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AIM - Sunset Silhouette

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Author Comments



Here is my submission for the AIM 2021 contest.

I chose this art piece because of the colorful background and love the black silhouette of the couple in the foreground. It gave me a romantic inspiration for my submission, thus, you can hear the emotion in the strings. Also, its been awhile since I had a piano in my orchestral pieces.

Hope you enjoy.

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Hello! This is a review for the NGUAC competition.

I've gone over one or two general categories of issues specific to your song, and one section of things I think also deserve complimenting. I prefer being very direct with my critique, none of it is meant to offend. Thank you for your understanding!

Constructive Criticism:

- This has wonderful development of instrumentation and dynamic curve, but what it could very much use is some additional ideas. There is a countermelody to the central theme, but the chord progression and center melody remains essentially the same throughout the entire piece, with very minor changes. What this piece desperately needs is some shift to these core ideas for thematic development. There many ways to do theme and variation if you'd like to take that approach, such as switching to staccato to changing the chord progression around the theme to reharmonize it. It may also be reasonable to add B sections, especially as you get closer to the ending. Right now, this is an A section, repeated over and over, with extra instruments added to create the illusion of compositional variation.

- Secondly, the melody itself isn't too compelling. Part of this is due to the chord progression, which is effectively just two chords trading off. This deserves more variation and development to build climaxes of tension and subsequent release. However, even given that, this melody doesn't really... go anywhere - notably, it is the root note of the chord which jumps up a 5th, then either takes steps right down the chord or effectively jumps directly to the root note again using an 'enclosure' for embellishment. These melodies roughly break down to 1-5-3-1, 1-5-1-1 and repeat. Using more variable chords is one way to resolve this, switching between different notes of the chord and adding notes between chords as passing notes or embellishments. With more shifting harmony, there is more of a dynamic curve and 'story' to the melody. Another way of forming variation is to use different rhythms. Right now, the melody only uses very straight rhythms, with either half notes or one note on every beat. Try some syncopation, or triplets to break up the monotonous rhythm.

Compliments to the Composer:

- Beyond the compositional issues, you really do genuinely have good ideas with arranging this piece. The pizzicatto strings are quite lovely (I do love plucked sounds, admittedly!), as is the oboe starting at 1:56. Your harmonies are nice even if simple, and your dynamic development is good. I don't hear any mixing mud either, and you can even bring the volume up a bit more with a limiter set to a threshhold of -1.1dB. I think studying classical music theory will work extremely well for you. Try going here http://openmusictheory.com/contents.html and starting around "Types of Motion". There are a lot of good nuggets of information past that point as well, which will serve you well in composing this music style.

Final score: 6.5

Your instrument choices are spot-on for evoking emotions that can reasonably be connected the artwork. I especially like the use of the pizzicato strings, which add this extra level of poignancy and that, combined with the piano, conveys the idea of silhouetted figures pretty well.

Generally, the composition feels quite sad due to it remaining in the minor key for the entire duration of the piece. It does paint the picture in quite a different light, giving the story captured a more bittersweet feeling, as if the two lovers can only meet each other in secret during sunset unless they get caught. I'm not really sure if that's what you're going for, since you only mention the piece being romantic, but hey, romantic sadness also works.

One way to bring out more emotion in the piano is to phrase those solid chords at the beginning (starting at 0:05) and not allow them to hit exactly the same. I think they would probably work best if the second chord were slightly softer to play into that conclusion of sadness even more.

Overall, this entry interprets the art in a melancholy sort of way, which I'm not sure if the image itself was actually trying to convey, but I liked the approach.

spcialist responds:

I was going for that Romero and Juliet vibe. You nailed it on meeting in secret at sundown, after everyone retired in their homes. I could have used more time to edit, but at last, no time waits for no man. Thx for the review.

Credits & Info


4.04 / 5.00

Jun 18, 2021
9:05 PM EDT
File Info
6.8 MB
2 min 58 sec
  • FL Studio 20
Misc. Kit
  • Finale Print Music 2010
  • EastWest Symphonic Orchestra

Licensing Terms

You may not use this work without making specific arrangements with the artist UNLESS your work is a web-based game or animation, in which case you may use this freely.