Mentoring Program

Chaotic Thoughts Behind Lovely Eyes

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A piece written to be played at Farmers' Night.
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Sibelius
Instrumentation: Oboes, Horns in F, Violins (I and II), Violas, Cellos, Basses
Key: G Minor
Meter Signature: 3/4
Tempo: Quarter note = 72
Status: Work in Progress
File 1: application/octet-streamDownload


#17 Jacob Dennison 2016-12-09 19:51
Thank you, Erik. It was great working with you on this project. I'm very happy with the way this piece turned out, and I'm excited as always to hear the performance!
#16 Erik Nielsen 2016-12-09 18:54
Dear Jacob,
Thanks for taking care of this. I decided that flats would be easier to read than sharps for horns in 29-30 and took care of a couple of other little things. So the parts and a fresh score (I'm uploading that to Google Drive as a .pdf for you) are now emailed off to Eleanor Long of the VSO. She'll be in touch about the rehearsal time, etc.
It was a pleasure working with you, as always. This is a lovely piece and I can't wait to hear it (and hear your explanation of the title!).

Best wishes,
#15 Jacob Dennison 2016-12-08 19:05
Hi Erik, I have uploaded the parts in PDF format to Google Drive. As for the cues you told me to add, I didn't think to add them there since all the instruments had a maximum of two to two and a half bars rest before measure 47. Regardless, I added the cues where you suggested.

Please let me know if there's anything else that needs to be done that I may have forgotten about. Otherwise, thank you for this opportunity, thank you for mentoring me through this project, and thank you for helping me make this piece the best that it could be!
#14 Erik Nielsen 2016-12-08 12:29
Dear Jacob,
Okay, I've checked through, dealt with those pesky caesura marks one last time (they kept moving when I made a .pdf) and got rid of some more half rests (bar 5 in flute and bar 46 in horns). I also moved the mp of subito mp around a bit in bar 15 to get it out of the way of the crescendo. I have uploaded the corrected score as Sib. 6 and a .pdf to Google Drive. Please use these when creating parts. Can you post all parts as .pdf files to Drive no later than tomorrow morning please? And make sure to add cues whenever the part has more than four bars' rest. (I noticed the flute, oboes and viola are missing a cue for the entrance at 46In the meantime I'll send the score on to Eleanor.
Almost done now, Jacob. Good work.

Best wishes,
#13 Jacob Dennison 2016-12-07 20:30
Hi Erik, I revised everything as you suggested. For the caesura, there appeared to be a bug in the program, because they weren't being added correctly when I tried to add more. However, I deleted the ones that were there and added them all in again, and that seemed to fix everything, so that's all set! I did end up adding instrument cues as well. As for the flute note in measure 6 that clashed with the note in the violin 2 part, I don't think the flute line sounds right with that note lowered, but I also don't really like the way it clashes, so as a compromise I changed the quarter note to two eighth notes - a G, then an F. This way, it keeps the sound I envisioned but resolves to a more harmonious note.

So, I think I've fixed everything in the piece. I looked over the score again, and I did notice a couple more half rests that needed to be changed and so I changed those, but other than that I think everything looks good. If you happen to see anything else in need of fixing when you look at it again, please let me know. Thank you!

(Also, the name of the file in Google Drive is the title of the piece this time. I figured it'd be easier to keep track of that way.)
#12 Erik Nielsen 2016-12-07 11:21
Dear Jacob,
Thanks for re-posting. We're really late on this, so I'm going to be brief. First, don't worry about the staccatos. You can make it clear in rehearsal how long to make them. Otherwise, there are only two things that you need to take care of that I can find.
First, do you want the clash G in flute vs. F in second violin on beat 2 of bar 6? It's more obvious with the flute an octave higher. (By the way, it sounds MUCH better where you've raised the flute, as do the harmonized bits in oboe and horn.) If you do, no need to do anything. If not, I'd suggest changing the flute to an F.
Second, the caesura (railroad tracks) in bar 27 is confusing. Does it come at the end of the bar? If so, it needs to be moved over. And no matter where it is, it needs to be in all parts. It's not like a tempo or expression mark that attaches to every part, but rather a symbol sign that needs to be put on all parts manually. Not only that, but the fermata in bar 27 needs to go over all parts, including those that are resting. Otherwise, how will the players know?
I have fixed a few half rests, so use the score I'm putting on Google Drive. The other things you need to fix. Can you please do this today? Then I can at least send off the score (even if there are no cues yet) tomorrow. You can add the cues (every time there is more than 4 bars' rest) and we can send off the parts later on Thursday or Friday.

Please let me know if you have questions. I think I've gotten everything, but make sure you give it all a really good look before re-posting. Thanks.

Best wishes,
#11 Jacob Dennison 2016-12-06 21:37
Hi Erik, I have revised the piece according to your suggestions. I have finished adding the needed articulations and rehearsal numbers, and through that process I have discovered something I don't like about Sibelius's playback: it doesn't seem to properly play staccato notes at the end of a slur, which is unfortunate because my piece has a lot of them. However, I know that this is just an error in the program, so I'm not discouraged by it.

