Young Composers:Major Works Guidelines

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Preamble / Statement of Purpose

To encourage the creation and submission of ambitious and original large-scale projects.

Our definition of originality

Originiality in music is defined as a self developed style, and/or superb demonstration of creativity. Therefore, since creativity can be applied to any style, please note that we do accept all imitation styles (eg. Baroque, Classical). It is essential that in all cases, the composer demonstrate good to superb usage of traditional or non-traditional harmony, and/or shows creativity in theme development.

Criteria for inclusion

  1. If a work is posted in a strict form, and the composer composes another work in that same exact form, we ask that the next work submitted to Major Works demonstrate different ideas within that same style of composition. This is where originiality comes into play. Examples include a work with a distinct theme, theme variations instead of repeats, etc.
  2. Minimal usage of repeats. Repeats do not include variations. If repeats are used, they should be used with tact.
  3. Work must be original (see above for our definition of Originiality)
  4. A post in Major Works should be either a piece of sufficient scale to form a significant part of a concert, or a set of smaller pieces that can be published and/or performed as a unit.
  5. Music must be presented in a format that allows for substantial development, and requires consideration of the overall structure of the work.
  6. Music should show evidence of having been constructed thoughtfully and with attention to both overall structure and detail. Standard forms need not be followed, but qualities such as balance, contrast, and other aspects that are not necessarily part of standard conventions of "form" must still be clearly apparent. The composer is encouraged to discuss these points in his/her description of the work.

Incomplete pieces will be accepted only with the following conditions

  • At least one movement has been completed and is posted in its entirety.
  • The composer makes a good-faith commitment to complete and post the entire work. Multiple submissions consisting of separate movements of the same work may be merged into one thread at the moderators’ discretion.
  • The eventual intended scale of the work is substantial.
  • Although it is not a requirement, we encourage composers posting unfinished pieces to also post sketches for unfinished movements, in addition to those movements that are completed.

There is no minimum length, but please be aware that works whose intended total length is under 10 minutes are unlikely to be considered ambitious unless they are outstanding in musical scope and development.

In the particular case of incidental, film, and video game music, single cues are highly unlikely to be accepted, as by definition they must convey a specific mood for a relatively short period of time. However, a concert suite or a complete soundtrack may be considered to be a major work, as development can occur over the course of the entire work.

From time to time, substantial and outstanding pieces from other forums may be nominated by reviewers to move to Major Works. A piece does not have to be originally posted to Major Works to get there.

Please provide a score

It is strongly preferred that you post a score of some kind, unless there is a very good reason not to (e.g. publisher constraints). Some of us prefer to have the music in front of us when listening to a piece because it helps us give you a detailed, constructive review.

That being said, please avoid posting a score file only. Include a MIDI and/or a recording as well.

If you do upload notation software files (e.g. Sibelius scores, Finale scores), please try to save them in such a way that they are not only readable with the very latest version of the software, if possible. Not everyone will be completely up-to-date with their software versions. For example, Sibelius 4 gives you the option to save in Sibelius 3 compatible format.

PDF is probably the best score format to use, as it is readable by almost everyone. You can create PDFs of your scores by using an application such as PrimoPDF.

The following formats are considered acceptable for provision of a score:

  • Sibelius score file (*.sib; viewable in Sibelius or with the Scorch browser plugin)
  • Finale score file (*.mus; viewable in Finale or with Finale Notepad)
  • NoteWorthy Composer score file (*.nwc; viewable in NoteWorthy Composer or NoteWorthy Composer Viewer
  • Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (*.pdf; we recommend you use an application such as PrimoPDF to achieve this)
  • Browser-readable image (*.jpg, *.gif, etc.; not preferred, but acceptable)

Other file formats may be accepted. If you wish to post a score in a different format that you believe is equally viable to those listed above, please PM a reviewer or moderator to inquire about it; we may add your format to the list.

Tell us about your music

Please write something about your music to help the reviewers understand it better. Is there anything in particular from which you drew inspiration? Any techniques that you used that you would like us to keep in mind? Any parts that you would like to draw attention to, either because you think they are especially well done or because you would like opinions on revising? Thoughts on your piece’s form or structure?

This is a quality-controlled forum

All new threads in Major Works will be invisible until approved by a moderator or reviewer, to ensure quality control. Threads started by a moderator or reviewer must be approved by a second reviewer. If your work is not accepted, it will be moved to the appropriate forum, and you will be informed by private message, with a brief summary of the reasons. If this occurs, it is not necessarily a judgment of the quality of your music, but may indicate that you should attempt a larger and more ambitious project.

When reviewing, please show the composers due respect for the amount of work they put into their pieces. Most of the pieces in Major Works have been composed over weeks or months. Keep comments on-topic and constructive.

All posts in a thread that do not in some way pertain to the piece being discussed may be subject to deletion in order to keep the focus on the music. If tangential side conversations come up, we recommend bringing them to a different forum on YC, or discussing them privately.

After your piece is posted, if you believe that your piece has been unduly ignored, we ask that you please refrain from “bumping” your thread. We recommend that you instead PM a moderator or reviewer. Please be reasonable, and give us a few days before you do so – all of us are reviewing on a volunteer basis, so we may not be able to get to every new piece immediately.