Solo Piano Composition [Solitude]

Hey everybody,

I have a new composition using The Grand 3 that I’d like for you guys to check out. (More info on Soundcloud.)

http://soundcloud.com/btrailblazer/solitude

Constructive criticism on sound quality/composition structure is more than welcome as always. Thanks for listening!

Bane

Hi,

I listened to this a few times and it sounded different every time, that is, at first i thought the timing at certain parts were a bit out but then sounded fine, it could just be cause there is no beat, sounds good though, listening on iphone so cant comment on quality

Nice… piano sounds very good and I like the composition - radically different to a track I have by the same name, which actually started out as a solo piano piece.

It actually felt a bit short to be honest, but I guess there’s no harm in leaving the listener hungry for more! I actually wondered too if the ending could benefit from re-introducing that nice wee section between 0:12 - 0:22 rather than that last heavy chord?

:sunglasses:

Thanks for the replies. :smiley:

This is true, I didn’t perform this piece to the metronome because of some advice I got from some users at PianoWorld. This was done intentionally to prevent any mechanical feeling in favor of a human rhythm. I didn’t think the timing felt too dodgy though? :confused:


Is this track on your site, because I couldn’t find it. I’d be interested in hearing this.

I’m not sure about that last idea. That would give the piece more unity and would complement the gentle ending I was heading for. Yet I like the sound of the chord ending it too.

Thanks for the feedback, both of you! :slight_smile:

hi…nice piece and piano sounds great but just thought the piece lacked a theme…from the listening point of view it just seemed to be going here and there, nice as it is I think if there was a theme that you returned to a few times it would make a better piece of music, maybe my problem is I always have my commercial ears on …sorry about that, Kevin

Good observation, Kevin. I get the feeling this is what alot of classical style piano pieces do. I felt like I had a hard time keeping it moving in the beginning, which I guess explains that a few of those ideas never returned later in the piece.

Thank you.

Hi, there are a lot of tuneful “bits” for want of a better word in your piece and if you stop to consider what, for instance Beethoven would do…( he’d take a nice part and refer back to it here and there and go minor with it and suchlike) I reckon you should do the same…you don’t have to prove anything by making the piece as varied as poss, you can’t beat a nice tune played well and sympathetically and it’s all in there…you’ve already done it…so I suppose it’s maybe down to arrangement…I heard several parts that I liked and was disappointed that I never heard them again…you’ve probably heard Beethovens piano concerto No 5 in E flat major…this is the adagio bit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSeg69d3CQ8
and if you consider the time he is taking to put a beautiful tune across you should have a go at just slowing it down, I reckon some of the parts in your piece would be really nice…but slower…cheers, Kevin

The timing was fine, of course for a piece like this you wouldn’t wanna play to a metronome. It did definitely lack a melody to hold onto, first thing ears pick up is the melody and then the bass notes. There are lots of nice little parts and ideas for melodies, but I think you should work on one small melodic idea and developing it before changing to another progression or melody.

I liked the playing and the piano sounded decent too, although I thought it sounded too central. Is that because of using the player mic? As an audience listener it didn’t sound like I was in the audience listening because of how narrow to the centre it was.

If you got a nice reverb plugin like QL Spaces it’d sound even clearer and nicer! I know the difference first hand between REVerence and Spaces and the differences it makes is quite astounding. Good job so far, definitely a lot to work with and that should be developing the melodic idea you have their into a more consistent melody that can be repeated.

Once again, thanks for the replies. Your advice goes hand-in-hand with some I’ve received from others.

@shadowfax: Indeed, lack of repetition is my weakness. Some of the ideas really do need to be developed more as well as reintroduced in a later section. Someone told me that this piece was still too mechanical even though it was performed without a metronome. He said I should add dramatic pauses and let the rhythm “push and pull” a bit more. As far as expression with the timing, I have a hard time slowing a piece down. I’m more into music like pop, rock, metal, electronic, anything that moves. It’s against my nature to wallow in a melody for a long period of time, but that may make it more appealing, I guess? I like songs that keep going somewhere which is apparently reflected in my composition style. :mrgreen: Working on this has got to become top priority! :neutral_face:

@Jonathan5456: Someone else told me that the left hand is a bit simplistic and keeps holding back (the 1-5-1 pattern which I use alot). Perhaps if I keep the left hand a little busier with arpeggios and soforth, the song will sound a bit more complex and stay moving better too?

