A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

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mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Post Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:04 pm

This is a hymn I am currently working on. The link might change as the piece is developed.

It is in the style of "Nearer my God to thee", "Amazing Grace" etc.

https://soundcloud.com/mediumaevum-artist/a-hymn

This is an exercise in harmony, arpeggio (short bows, not staccato) and orchestration.

I hope to get a little help orchestrating and developing this further, and make it longer and more interesting.

I hope you like it.

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wagtunes
KVRAF
13400 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:22 pm

I'm not going to rate this until it's done so please let us know when the track is completely finished. But so far, very nice. I mean that, really. Very nice. Can't wait to hear this one completed.

mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:47 pm

wagtunes wrote:I'm not going to rate this until it's done so please let us know when the track is completely finished. But so far, very nice. I mean that, really. Very nice. Can't wait to hear this one completed.
Thanks. I am open to suggestions on how to approach my work on this piece. Any ideas are welcomed!

I've updated the piece btw.

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biodiode
KVRist
388 posts since 23 Sep, 2003 from UK

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:14 pm

Nice exercise in harmony. As something in a style of such iconic hymns, it works well but doesn't really take off as some versions of Amazing Grace do. Maybe add some nice ratatat snares or go for the tried and tested key change up.

mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:51 pm

biodiode wrote:Nice exercise in harmony. As something in a style of such iconic hymns, it works well but doesn't really take off as some versions of Amazing Grace do. Maybe add some nice ratatat snares or go for the tried and tested key change up.
Thanks for the tip. I did as you said, try listen to it again, please.

Eauson
KVRian
836 posts since 9 Jan, 2013 from morf

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:14 pm

Hi, hope you are well,

My 2pennies
Ok, the start, @26 sec it fades, then the second section, could do with a slight shortening of the fade which seems a bit sudden, not enough verb, anyway, as this would add more grandeur to the reintroduction. As the 2nd section commences the bass note is added@ 35ish I dont get the continuation, seems misplaced, 2 me anyway, just the strings would be nice :) so bs, bs, bs, strings alone :)

Wrote this aswell, not sure, but as I'm passing your place I would like to leave :)
As I stand b4 thee in a place without fear, I feel a great weight, for the understanding and the beauty, through its natural origins, could and should maintain to hold sway over our ambitions or needs.

Sorry I'm a bit rushed tonight, trying to visit as many locals as possible, but would be curious to hear your updated edition and hope that my ideas, although not used, help to confirm the quality of your efforts. :)
Man is least himself when he talks in the first person. Give him a mask, and he'll show you his true face

mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:45 am

Eauson wrote:Hi, hope you are well,

My 2pennies
Ok, the start, @26 sec it fades, then the second section, could do with a slight shortening of the fade which seems a bit sudden, not enough verb, anyway, as this would add more grandeur to the reintroduction. As the 2nd section commences the bass note is added@ 35ish I dont get the continuation, seems misplaced, 2 me anyway, just the strings would be nice :) so bs, bs, bs, strings alone :)

Wrote this aswell, not sure, but as I'm passing your place I would like to leave :)
As I stand b4 thee in a place without fear, I feel a great weight, for the understanding and the beauty, through its natural origins, could and should maintain to hold sway over our ambitions or needs.

Sorry I'm a bit rushed tonight, trying to visit as many locals as possible, but would be curious to hear your updated edition and hope that my ideas, although not used, help to confirm the quality of your efforts. :)
Thanks, this has been corrected, I hope.

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ChamMusic
KVRian
887 posts since 12 Jun, 2006 from Birmingham, UK

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:14 am

mediumaevum wrote:This is an exercise in harmony
First point, (something that happens in all good pieces and is a very regular device in great hymn tunes by the like of Holst, Gruber, Handel, Irvine etc:

If a melodic motif / pattern is repeated quite quickly after its initial statement, it should almost always be accompanied by new harmonic material. Otherwise everything sounds too static.

In your piece (I'm using my ear here, so apologies if anything is slightly off):

Root key is D major

Opening melodic phrase is dominated by D E F# with underlying D Major root chord.

This phrase repeats very soon afterwards...D E F#...still with tonic D major chord underneath! I was waiting for a B minor chord in my head (B D F#)...you even hint at this with a descending D C# line which then goes back up to D rather than down to B.

Second Point:

The harmonic pace of the piece is very similar throughout. It needs sections where the underlying harmonies move much more rapidly to raise the tension...ends of phrases, melodic peaks etc.
mediumaevum wrote:orchestration
It's basically quite workable, but unadventurous and, (again), too static...needs to ebb and flow much more naturally.

I think I've suggested these before, but it can help(and there are other similar resources available):

http://alanbelkinmusic.com/PDF/BelkinOr ... Theory.pdf

https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream ... sequence=1



There are some lovely melodic touches in there...you have a natural grasp of this, but in other aspects, (for me), it lacks attention to the finer details that can lift a piece to a higher level of emotional content.
Mark Taylor
Chameleon Music

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wagtunes
KVRAF
13400 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:18 am

ChamMusic wrote:
mediumaevum wrote:This is an exercise in harmony
First point, (something that happens in all good pieces and is a very regular device in great hymn tunes by the like of Holst, Gruber, Handel, Irvine etc:

If a melodic motif / pattern is repeated quite quickly after its initial statement, it should almost always be accompanied by new harmonic material. Otherwise everything sounds too static.

In your piece (I'm using my ear here, so apologies if anything is slightly off):

Root key is D major

Opening melodic phrase is dominated by D E F# with underlying D Major root chord.

This phrase repeats very soon afterwards...D E F#...still with tonic D major chord underneath! I was waiting for a B minor chord in my head (B D F#)...you even hint at this with a descending D C# line which then goes back up to D rather than down to B.

Second Point:

The harmonic pace of the piece is very similar throughout. It needs sections where the underlying harmonies move much more rapidly to raise the tension...ends of phrases, melodic peaks etc.
mediumaevum wrote:orchestration
It's basically quite workable, but unadventurous and, (again), too static...needs to ebb and flow much more naturally.

I think I've suggested this before, but it can help(and there are other similar resources available):

http://alanbelkinmusic.com/PDF/BelkinOr ... Theory.pdf


There are some lovely melodic touches in there...you have a natural grasp of this, but in other aspects, (for me), it lacks attention to the finer details that can lift a piece to a higher level of emotional content.
It's a joy reading comments by those who understand composition and orchestration. Thanks.

mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:05 pm

ChamMusic wrote:
mediumaevum wrote:This is an exercise in harmony
First point, (something that happens in all good pieces and is a very regular device in great hymn tunes by the like of Holst, Gruber, Handel, Irvine etc:

If a melodic motif / pattern is repeated quite quickly after its initial statement, it should almost always be accompanied by new harmonic material. Otherwise everything sounds too static.

In your piece (I'm using my ear here, so apologies if anything is slightly off):

Root key is D major

Opening melodic phrase is dominated by D E F# with underlying D Major root chord.

This phrase repeats very soon afterwards...D E F#...still with tonic D major chord underneath! I was waiting for a B minor chord in my head (B D F#)...you even hint at this with a descending D C# line which then goes back up to D rather than down to B.

Second Point:

The harmonic pace of the piece is very similar throughout. It needs sections where the underlying harmonies move much more rapidly to raise the tension...ends of phrases, melodic peaks etc.
mediumaevum wrote:orchestration
It's basically quite workable, but unadventurous and, (again), too static...needs to ebb and flow much more naturally.

I think I've suggested these before, but it can help(and there are other similar resources available):

http://alanbelkinmusic.com/PDF/BelkinOr ... Theory.pdf

https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream ... sequence=1



There are some lovely melodic touches in there...you have a natural grasp of this, but in other aspects, (for me), it lacks attention to the finer details that can lift a piece to a higher level of emotional content.
Thanks for the tips. Although, I just don't understand how one can change the chords of a melody, without transposing the melody.

I'm not familiar with the chord names (A Minor, G major etc.), so I'll just name the notes I use in my harmonies:

For example, if my melody "ask" for a D, F, A, I can't just make it a D, F, A# or D, G, A#. That wouldn't work, I've tried it. It makes the entire thing sound wrong, in my ears.

The chords I choose are based on the melodic context. Depending on the melody, I might have a D, A only. An F or any other third note sound wrong in some contexts.

If I have to change my harmonies, I have to transpose my melody as well, and then the harmonic context haven't really changed anyway.

Another thing, could you please explain how I can have my harmony move faster? Are you refering to some kind of arpeggio with short notes, or even staccato? I already have an arpeggio, the cello is playing an arpeggio.

It can't possibly move any faster, without losing sense of context.

Generally speaking, I try to avoid dissonance. Maybe that's a mistake...

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ChamMusic
KVRian
887 posts since 12 Jun, 2006 from Birmingham, UK

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:52 am

mediumaevum wrote:I just don't understand how one can change the chords of a melody, without transposing the melody
This is quite basic / simplistic as your questions suggest quite strongly that your music theory is not that advanced as of yet...

Let's use your melodic idea of: D E F#

The dominant melody notes here are the D and the F# with the E being a passing note / joining note that doesn't need to be harmonized as such.

Underneath this melody you are using harmonies based around D F# A (D Major)

But, there is no reason why you can't repeat the same melodic idea with different underlying harmonies...

B D F# ( B minor) for example would fit with your melody as it also contains the notes D and F#

There are many, many possibilities:

G B D F# (GM7) and E G B D F# (Em9) spring to mind straight away...play them under your melody and you'll hear what I mean.


]
mediumaevum wrote:For example, if my melody "ask" for a D, F, A, I can't just make the chord a D, F, A# or D, G, A#. That wouldn't work, I've tried it. It makes the entire thing sound wrong, in my ears.
But you could try:

Bb D F A (BbM7)
G Bb F A ( Gm9)

mediumaevum wrote:If I have to change my harmonies, I have to transpose my melody as well, and then the harmonic context haven't really changed anyway.
NO! That simply misunderstands the whole way it all works.
mediumaevum wrote:Another thing, could you please explain how I can have my harmony move faster? Are you refering to some kind of arpeggio with short notes, or even staccato? I already have an arpeggio, the cello is playing an arpeggio.
This is nothing to do with staccato / arpeggios etc whatsoever!

