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  1. Today
  2. Hi, Thanks for your comment! It's not counterpoint, it's just four-part writing. Counterpoint has more serious rules. Parallel 6th is not considered as a voicing error in four-part writing. My goal was to avoid parallel 5th and parallel 8th in this case. I think counterpoint is not exactly the same as four-part writing. As far as I know, four-part writing includes the following rules: avoid parallel 5th and octave yes, do not use tritone, or try to avoid, it's true in root position double the root in the first inversion double either the root or the fifth in the second inversion double the fifth (which is the bass) avoid large leaps between the notes if a step is bigger than 4th, the next step should be in the opposite direction But maybe I'm wrong... So four-part counterpoint has far stronger rules than four-part harmonization.
  3. Hello, I find amazing the level of symbolism showed in this piece, its concept is really scriabinesque. Not only it is thoughtful and precisely calculated, but it sounds quite nice. I think the decision to represent the flowing motif with perfect fifths is another extremely appropriate decision, given the external inspiration. It fits the primitive nature of the work I am curious about how you write your harmonies. Apart from quartal/quintal harmony there have to be other techniques. Thanks for sharing your music and congratulations for getting into the collaborative project
  4. Thank you so much for your nice words, @Jqh73o! I am really glad you liked the main theme! I also considered composing a theme and variation piece from it. However, I had to give the idea up since my compositional skills were not enough and I was having troubles coming up with nice variations (also, many times variations get more virtuosic as the piece evolves, and I am trying to write only things that I can play). That is why I turned it into a ternary piece. I would be okay with that, since it would be helpful for me to learn how different composers that know more than me would deal with the theme. I am not sure that this theme is as good as to deserve such a treatment, though. But I appreciate you suggesting it and considering the theme to be so good for variations! Thank you! I always had troubles composing in Romantic style so I am slowly trying to analyze romantic pieces and I am glad it is slowly working! I still have troubles, particularly for using diminished harmonies without breaking the flow of the music. I tried adding more expressive augmented and diminished harmonies but I failed making them sound good, so I had to use simpler harmonies more often that I would have liked. Thank you so much for listening to the piece and commenting!!
  5. Hello @NicholasG! For a piece that stays in the same key throughout its entire duration it's not bad! There are lots of really cool features to this piece - I love the Marimba and Vibraphone ostinato you establish at measure 18, and the Timpani part at measure 56. I think the weakest parts of the piece are when all the instruments are playing all at once. The piece is over-orchestrated and bombastic without any substance to its various parts especially in those tutti sections. You could create countermelodies and pass the ostinato you established earlier around to the other instruments in the band. Another weakness is that the cool Timpani part at measure 56 for example doesn't arise organically from any of the previous melodic material, and its rhythms aren't brought back in any other instrument. So there's poor economy and unity in the piece meaning that you just kind of came up with lots of cool ideas and stuck them together even though they don't really belong together and aren't related. Although two unrelated ideas can be made to unify through bringing out their similar features and fashioning transitions between them or literally combining them in a new melody construction. Harmonically there's also no sense of adventure because you stay in the same key throughout the whole piece. It's hard to make a piece of music seem like it's taking you somewhere without literally modulating to a new key center (although of course it's still possible by creating contrast through all the other elements of the music besides harmony - like the way you've done here through melodies, ostinati, dynamics, interesting figurations and instrumental imitation). For me also, the place where you end the piece, on a kind of half cadence, sounds like it's not finished. The piece was only just getting started! A more drawn-out development seems forthcoming, or you could have given the piece a more conclusive ending either through a more final sounding harmony or a more bombastic and jubilant finale. Those are my thoughts on this piece. Overall - still an enjoyable piece of music! Thanks for sharing.
  6. Hello Rich! Thank you for taking the time to listen. I think a countermelody would be a great idea. I have the cellos on the bottom part (there are no basses) so I would probably add a viola line. It would give the piece more of a dramatic arc, maybe. Thanks again for your kind and helpful comment! ~ Gwen
  7. Hello Elias! Congratulations on making it into the Estampas de España selections! I like the pensive mood you created in this piece. It feels both modern and timeless somehow, like it could fit in a variety of settings, but the open voicings definitely evoke for me the way the paintings show the essential elements without excessive detail. I also hear the twisting of the animal figures in the changing harmony. I hope you keep up the good work. It's a pleasure to hear this musical vignette in full. 🙂 ~ Gwen
  8. Yesterday
  9. Hi @olivercomposer! Is this an exercise from a specific book/chapter? I am just reading through Kent Kennan's Counterpoint book myself and some things stick out to me. First off, the top two voices in the right hand stay in parallel 6ths throughout the first 3 and a half measures. Even though the interval of a 6th isn't a dissonant interval, repeating any interval like this too much still interferes with the independence of voices. In measure 4 beat 3 your alto voice skips to the leading tone from an F which is a tritone, and the leading tone is not resolved up to C, the way it would be expected. Your motion from a V to a IV in this instance is also weak, being a retrogression and for this reason is avoided because it is difficult to write without parallel 5ths or octaves. Also, at the end you have a leading tone that skips down to the 5th of the tonic chord. Even though your soprano voice moves to the root at that point, in this kind of part writing it is important to make sure that each voice, on it's own, independently of the others follows proper voice-leading rules, and the leading tone is a strong tendency tone that wants to resolve up to the tonic root note in this style of music. This is just from a short glance at this exercise, so I might have missed something myself. Thanks for sharing!