Also, I have added more harmony in the oboe and horn parts where I felt it was needed, although there are still points where they play in unison. The flute part, in addition, has been raised an octave in sections where it could be drowned out, like you said. I agree with you that it stands out much better this way. And, finally, I have changed the half rests to quarter rests.

Well, I think this piece is very close to a finished product. I know that I have to add instrument cues, but I just want to make sure everything else is okay first, so please let me know if anything else needs to be changed. Thank you!
#10 Erik Nielsen 2016-12-02 08:57
Dear Jacob,
Thanks for posting. I was beginning to be concerned since I hadn't heard from you since my comment on Saturday. However, you've obviously been hard at work. This will be a fine piece, especially with the new longer slow section, once it's tweaked only slightly.
You know what needs doing in terms of articulations that you want, so I won't bother with that. The biggest thing is doing a few adjustments to the flute (mainly) and a bit to the horns. A bit of unison is fine, but don't overdo it (same with oboes). I know it's hard to shoehorn these other parts in, but you've generally done a good job. I'm just a little concerned about the flute being heard when it's below the oboe. In spots like 36-41 it ought to be fine, but the rest of the line is likely to get lost. Flute can play up quite high and not sound shrill, so I'd be a bit bolder about it. It can always be dropped an octave in rehearsal if necessary. I know you're concerned about balance and not having it stand out too much, but we also don't want it getting lost. And watch out, no half rests in 3/4; use two quarters.
To answer your questions, I'll record the piece in concert. And I think as long as you have something to mark off sections, whether they be bar numbers or letters, it will be fine. However, I would put a mark at bar 49 for the final section.
Oh, one bit of confusion for me. Does the new tempo start at bar 10 or 11? It's a little unclear as it seems to straddle the rehearsal mark. What I'd suggest is a poco accel. in bar 10 and the new tempo in 11 as the horn notes that mark the beginning of the new section are just pickups.
Okay, Jacob, that's it. You'll need to work fast as the tentative deadline was yesterday, but I'm pretty sure you can finish this weekend. Please let me know if you have questions.

Best wishes,
#9 Jacob Dennison 2016-12-01 22:23
Hello Erik, I am happy to say that, after some struggling, I have added the 3 extra parts to the piece. There is now a flute part, an oboe II part, and a horn II part. I say it was a struggle because, like you mentioned, it was difficult to add more to the piece when I already had a sound for the piece in mind. A lot of what I tried at first, especially for the flute part, just sounded unnecessary to the piece, but in the end I managed to make something good. The 2nd parts for oboe and horn are mostly harmony parts, some unison, and a few different rhythms here and there. Overall, I think it sounds good, but now that there are so many parts in this score and it's difficult to keep track of them all, there very well may be things that need fixing.

Secondly, I have added more to the slow middle section like you suggested, and I'm glad I did. What I added to the section sounds really nice, and it develops the material in a way that was much needed.

What I plan to add from here is more articulations and rehearsal marks. I have already added some rehearsal marks, but I got sidetracked as I was adding them to the score, so only the first section is marked. I do have a question about the rehearsal marks, though: typically I use letters, since that is the default setting for Sibelius's rehearsal marks, but for this score I decided to use bar numbers instead. I think it would be better this way, but what do you think? Let me know.

Also, one final thing that I wanted to clarify. Will the performance be recorded? My assumption is that it will be, but I just wanted to be sure of it.

In my opinion, this piece is definitely coming along. I await any comments and suggestions you may have, and in the meantime, I will put in those rehearsal marks and articulations. Thank you!
#8 Erik Nielsen 2016-11-26 09:48
Dear Jacob,
Thanks for sending along the latest revision of your piece. I took a couple of days off for Thanksgiving but knew you needed my feedback, so here I am now. You've certainly made a lot of progress, and the new section, coupled with a return to the introduction and main theme, looks to add a good form to the piece.

There are a few things needed (besides the articulations and rehearsal letters you yourself mentioned). First, the middle section needs to be a bit longer. At the moment, even with a transition, it's only 9 bars long. At most, your piece times out at about 2'20", so you've got more time available for you and this is a place that could use expansion. The material is just getting going when you transition back to the beginning, so give it some more time to develop. And that includes doing more with the wind instruments (see the next paragraph).

Second, there is only a single oboe and single horn part and no flute. The flute, second oboe and second horn are parts that, while not strictly speaking required, really ought to be added. I know it's a challenge when you've got a sound for the piece in mind, but horns used in harmony, or canonically, or alternating, can work well, and the same with oboes. Using the flute in the middle section to add to the mysterious atmosphere, in fact as the lead line, while being more accompaniment in the rest of the piece, will add a welcome different sound to the piece and lessen the oboe-centric sound that's there now. I think it's important for you to make room for these parts.

Jacob, I'm going to leave it at that. At the moment, everything else seems in pretty good shape, good enough at least so I won't look more carefully until later. This is going to be a fine piece, so keep up the good work and I'll look for another posting soon.

Best wishes,

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