It’s nice to be using sampled piano’s for a change, as sound quality has not been a major topic of discussion, thank goodness. I put a stereo enhancer on the whole song, the width set to max. If you start layering stereo expanders, it drives the volume up quick. The lack of width was something I was noticing too. Any other tricks to remedy that?

Bane

I’m not a pianist so I can’t advise about the playing or the finer aspects of solo piano composition I’m afraid. But the issue is not about the left hand being too simple or needing to be more complex with arpeggios, the issue is just that there isn’t a main melody/hook that is defined. That is the word that should stick in your mind. Does the melody have clear definition? Does the harmonic progression have clear definition? Does the structure/arrangement have clear definition?

You don’t need to use any stereo wideners, the problem is at the root, the mic used to capture the samples. If you use a player mic you’ll hear it from the perspective of where you are sitting. An audience will not be sitting on your lap, unless you get a lucky lady to of course. But all recordings are mic’d from the other side of the piano and that is why it sounds way too central. Are there options to use other mics? The player mic is used so you can hear the sound as you would from being the person playing the piano, not for a recording.

As for someone saying the performance was mechanical I don’t know, you’ll improve in all areas of a performance the more you practice over the years.

The other mic position is a close mic.

Could you do a similar performance with the close mic so we can compare? :slight_smile: Doesn’t need to be a long performance.

How about the exact same performance with the close mic, would that be good?

That would be just great for a comparison.

Here.

It does sound a lot better in my opinion. Have you taken the stereo wideners off also? I’d really like to just hear it with close and player mic without any additional panning/stereo widener effects.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iO8wQ9PZZg That’s close mics or something similar, probably close and possibly surround mic’d to capture the ambience also. But that’s the kinda positioning of the bass/treble notes anyway. Your close mic version is similar to the positiong, the player mic is just completely wrong from an audiences perspective. (Sound quality is terrible on that upload btw, compared to the actual CD.)

Alright, maybe I’ll get around to it tomorrow. I’ll be kinda busy, but won’t forget. :wink:

I listened to your link, sounds good remembering that Youtube probably chops off the total top end. Here’s a piano solo that’s made a big impression on me. http://soundcloud.com/clinton-stevens/sometimes-just-so

Heavenly piano sound, and a freakin’ awesome composition. Makes me wanna cry. :stuck_out_tongue:

hi bane,

of course it wasn’t dodgy, if it was i wouldn’t have listened to it two or three times to then come to the conclusion that it was fine :smiley: (it’s just me)

when i mentioned it could be because there is no beat i wasn’t talking about being played along to a metronome, i meant because it is a solo piece with no drums, i’m basically saying the same as kevin. (sort of)
kevin said about possibly having a theme to return to, i agree with this as it can be hard to get into something thats always changing, i believe that repetitiveness plays a part in a songs structure but i also think you should have the musical freedom to do what you want and if you dont want to repeat something then dont, thats why i mentioned the drums, having a beat could steady the ship, this wont be the same for everyone but i had to listen a couple of times before i could see the structure of the song, a beat with fills and different variations would maybe have helped me see this first time, now that ive stepped on your musical train of though i get it and i like it, and i think you play very well

http://ianrushton.bandcamp.com/track/seeking-solitude

The original piano version was called ‘Solitude’ - this radically different take on that tune (with considerable input from various forum members) was called ‘Seeking Solitude’ :sunglasses:

Ok here are the tracks Jonathan.

http://soundcloud.com/btrailblazer/solitude-close-automated/s-G6eAZ

and

http://soundcloud.com/btrailblazer/solitude-player-automated/s-2PhlI

These were both automated so that the stereo enhancer is bypassed every 10 seconds, starting with the first 10 seconds bypassed.

Thank you thehornyscotsman for your reply. I feel better now. :wink:

I’m looking forward to listening to Seeking Solitude too. :smiley: Just need more time. :imp: