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Psalm 32

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Author Comments

I wrote and played this piece after a photographer friend of mine asked me to compose something for his website.
This is my first attempt in actually mixing something so any feedback is appreciated.

Compositionally wise:

Nothing in this piece is played twice the exact same way,
and to me, the most intriguing relationship in this piece between two chords comes at the second theme around 2:30 into the piece (C minor to D-flat Major). The connection between these two that makes this work is the melodic contour that uses two non-chord tones: an anticipation followed by an appoggiatura. An anticipation is, as the name applies, a note that is played right before the music actually arrives to that chord, but just as you expect to hear that chord, the melody then moves to an appoggiature before it finally resolves back down again to it’s appropriate place. This creates a mixture of eagerness and yearning, which I have been told by another that the imagery that comes to mind upon hearing this was home.

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Phew.....yeah I forgot to take the breath.
What can I say, your thoughts are widely flowing in the piece.
Everything is very well connected and like spreading pearls on the surface of ocean.
Very well done dude. Keep it up.

Phonometrologist responds:

Ha thanks! I appreciate the imagery here in your comment.
I see similar attributes within each of your first three lines:
To grasp a breath of air amidst an ocean flowing of consciousness.

As you said in the description, nothing in this piece is played exactly the same. I especially like your phrasing. I really enjoyed how the non chord tones resolved perfectly, but not in an expected way, like at 1:54 .Your use of Dynamics are impeccable as the whole piece is just building up to what seams to be the climax, and then there is a sense of 'falling action'.
For me, this piece evoked a feeling of nostalgia, which is a special feeling especially when felt in music. Bravo.

Phonometrologist responds:

Nostalgia is one of the feelings I am most fond of, but I'm glad you felt anything upon hearing this. I've come to the point I don't feel anything anymore from this. With familiarity, music can be like a drug and eventually you build a tolerance to it. Perhaps that could be the reason why so many one hit wonders on the radio are to be constantly thrown out over a year or two, and that's when performing can become quite useful as to differ from the original.
Call it vanity of vanities.
Thank you for the kind words :)

My apologies, I heard neither eagerness nor yearning. I heard peace and relief; a burden being lifted. Regardless, I enjoyed this thoroughly.

Phonometrologist responds:

I can't accept your apology. What you heard is correct. I love to hear what other people get out of their own experience in music, art, etc. Who am I to tell another what they hear is wrong? For when one writes something and puts it out there for another to hear, I can no longer define it as a way of entitlement.
On occasion, I would be dumbfounded on something that I have written while others can explain better to me to what the piece means.
In this case, that sense of eagerness and yearning mostly applies to the brief relationship of the two chords in contrast to the rest of the passage. It was pretty much of a testimony from another listener, and not necessarily my own, although I did follow what they had to say. I asked what they thought, and they said it felt like "home" and "safe," which probably fits more of your description.
As a whole though, he did seem to envision that of a hero struggling but amidst of that struggle he dreamt of a hope. A hope not yet realized.

I really like the dynamic build of the piece and the use of space in the beginning, it helps that middle section really hit home emotionally. Also there were some really nice use of chords, some unexpected ones here and there that kept my ear interested. It is a good piece! well done!

Phonometrologist responds:

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

This is a very well-composed piece, and I particularly liked the chord progression you used. I can see from your interesting commentary that you put a lot of thought into this aspect of the piece, and it paid off: the progression doesn't repeat to the point that it becomes predictable or boring (something that I have seen in a lot of Newgrounds artists) and it evokes a lot of different moods, sometimes stirring, sometimes more wistful. The voicings you used for some of the chords, especially at the beginning, were also quite interesting and helped keep my attention.

I liked that the piece had a clear structure to it. When working with a solo instrument, it's tricky to vary the tone of the piece to create a consistently engaging experience, but you managed to keep the piece engaging by starting out very understated and bringing the intensity up and down in a way that stood out.

Another aspect of the piece I thought worked well was the ambient noise supporting the piano at the beginning. Backing an acoustic instrument with a synth pad like that doesn't always work very well, but you kept it very tasteful by making it very faint, acting not as an outright harmonic support, but more of just an ambient drone.

In fact, one way in which I think you could have improved was by either continuing the drone, bringing it back later in the piece, or perhaps getting rid of it entirely--the thing is, it appears at the very beginning of the piece and then just disappears, which is kind of disorienting. Either removing the drone or making it more present would, I think, help the flow of the piece. (I'm a bit biased here, because I love minimalist music and drones, so I would just spread the synth over the whole thing--but that's just one way of doing it.)

The one other thing that I thought was a little bit inconsistent (and it's a very minor thing) was the presence of swung notes at 2:23 and 3:54. While I appreciated the rhythmic variation they brought to the piece, it was again a bit disorienting because no other rhythms of that type showed up. So, again, either adding in more swing or varying the rhythm in different ways would make the piece feel more consistent.

Really, though, I'm dwelling on small details here. Overall, the piece has a beautiful chord progression, contains an engaging set of variations on that progression, and combines a complex variety of moods. Great job!

Phonometrologist responds:

Thank you for spending the time in writing your well thought-out review.
I find it interesting on your remarks about the "swung notes," because it is true what you said. As I was writing, I was particularly concerned about the lack of variation in the rhythm. Often times when one is listening to music, a stream of consciousness starts to enter into the mind that will detract the individual away from the music. And so that is where a composer seeks to maintain some kind of balance to keep the listener engaged some how.
For example, Beethoven has his usual method where the classical musician can always rely on a sudden outburst of a forte-fortissimo passage that he has written into the score to wake up the crowd.
So, I used the varied rhythm to distinguish between the two themes to grab attention to it, but also like you said, to give the listener an impression of not knowing where the piece is going--even if it is only for a moment.

The other thing that you mentioned, which I agree with you on, is the use of the pad. However, I wrote the piece before I had in mind to use the synth. If I tried bringing it back somewhere or even tried maintaining a drone, I thought it probably would have muddied it too much. The beginning is the only place where the bass notes and chords don't change constantly as the rest of the piece does. Just didn't think there was enough time in between notes to fit a slow moving synth pad underneath, and It wouldn't sound as good if I increased its attack. And I certainly didn't want to get rid of it lol...It was my Goldmund impression regarding the synth, so it was kind of a learning tool for me.
Thanks again.

Credits & Info

4.93 / 5.00

Oct 19, 2013
11:13 PM EDT
File Info
12.4 MB
5 min 26 sec

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