The Tinkerer

Uploaded on Jan 17, 2014

It's here! Check the video score for a live performance by Sage City Symphony!

I was asked by the Sage City Symphony to write a piece for their yearly Youth Concert. The concert happened on March 16th, 2014. This was my very first orchestral composition.


Classical fun orchestra student pizzicato fairy tale Neoclassical Gnomes Tinkering

Pages 18
Duration 4:39
Measures 102
Key signature natural
Parts 23
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License None (All rights reserved)
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This is quite possibly my favorite score on all of Musescore! Fantastic work.

Not that I don't appreciate composers who write atonal music, but it's encouraging to see a college composition major whose focus is primarily on writing tonal music (if that's correct). I feel that's a little bit rare these days, at least from most university composers I've heard.

If I might ask, how did you get the orchestra to play your song? Did you win a contest, know the conductor, is it a school band? I am curious because that is every composer's dream, to get their work played by a real orchestra. Just curious!

In reply to by jbraney97

I'm a composition student at Bennington College. Every other year, Sage City Symphony, a local community orchestra, asks a few Bennington composition students (this year it was four) to write 4-5 minute pieces for their "Youth Concert." I wrote the piece specifically for this ensemble, over six weeks (between January 3rd and February 14). The bulk of the writing was done in about 9 days, and I spent the rest of the time fine tuning things here and there.

Don't worry! If it really is your dream to get an orchestra to play your music, I have no doubt that you will.

Hey, i just realized that you have 2 oboe parts in your composition... not to rain on any parades or anything, but i play oboe in band, and there's 2 things i want to say about that...
1. The famous joke: "Hey, do you know how to tune 2 oboes?"
"Shoot one!" (I've heard that one many times)
2. The band director at my school was a professional movie composer before he decided to become a band director, and he told me that you NEVER put 2 oboes together in a recording studio, because no matter how you work it, it'll sound weird and offish.
just wanted to give the heads up. Not that i know much, but that's what i know from my experience.

In reply to by camerovskii

Hah, thanks for the warning.
In all seriousness, though, the two oboes are playing well together in rehearsal. A number of extremely famous compositions have required two oboes, including Beethoven's 5th symphony, Dvorak's New World Symphony, and Mozart's 40th symphony to name a few. In fact, doubled oboe has become standard for chamber orchestra writing.

There's a rehearsal today, and then the performance will be next Sunday. I'm excited!

Oh my gosh (HUGE wonderful exclamation marks)!!! What a complex score. This is beautiful, haunting, I picture puppets on strings doing their thing on a small stage. Or people/puppets on bigger strings acting like puppets. I don't know why...it seems kind of dark in some way. Not bad/dark, but dark.

I have a limited sphere and depth of musical knowledge (mainly vocal) and would like to ask you...why do you have several key signatures working at the same time in the same measures? It seems like with the use of accidentals, you could accomplish all you needed to accomplish by writing vertically in one key at a time.

Your work is magic, keep it up. I have to say, much of the music written here in MuseScore is very elementary, some not very imaginative, or at least many of the pieces are in their infancy in development. You on the other hand are creating magic...I like it. I'm a neophyte arranger, just started in August at the ripe old age of 64. I can only dream of writing at your level. Amazing! If you are a younger person in college, you obviously have much in your life's work to look forward to.


-Don in Ft. Lauderdale
beachtanned here in MuseScore

In reply to by beachtanned

Hey Don,
Certain instruments are naturally tuned to different keys. A Bb trumpet player's C is actually a Bb in what's called "concert pitch." Trumpet players have open notes, just like string players -- without pressing down any of the valves, they can hit all of the notes in Bb's harmonic series (though, the higher the note, the more difficult it becomes to play). But since trumpet players don't want to think of their open notes as having accidentals, trumpet players are taught to call concert Bb "C," and a concert F "G," etc. -- basically, their notes sound a whole step lower than what's written on their transposed scores.

Note that the Bb trumpets and the Bb clarinets each have one sharp at the start of the piece, indicating G major (or, in this case, C Lydian), which is concert F major (or, in this case, Bb Lydian). The "concert pitch" instruments all have a one-flat key signature, which, as you might have guessed, indicates F major or Bb Lydian. The french horns are tuned in F, meaning that what they play sounds like it's a fifth below what's written. They get a natural key signature, indicating C major. What note is a perfect fifth below C? F. Technically, these parts are all written in the same key -- at least, it'll sound like they are!

Thanks for making me take a look at this, though. The version which was up here earlier was not transposed correctly - the Bb clarinets were in the key of A major -- concert G major, not concert F major. Musescore had mistransposed all of the parts, and I had to go back and fix them all manually, and then resend them to the performers. It would have been awfully embarrassing to show up to the first rehearsal this Sunday with incorrect parts! That's a bug which needs to be addressed.

The title is perfect.I see a workshop and someone working at the details.Piece sounds perfect after 2 hearings.I think it should become a suite -with several numbers.Each highlighting your skill with the different sections of the orchestra.The wind writing is perfectly suited to the image.Your key changes have a sly ,fantasy world humor to them.I hope you still have time to write music when you graduate.I looked carefully at your viola and cello parts perfect for this piece.The brass give your sound more versatility in sections.This is probably as right in character and writing as it can get.I'd like to see some lush string writing from you.You have great imagination.I can't wait to see what else you can do! I'd like to see some really original fast and thick string writing in another piece-something maniacal less ordered and seemly.This feels very contained and orderly as a tinker's studio should be.A quick brass glissando would add some hilarity ,somewhere here but it might be too much .Other people 's music always makes me itch to make something similar.This is wonderful -I really cant imagine anything you might add.

In reply to by 21st century music

Thanks for the feedback! I've actually already begun to sketch out a new orchestral composition -- but right now, I'm mainly focused on getting things ready the upcoming performance of The Tinkerer in March (I'm extremely excited!)

If you're itching to create something similar, and do, I'd love to hear it!

I like this one. The title fits the song SOOOOOO well. It feels like it has a mix of fantasy and steampunk kind of themes. I like this very much, keep up the work.

I always write for full orchestra, and I can tell you this is a pretty decent piece. Writing for orchestra is refreshing and if you do it right, it could sound magnificent. Good job, the only critism I have is adding more shaping in dynamics !

In reply to by evilpie3

Ah yes, the dreaded dynamics. Being able to hear what I've written is very important for me, and since the musescore playback doesn't change at all when I add crescendos and slurs, it's very difficult for me to choose where and why to place such markings. I do add dynamics to all of my pieces, but I usually do that last, when the piece is fully formed enough for me to play with it.

You're doing a great job. Your music belongs on the screen, I can definitly see your talent being used in the industry. Continue molding this piece and when you get fustrated take a moment to gather your thoughts. Again, You're doing a great job and you have a well rounded talent in the neoclassical/romantic arts.