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  • Well, this is as close as I'll get to a real string quartet...

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    Hi all!

    After finally taking the plunge into the wonderful world of VSL, my first piece, brilliantly named "String Quartet No. 1" is done! My wife and I are a husband-wife classical accordion and clarinet duo, Acclarion. When it comes to composition, I write the music, she mixes and masters. So far, no major fights have arisen trying to get our heads around the far more complex world of Vienna and Cubase than our previous "Garritan" experiences using Finale.

    Like everyone that spends some time working on a project that's all-consuming, we'd both love to get some feedback on the String Quartet. It is just under 18 minutes, with all 3 movements approx. 6 minutes each. The first two are quite lyrical, while the third is a mix of driving rhythms, modal harmonies, and well...hopefully you'll listen.

    String Quartet No. 1 by David Carovillano

    It's an honour to be part of such a great community and to continue to learn from brilliant musicians.


  • I have listened to your Quartet many times trying to get my head around it, but I cannot.  I me it does not make sense.

    Forgive me if I am wrong about this, but it sounds like you took three existing quartets and inverted them and only adjusted the final cadence.  Inversions can be usefull I know for inspiration, but 99% of the time they do not work without massive corrections.



  • Hello Mark, While I will admit to being hurt by your comments, as I am quite proud if this piece, you are entitled to your opinion. Thankfully, a real string quartet that just read through it does not feel the same as you about it, and to be honest, had I not received their positive thoughts about it, I might have been more deflated to read your thoughts. Thank God I never took a composition lesson in an academic environment, because this is exactly how I feared "educated" composers might quell one's inner voice. I write from the heart, the sounds I enjoy hearing. That is all I can do. Best wishes to you on your journey and thank you for taking the time to listen to my piece, regardless of your dislike for it. Dave

  • I liked the composition, and thought it was very interesting from a harmonic standpoint and it seems very well developed overall.  Also, the performance and programming sounded very good. 

  • Dave

        I am very sorry that my comment has caused you pain.  As senior finishing off a music degree, I should have been more eloquent and constructive in my post.  I am well aquainted with the academic dislike of my music and that it is not comforming to past practice.  A prof once commented that I was not really a  musician, but rather, just someone who just likes playing with sound.  A piano teacher once said that there has been no original music since Bach.  A violinist in a recording session of my music lead the quartet through an energetic piece as if to say, "This is a quartet!" (My music tends to be very sedate.) I called that CMC in Canada to ask the requirements for admission as a Classical composer and was told that they like a minimum of a masters degree in composition and five paid performances, etc.  I know the pain of critics.  I should have not caused it in you.


    Thank you for chiminng in!


  • Thank you, William, for your kind words. 

    Mark, I appreciate your initial comments as well as your follow up post.  Without going on too much of a rant, I'll add some perspective in terms of background/how I have arrived at composing, as we're all on our own unique journey seeking to find meaning in what we do, and to do it the best that we can.

    I am a performer by trade, playing the classical (free bass) accordion as part of a duo with my wife, Becky, a clarinetist.  We met completing our Masters degrees in music at the University of Toronto.  I had the chance to study accordion with my university prof from the age of 11, and he was deeply engaged in what we'll call "new music" (that delightful term that we apply to music without semblance of pulse or tonality).  I fell in love with music by first hearing Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, so when I discovered first that the accordion (as a serious concert instrument) was in its infancy, and that all the music being written for it was atonal, and far removed from the classical sound and form I enjoyed, I spent years listening to classical music, while focussing my own performance development on avant garde repertoire.  Following university, my wife and I spent a few years performing new music for accordion and clarinet, while gradually incorporating transcriptions from Bach to Puccini, etc.  During these years, I also wrote music for our duo in a "neo-classical/romantic" style.

    It is only last year that I decided I'd like to compose music for other ensembles, fuelled by my desire to expand Acclarion's (my duo) opportunities.  I began first with a double concerto for accordion/clarinet with orchestra.  Then a piece with us and piano trio, then us and string quartet, etc.  Finally, I started writing for other ensembles on the request of various performers, including the string quartet I posted here.

    I'm not formally trained as a composer, but have a pretty advanced knowledge of harmony, counterpoint, voice-leading, etc. both from my academic studies and my personal interest.  My "composer influences" include Mozart, Bach, and Faure, to modern day film composers like Alan Menken.  In writing, I simply sit down at the piano, and begin writing, drawing on themes that emerge from my mind.  I do very little listening to other composers these days, for fear of simply talking myself out of writing music when I hear how great their work is.  Stylistically, everything for me starts with melody.  A catchy , 4, or 8 bar motif, developed, mangled, manipulated, inserted at unexpected moments, and most importantly, repeated enough so that a listener has something familiar to grasp, forms the foundation of my writing.  I like traditional harmonies and "Bach-like" voice leading/counterpoint as well.  Where the "modern twist" comes, is simply with altering basic chords like flattening the fifth of a dominant seventh, or taking a symmetrical four bar phrase in 4/4, and on the second instance of a theme, displacing it by one beat (such as inserting a 5/4 bar) that helps break the monotony.  I may also, unexpectedly navigate through the "circle of fifths" with a few odd detours along the way. 

    Anyway, having seen many of my friends influenced by formal university composition programs, in such a way as to essentially give up their musical voice in favour of appeasing their professors/colleagues, I knew I'd never study composition formally.  Too many of my "new music" friends have pursued that path, simply because there's less burden of being compared to the great masters; trust me, performers may not admit it either, but they much prefer to execute an over the top atonal piece than a Bach French Suite, for example, because the Bach exposes every technical issue that can be "hidden" within the kaleidoscopic "soundscape" of much of the new music written today.  This is similarily true for composers:  why try to write music that sounds like a knock off of Mozart, when it will never BE Mozart?  That's not what I'm doing.  Instead, I'm honouring my love of that music, and adding my own little twist, no different than taking a time honoured recipe and changing it up a little to reflect your own taste.

    Alright, I've rambled wayyyy too much!  If you got this far, shame on you!  Get back to work :)

    Dave - classical accordion and clarinet duo - composition for orchestra, chamber ensembles, film/TV

  • Nice, Dave!

    I listened to this three movement picee shortly after you shared it... and was going to ask if you could share your composition process. So glad you provided the insight, above!

    I particulatrly like the 2nd moevembt--harmonized lines, chord changes, counterline fun. And tho occasionally "dissonant" rub! Also, when it goes in and out of "playful" mode. And, of course, the tritone riffage in movt. 3!

    Congrats! And very cool you're enaged in projevts with your wife!! My wife and I have collaborated on stuff as well--good times!! A couple pieces (ukulele and voice), and some bossa nova madness, lol.


  • I should also add that the section kicking off at 16:20 is a personal fave moment :-)

    And pardon thge typos above!

  • Gosh, Dale, you made my Thanksgiving, even though I'm Canadian and yesterday was just another boring Thursday :). Thank you so much for your detailed listening and observations! Ukelele and voice, clarinet and accordion...we're some eclectic musicians aren't we? Cheers! Dave

  • Haha! Many apologies! For some reason, I thought you were in the US! (I'm originally fro Seattle, and drove up to Vancouver many times, when I was a young'un--good times! One of these days, I'll hopefully visiit other parts of your great country!)

    Have a great weekend, Dave! And yes, total blast, being able to get music rolling "in the family"! Keep cranking!!!!


  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on