so good you wish you had written these above all others. Analyse these, and so clarify what makes the music you love so effective, and so teach yourself to compose.

I have had many high school senior composition students, and you would be among the best I have known.

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