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Jan-Feb 2018 Instrumental Competition

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(First things first - thanks to Salley Gardens, the moderator who began the first instrumental contests, and who laid the foundation for the rest.)
 

Muse Songwriters Jan-Feb 2018 Instrumental Competition
 

*This thread is for posting entries.* Discussions on the competition are HERE.

Dates: Post your entries here from now until February 28th. Submit scores to Moso via PM from Thursday March 1st to Monday March 12th. This gives a week and two weekends for people to get a good listen and make their decisions. 

Purpose: to stimulate the creation of music, music education, and music discussion for those of all abilities and means.

 

Primary Criteria

  1. This comp is to encourage musical creation, discussion, and knowledge. All participants must include what their goals were in regards to their submitted songs. Entrants are also encouraged to share other notes about submissions, such as that along the lines of composition, production, and engineering.
  2. This being an instrumental competition, lyrics of any kind are excluded, including being typed in videos or in the comp topics.
     

Entry Parameters

  • When posting, please include a brief description, including the intent of the piece. (examples: This is a solo guitar piece I’m playing that modulates through several keys; This is an instrumental I’m sending to TAXI for placement; This is for a song, the backing track is made with samples in my DAW, and the melody is played by me on the sax; This is only the backing track for a song; This is a string quartet exported from Band-in-a-Box, and not meant to be radio ready but played by live musicians; etc.)
  • Participants are encouraged to share technical notes about their piece, such as composition and production, in order to facilitate musical dialogue.
  • Anything without recognizable words is acceptable. As an instrumental contest, lyrics of any kind, including including those written with the entry in the post, audio, or video, are to be excluded. Talking in the background (as might be overheard in a live venue, but not part of the music) is acceptable.
  • Entries can be any length.
  • Entries must be methodically crafted, as opposed to simply improvising on your instrument with the record button on. If you want to use improvisation(s) in layered tracks crafted together, that’s acceptable.
  • Entries may include instruments being played live and/or virtual instruments. Anything that makes noise is considered an instrument, if you wish it to be. This includes vocal sounds using "oohs" and "aahhs", "la la", and scatting, for example.
  • You are allowed to ask for help from any source regarding playing, recording, mixing, etc. Credit must be given to others involved (collaborations; musicians; recording/mixing tech help; etc.) in the entry post.
  • Videos are allowed, as well as the standard audio files via SoundClick, SoundCloud, etc.
  • Entries previously posted on the Muse in any of the forums are allowed, with the exception of songs previously entered in competitions. 
     

Scoring

  • Any member of the Muse may score the entries.
  • Each entry should be scored on its own, and not compared to or ranked against the other entries.
  • When voting, please consider how well you believe the entrant met his/her goals and objectives.
  • Score from 1 to 10, with 10 being highest. Entrants must score all the other entries. The moderator reserves the right to have your own score as a mean of the scores you give others. 
  • PM your scores to me with "Jan-Feb 2018 Inst Comp" in the subject area during the scoring period. 
  • It might be helpful to take notes at the time of scoring, to share as feedback after the results are announced. (not required)

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Hey folks here is my entry:

"Song for Ava"  (technically I guess it's not a song proper without lyrics)

 

Goals:  My goal was singular and that was to write a piece for my niece.

Techincal Notes:  I don't know much about jazz so I thought I could look up a few jazz chords and apply them.  In one spot I did fall back on the old II-V-I progression but for a lot of it I tried to figure out the right chords for what I heard in my head.  The same goes for the melody.  I don't know much music theory and mainly play in terms of patterns (of scales/modes, and chords) on the fretboard.  I suppose purists frown on such activity but what are you gonna do?   

Gear:  Guitar, mic, Garageband

 

 

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Song title - "Along The Way"

copyright 2012 - Tom Hoffman

All writing, arrangement, performance, recording & final production are my work also.

 

Description/Intent

My intent was non-specific. I was interested in creating something that contrasted my earlier instrumental efforts, which were both alternative genre.

I was going for something pretty, flowing & heavily melodic...something consistent with the title.

Bottom line - I wrote it for the same reason I write everything...because I wanted to <_<

Of the 2 songs that fit this contest criteria, I chose this one because it hasn't been used for much, other than my mother's funeral.

She passed away Christmas Eve 2012...I knew it was one of her favorites, so we found a way to incorporate it into the service. I think she would have been pleased. ;)

 

Structurally, the song is basic...written in the key of C.

All the instrumentation is real, with the exception of some percussion elements (wood block, congas & primary drum kit).

Those parts were structured & recorded first, using an old Dr. Rhythm drum machine (Boss DR 670).

Crash cymbals & triangle were recorded on separate tracks using actual instruments to achieve a more natural sounding decay.

Once basic percussion was recorded, all other tracks were recorded one-by-one using a 24-track Tascam deck, like you one you see in the photo below.

DCP_0010_autofixed_edited2.JPG.1d342eb526cf7e358af7785cae9d5c41.JPG

All mixing, editing & final production was done on this same system.

Additional equipment used - Gibson SG, Fender Strat, mid-priced Yamaha acoustic guitar, Peavey Fury Bass, Yamaha P80 digital keyboard, $100 MXL condenser mic

 

Unfortunately, the only version I have online right now is video format, so that's the one I'll have to use.

If you click on the photo below, that should open up the YouTube video.

 

5a5820e38569a_Road-AlongtheWay.jpg.5e1c75429370841fdc0b889ab1c4e779.jpg

 

Tom

 

 

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Voting time! 

I'll put the results here once the scoring period is over~~ 

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It would seem with only 2 entrants that they would be more interested in garnering feedback on their pieces than actual scores.  I'll send the scores too... but here is my feedback:

 

RoadDog: I found "Song for Ava" to be very smooth and relaxing.  I think I'll go grab a glass of wine and listen again ;)  I'm inspired to do some research on jazz chords and scales myself after listening.

 

tunesmithth:  I was instantly taken back to a Jimmy Buffett concert I enjoyed with my wife a couple years ago. For that reason alone, I loved it!  You kept it interesting and the production was great.  I also had a chuckle when this video auto played next after yours https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euERJtqChZc  .  Yours worked perfectly as an intro and was quite seamless. :lol:

 

Well done to you both!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Triffid said:

It would seem with only 2 entrants that they would be more interested in garnering feedback on their pieces than actual scores.  

Feedback is absolutely encouraged. And thank you!

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So I just saw your comment that voting is optional, and very much appreciate your enthusiasm to get some comments going here.

 

As you know I have voted anyway, but screw it I can just echo here what I have already said to you, maybe without giving my scores away.

 

This competition for me is a tale of two cities. 

 

Tunesmithh has the most accomplished song of the two, and by that I mean the most polished and better produced. The choice of instruments and the way they are mixed is top drawer. The track is great, worth listening to and never gets too much or dare I say it boring.  A really solid performance all in all.

 

RoadDog, for me was a much more natural song. It doesn't sound as good on a technical level but it does have more "soul", in other words it moved me just that bit more.

 

Both great tracks to listen to though, and it was nice to sit at the weekend and listen to a couple of instrumentals. I wish this competition was more popular because actually it is a refreshing change to just listen to music.

 

Well done both. Be interesting to see how the scores go...

 

Cheers 

 

 

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Hey thanks Triffid and Murphster for the listen and comments, and thanks Tom for joining me on this one.   Yep, it'd be cool to do a few more instrumentals once in a while.

 

Cheers,

Pete

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Alright -- Results!  

 

Sorry it took me so long to get to this. I'm "borrowing" a comp atm as mine is getting overhauled. (The owner's not here. It'll never be noticed muhahahahaha.) 

 

Okay, we had 10 people chip in to vote on these two songs. And each song got a range of scores from 6 to 10. However, RD's "Song for Ava" received a total of 75 pts, while Tom's "Along the Way" received a total of 78 pts; or an average score of 7.5 for RD and 7.8 for Tom. Neck n' neck, you two! 

 

I want to thank both @RoadDog and @tunesmithth for chipping in. I apologize that we didn't have other entries. I usually enter these, myself, so I guess I have a double apology here. Granted, last time we ran this, about a year ago, I think there were only 4 entries. Including mine. :( 

 

Perhaps someone else can take over and give this show a good reboot? I should mention that I got emails from people saying they didn't know the contest was running until I started putting all the extra vote messages up, and that otherwise they would want to enter. I thought I had that base covered by putting notes and opening threads in other forums, but I guess it wasn't enough. Of course, the Muse does seem to be lyric-heavy. I also want to mention that there were entries that suddenly up and disappeared. So... we kinda did have other entries, but they took off. :huh: Off the page... 

 

Anyway, thanks again to both gents! They wrote some good material and played a good game! Hats off! 

 

Executive Producers: @Alistair S, @Barneyboy, @Triffid, @AndyLeF, @Peko, @Murphster, @The S, @lyriCAL

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Hey congrats Tom!  Well done!  Yeah, let's do this sort of thing again!  

