My first symphony

• Oct 26, 2017 - 04:17

Just finished composing a 4-movement, 32-minute symphony for standard orchestra (flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, and strings). Main inspirations are Bartok, Beethoven, Shostakovitch, Stravinsky, and a little bit of heavy metal thrown in. Some visual improvements remain to be done (esp. some missing legato slurs), but structurally this is the first full draft. I am not a trained composer so I'm eager to hear some professional criticism on it (whether some passages are unplayable or unclear etc.).

Attachment Size
Symphony1234.mscz 255.21 KB


I just downloaded your piece and had a short look on it. Respect for so much work you did! I think it would be very good for you, to read "Principles of Orchestration" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Everything I want to tell you about orchestrating can be told by him better.
For me, this book was an eye opener. I am a "amateur composer" too.
-Bar 4: what are the violins doing? Noone can hear them if thes have to play alone next to the trumpet.
-the trumpets: To play al these sixteenths is very very hard. But it is ok for the oboes to play this.
-Trombones, clarinets and violins in bar 4 can be removed and it will sound nearly similar... You could let the strings just jump one octave and double them with the clarinet.
But it gets all better in the second movement. Is that still the same composer? nice
Here is the link to Korsakov

In reply to by Enkaptaton

Thank you very much for your insights, Enkaptaton! I have heard about Rimsky-Korsakov's book but haven't yet gotten around to reading it. I'll seek out a physical copy at the university library.

  • Regarding bar 4: I'll experiment with swapping the parts around. Maybe I'll give the trumpet part to the clarinets, make the trumpets imitate the double bass, and erase the violin parts altogether...

Yes it is the same composer for all 4 movements. :)

hi Lucas, i cant be of any help to you because i am just a listener, not a composer, but i would like to know which soundfont you used when composing.
can you record one or two minutes of the first part and post an mp3?
regards bottrop

In reply to by Lucas_Marincak…

thank you for the reply, Lucas, i played it using that default font and it sounded terrible, i cannot imagine you writing a few measures in Musescore, listen back what you did and not give up the whole project.
no surprise of course, since that Fluidfont dates from the days of the Soundblaster Live! and nothing can be improved because Frank Wren bought the copyrights of every single sample (..), spent a fortune on it, just to make the Soundblaster Live!-users happy for free!
i tried a fragment of your piece in Cakewalk using my own soundfont (all illegal sounds of course) and there it sounds a lot better, but i would have to reset all your velocities and bankchanges and besides that there are probably too many notes at some moments to play it in one instance.
regards, bottrop

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

thank you for your offer, Ziya, i downloaded your font, looked inside and found many friends from long ago, i believe i even saw copies of ROMsamples!
of course i was only joking about illegal sounds; there is no such thing as illegal sounds, people who think they own sounds are fooling themselves, sound is nothing, there is no sound around us, no sound in our ears, there is only sound in our heads, and i dont know about you, but everything in my head is mine!
regards, bottrop

In reply to by bottrop

i played this piece with your Aegean Symphonic Orchestra, Ziya, and it sounds much better than with the Fluidfont, but why are you using stereosamples? have you ever heard of a musical instrument that produces different sounds for the left and the right ear?
as for the symphony, Lucas, it is pretty good for a first symphony, but what i miss is a really slow part (ppp), so the listener gets the opportunity to reset his ears. the Mysterioso-part would have been the best for that of course, now it is too fast, too loud and too straight (and therefore not very misterioso). leave this First as it is, even Mahler never succeeded in upgrading his first to a real Mahler!

In reply to by bottrop

have you ever heard of a musical instrument that produces different sounds for the left and the right ear
* A buffet piano if you're in front of it has a slight stereo positioning between low and high end
* Any pipe organ, some of which use fun stuff as having all black keys on one end and all whites on the other

In reply to by jeetee

my dear jeetee, i did not ask what you hear; if you have two ears (and i hope so), you always hear stereo, even if the sound comes through a keyhole. only with one ear you are able to hear mono, no matter if the sound is sent to your one ear in stereo.
so, if you play a mono soundfont, you hear it in stereo, if you play a stereo soundfont, you hear two instruments, one recorded with the left microphone, one recorded with the right microphone.
regards from bottrop

In reply to by bottrop

Interesting observations, bottrop. I will have a look at Aegean Symphonic Orchestra. In general, the 2nd movement is intended to be the slow pianissimo part, along with brief soft interludes in the 3rd and 4th. But I'll look into simply revising the dynamic markings in the Misterioso (e.g. change 'mp' to 'pp').

In reply to by ♪𝔔𝔲𝔞𝔳𝔢𝔯 ℭ𝔯𝔞𝔣𝔱𝔢𝔯♪

No this is not a good soundfont. I tried it out on a decent quality Bluetooth headset instead of the horrible headphones I was using earlier and listening from the Flacbox app using In the hall of the mountain King exported to flac format. This is an amazing soundfont. The dark bassoon is really good for the beginning.

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