Opus 2

I’m in the middle of a dilemma: I can’t decide whether I should make ‘Into Winter’ longer or not.

At the moment, it’s about 3 minutes long, and it has a clearly-defined introduction, middle, and climax. As always with epic music, though, the middle and climax feel too short—this genre of music is all about giving the listener an energy rush which makes him go hunting for the replay button. It’s why there are one-hour versions of epic-music tracks on YouTube; everyone wants more of the middle and the climax. Epic-music introductions are only functional.

I know that if I was a stranger listening to ‘Into Winter’, I’d listen to it from start to finish the first time and repeat just the middle and climax the second time round. I’m an impatient listener, and I don’t see the point in abstaining from replaying or moving on once the fun part is over. But something—probably the meager composer’s instinct I’ve developed over the past half-year—tells me that ‘Into Winter’ is best left as it is. The three-part structure is in place, and it works; dragging out the piece even further would be in bad taste.

But how much taste do you really need when you’re trying to make musical adrenaline? It seems silly to worry about over-repetition and poor composing when I’m making epic music, yet I know that my favourite epic pieces are the ones that have at least a modicum of structure. I don’t like the under-revised pieces, like the ones by E.S. Posthumus.

Of course, I could just leave my second composition as it is, and if any epic-music fan liked it enough to replay it, they’d make a one-hour version of it and put it on YouTube. That would make the question of adding another minute to ‘Into Winter’ moot, since the one-hour version would be all that people want to listen to, anyway.

In any case, the most important task at hand is to make the arrangement spectacular. Nobody will care if it’s three or four minutes long if it isn’t actually good.

2 thoughts on “Opus 2

  1. Deciding how long (or short) to make a piece is something I’ve asked myself before as well. At one point I realized that a bunch of songs on an album I was working on all had a length that was close to 4 minutes. Part of me thought, “That’s no good, I’m just repeating myself.” However, I also came to the conclusion that length was just one of the parts of the song and, in the case of my experience above, there was more to each song besides the length to set them apart (form, instrumentation, style, expression, and rhythm for example).

    When considering length while writing songs I find myself asking, “Is it satisfying at this length, does it feel right?” So, if I had any suggestion it would be asking yourself that – does “Into Winter” feel like it’s the right length and does it satisfy the intended purpose at that length? If the answer is yes then you can set length aside and dig into the other aspects of the music to better achieve the intended purpose. If the answer is no, then comes the process of asking yourself what to add or subtract to make it feel right. Adding and/or subtracting doesn’t have to be big – it can be as simple as adding a measure or two to hold off the climax just a little longer (and thus more satisfying when it arrives) or cutting a measure of the intro to start that middle development a couple seconds sooner. Of course, this is just me making suggestions. Ultimately it’s up to you to decided what feels right and what best achieves your intended purpose. Best of luck!

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    • It’s so funny—I was just listening to some of your music on SoundCloud. Thank you for dropping by.

      I’d love to make ‘Into Winter’ longer, but I can’t think of a way to do it so that it sounds right. If I’m going to increase the length of my second piece, I’ll need to come up with some strong transitions and variations, but my mind won’t co-operate.

      At the moment, when I listen to ‘Into Winter’, it feels like it’s all over just a bit too soon. The track isn’t tragically short, but I think a more experienced composer could make it longer and still keep it sounding good.

      Thank you for your advice—it’s excellent, as usual. I wish you the best of luck, too.

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