 

Cheers,

Pete

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Quote

Hey congrats Tom!  Well done!  Yeah, let's do this sort of thing again

Thanks Pete, but with only a 3-point spread between us, it's a virtual push (tie).

Congrats to you also! ;)

 

Tom

 

*Thanks to Moso for his time & effort on making the contest happen!

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1 hour ago, HoboSage said:

Since you made mention of it, FWIW, I withdrew my entry after I realized it was going to be posted here for months.  I don't post any of my stuff anywhere publicly for that long except on my own website.

Yes, two months. Contests on the Muse generally run 1-2 months. The current collab, for example, is set for about a month and a half, with a note that it may extend. This contest was originally set for one month, but after requests, I expanded it to two. Sorry this bugs you. You must have a rockin' website. 

1 hour ago, HoboSage said:

I also had issues with the whole "discussion" and "education" aspect of the contest, and the requirement of explaining my "goals."  These are things that just don't interest me with respect to works I have already received feedback on and consider finished, and having to explain my goals actually annoyed me, because I don't have any true "goals" or intentions when I set out to create something.

That whole "let's talk about music" and "education" thing is a bitch, isn't it? Most of what I have here, pretty much all of it actually, is cut and paste from the original instrumentals contest that one of the old-Muse moderators created. This is not your first time to complain about this contest, but you may be interested to know others like discussing music. Go figure -- talking about music and crafting on the Muse? Egads! ;) Maybe you don't like being told you have to discuss your music ((again) -- though you know there's no min/max to how much you say, right?). That's sort of a bummer. With how you talk about music in other forums, and with your lyrical topics, I figured you would have something a little more sagacious to add here. Ditto on the "goals" aspect. You always have a goal, or your song wouldn't get finished. I do however, think that voting on goals may not be a useful aspect of this contest. I kept it in for posterity, but being that "goals" is so open to interpretation and can be so incredibly arbitrary, it doesn't make for a good judges' criteria. 

That being said, we could also just totally water this contest down, and do a barebones: Paste your song. In one month, vote one which you liked more. Fini. Actually -- how about you host the next one, Hobo? Although we only got two contestants, there is evidence of more interest. I'm about to get really busy, and wouldn't be able to host, myself. This town needs a hero. 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, @HoboSage, you know what I was just thinking? You could have played rebel quite effectively by posting your song (of course it would have broken your website rule†), and regarding goals, just said, "I wrote this because I wanted to. It felt good to write it. I enjoyed it. And I wanted to finish it. Closure ftw." And we would have had to recognize, experientially, that the "goals" rule is, as mentioned, a bit arbitrary, especially to vote on. 

 

That would have worked pretty well. And made the contest more interesting. 

 

You had it, man... right there in your fingers... :P 

 


†Wait, what the heck are we talking about? You control how long your song is up in these posts. Just because a comp is set to run X amount of time, doesn't mean you have to have it up for that long. Entries can be made at any time during the contest, up until the voting period. 

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On 3/14/2018 at 09:08, HoboSage said:

I didn't post to "complain."  I posted to explain why I withdrew my entry because you seemed to make an issue of it.  As for your mockery, well, I'll assume you know where I think you should stick that.

Sorry, it just "sounds" like complaining when you make these posts. And I didn't make an issue of anything. What I was trying to do was point out to others (who were dismayed that there were so few entries), that there could have, would have, almost were, more. And I most certainly didn't bring you up at all. 

Does this mean you don't want to help? I actually think it would be refreshing for another as yourself to take up this mantle. You wouldn't even have to bathe. (That's a joke. I actually imagine you're pretty clean.) 

EDIT: And if you're unhappy with me, it would be really effective to make this contest better. Then you could be like, "In your face, Moso!" My only recourse would be to congratulate you. Rock on, Hobo. Rock on. Outside the box. 

EDIT2: Uh-oh, I see you're editing your comments to make yourself come across a little more saintly. Speaking frankly, you absolutely were complaining. You italicized "months", saying the contest was too long. This is something that you had brought up with me before. Afterwards, you said the contest parameters annoyed you. Now, I'm not upset. To me, we're just having a conversation. In that conversation, I'm calling BS. 

EDIT3: You edited your comments again? I see now why people often copy whole quotes into their posts. This is not the first time I've seen you make an aggressive post, and then after you've irked people, go back and rewrite your post to make yourself look innocent. 

And I'm really sorry (particularly towards the contestants) that we're having this discussion here. I should have just responded to you in a PM. I will try to do that in the future. 

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