It's all about the speed at which your underlying harmonies move from chord to chord - it should vary to help the rise and fall of tension in the music. Your music often moves at the same pace throughout and therefore lacks emotional peaks...


D...... / Em...... / A7 ...... / D.......

Nothing wrong with the above, but the underlying harmonies NEVER change pace.


D......./ Bm...... / Em.. A7../ D.......

Even this little change adds a bit of extra tension - the chords in bar 3 only last for two beats each rather than four.


D....... / G...... / A7..F#7.. / Bm G Em A7 / D........

Above the harmonic tempo is even more varied - four beat chords...then 2 beat chords....then the peak of one chord on every beat before dropping back to a four beat chord again.

This all helps to create variation in the emotional content of the music.

mediumaevum wrote:Generally speaking, I try to avoid dissonance. Maybe that's a mistake...
Yes, it is! :0)

Dissonance is a misunderstood, multifaceted term that covers many, many different musical contexts.

It does NOT necessarily mean huge clashing chords that jar when compared to more simple triads.

These, (used above) are both mild dissonances:
E G B D F#
and
G B D F#

Doissonance can simply mean a harmony that needs to go somewhere...to be resolved...

This is a DISSONANCE: C E G Bb because, in certain musical situations, it needs to resolve to something such as F A C or D F A.

Writing this sort of orchestral music to a high level is difficult as it requires, (at the very least), a decent working knowledge of various areas of music theory. You can do it the self-taught way, but it's a hard slog as there is a lot to learn! :0)

FINAL POINT to open your mind to other possibilities:

I rarely if ever think about chords and underlying harmonies when composing!!!

I compose horizontally, NOT vertically!

This means that I am simply writing lots of melodic lines...some leading...some supporting.

When all these melodies combine they will suggest certain underlying harmonies but the harmonies are NOT usually in the forefront of my mind when composing.
Mark Taylor
Chameleon Music

mediumaevum
KVRist
139 posts since 14 Feb, 2013

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:11 am

Thanks, Cham, I will try this out!

Mike777
KVRist
436 posts since 8 Oct, 2005

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:09 pm

I like this a lot, and that it's simple in chord flow. If you add more dissonance and complex chords it will be very different so if you do make a more complex version, please keep this simple first one posted as well, because I enjoy it a lot. There is nothing wrong with simple chords, and what you did here with the arpeggio foundation adds plenty of musical interest.

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ChamMusic
KVRian
887 posts since 12 Jun, 2006 from Birmingham, UK

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:49 pm

Mike777 wrote:I like this a lot, and that it's simple in chord flow.
You make a good point, but adding a little more intensity doesn't necessarily mean making it hugely more complex...
Mike777 wrote:please keep this simple first one
Definitively...never get rid of early versions of pieces.
Mike777 wrote:If you add more dissonance and complex chords it will be very different
No, not necessarily at all, as dissonance can be very subtle and simply part of the simple flow...even the most pastoral of pieces involve regular, nuanced use of dissonance.

Complex chords..agreed... it doesn't necessarily need them at all, but it does need more variety of underlying harmony if it is to rise and fall a little more in terms of intensity. Of course 'complex' chords can , again, be very subtle in their usage.

This is full of complex chords and gentle dissonance from the very start:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn5ken3RJBo

Mike777 wrote:There is nothing wrong with simple chords
Absolutely 100%, but they have to be in the right place at the right time....the ebb and flow is crucial and for my ear this is just a little too safe and predictable at the moment. Even the most straightforward of pieces needs little moments of contrast / change / mild surprise.
Mike777 wrote:the arpeggio foundation adds plenty of musical interest
The arpeggios work quite effectively without doubt, (string arpeggios generally do sound appealing)... but they would work, (for me), even better under a slightly adapted harmonic flow.
Mark Taylor
Chameleon Music

Mike777
KVRist
436 posts since 8 Oct, 2005

Re: A Hymn - Short classical orchestral piece

Post Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:21 pm

ChamMusic wrote:...the ebb and flow is crucial and for my ear this is just a little too safe and predictable at the moment. Even the most straightforward of pieces needs little moments of contrast / change / mild surprise..
Sure, what he wrote is very basic harmony, with only maybe a 7th chord for any harmonic tension. There really is no harmonic tension other then that. But I immediately heard the piece like a Quaker hymn, so that was ok for me. A simple, 'Quaker' melody, with a Copland like style. It never develops, true.

I can hear the potential that you describe, with the O Magnum Mysterium 'gentle' tension, which is super nice with those added 2nds, 4ths etc creating a 'calm' dissonance inside basic chords.

Sure, this could have that. I just like this was written in all simple chords and simple melody and still appealing using just arpeggio and orchestration. That's not so easy actually. This hymn is a good example of writing something simple and still appealing. The orchestration could be improved, but we hear the potential in the current version.

Now that this simple one is made, sure, add some complexity and see where it can go.

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