  10. I don’t know if this answers your question, but I have read somewhere (I forgot where) that in some points of some movements of Rachmaninoff’s All night vigil op 37 there was even 7 (maybe it was six but I don’t remember) part writing. You could try to investigate that.
  11. I like this, I find it to be scriabinesque but with a slight jazzy color. I think after this there could be a lyrical theme. What are your thoughts on this sketch now that some time has passed since you posted it?
  12. Based on the attached painting. This piece represents the stone through two different textural motifs. The first is the block chords, sparse yet rigid. Their fleeting nature resembles how the paintings appear on the rocky canvas, how they almost develop from the stone itself. As you glance over the wall, the art appears, and just as quickly disappears back into the rock. The second motif, the meandering fifths, represent the fluidity of the rock, the way the wind has shaped it into resembling something liquid, giving this solid structure movement. The two textures intertwine and interrupt each other, until they collapse into a wash of tumultuous arpeggios. Out of this tempest the final section emerges- while the texture resembles the first stony motif, the chords are stacked fifths, which calls to the second, fluid motif. Rather than interrupting and contrasting each other, they have learned to cooperate, and they slowly dissipate, together, into meditative silence. The two motifs are referenced through the impossible title: "Flowing Stone".
  13. Hello @JorgeDavid, I find this piece really sorrowful and melancholic and I wouldn’t have been able to tell that you are not used to write slow pieces in minor if you hadn’t mentioned it. I find main theme specially beautiful in its simplicity, with a thin texture, driving harmony and a powerful message of desperation. I find it a perfect theme (and I emphasise the word perfect) theme to write a theme and variations piece. It has lots of opportunities to be transformed in so many different ways. I can think of: a quasi baroque flowing melody in a single line (something like this) form which could emerge other different lines, a climactic chordal bell-like passage, a complete nocrturne-like transformation to major, an even darker somber version in the deep register with minor chromatic mediants, a driving syncopated dramatic march, a triumphant transformation. And possibly, with such a versatile theme you can do practically everything. Maybe if you agree for your music to be taken to create a variations piece and @chopin wants, a competition similar to the Brahms lullaby one could be done by youngcomposers I also like the harmonic language that you employed here, chromatic, but still clearly tonal, typical from the romantic period. You could try experimenting with augmented and half diminished chords to create even more expression (sorry if you have done this and I haven’t seen it)
  14. Thanks for the feedback! In fact, I have similar thoughts as well. I like the second prelude more, and after I posted them and relistened I felt the end in both was abrupt and needed more preparation. Perhaps the final measure should have had the final chord in the third beat. I appreciate your listening and detailed analysis!
  15. Hello @Moueen Issa, I really like these two preludes, I think they are good pieces with a certain level of development that make them sound complete, but they are not long enough to be stand alone pieces. Therefore, being really effective as preludes. I like how the main motives in both pieces are simple and easily recognisable, so the listener can apreciarte the development throughout and pay attention to the counterpoint when this motives are occurring in different voices My favourite is the second one, since it has more of a driving rhythm and nice chromaticism (also, the melody is more catchy). Though the end is slightly abrupt. Maybe the ending chord could be repeated in the third beat? Thanks for sharing your music
  16. @AngelCityOutlawThanks for replying. What's funny is that I've already seen this video a while ago, but it was more of just watching random composition videos before I was seriously into composition, so I don't remember much. Thank you.
  17. Hello everyone, I want to share the second Bagatelle I composed. It is a slow tempo Bagatelle in E minor for the piano. Most of my pieces are in a moderate tempo and in major so I wanted to test myself once by composing a slow piece that stays for the whole time in minor. As my previous Bagatelle, I composed it and played it myself in a Yamaha P-515 digital piano with the Yamaha CFX piano sound. I might have composed some parts differently but, when things got too hard for me to play, I had to simplify them to my level. I did record it with the phone so it has a lot noise and the quality is not good. Also, I made a couple of mistakes here and there but this was the best I could play it. I plan to practice it and record it with better quality but it might take some time. The piece is in ternary form with the main theme (A) in Emin and a second theme (B) in Bmin. The B theme is restated in the home key (Eminor) before going back to the repetition of the A theme. Since the tempo is slow and the themes themselves quite long there are no repeats in any section. Any comment and feedback is more than welcome! Thank you for listening and hope you enjoy it!
  18. Hey Guys, I tried to follow the four-part writing rules, avoid parallel fifths and octaves, and double the proper notes with this brief music piece. I hope I didn't make mistakes. four_part_writing_example.mid four_part_writing_example.mid
  19. Hi, I've recently composed two short preludes for solo piano. I'd like to know your thoughts. Thank you in advance!
  20. Not at all. Most people don't understand that the purpose of avoiding parallels is almost entirely academic and is about teaching counterpoint. Anyway, When you have more than 4 parts, often the other parts are just doublings unless you are deliberately using extended harmonies. For example: Soli would have often more than 4 parts, and is entirely parallel. The other option, which I personally use a lot, is that your additional parts work with your basic SATB parts in a more "chord + melody" texture way. So for example, I'll have my melody in the brass harmonized in SATB, but I will have the strings and winds play runs or arpeggios on top which follow the "chords" that result from the brass harmonization. Something else I do a lot is that the other sections aside from my main SATB parts is that they will double the harmonies, but with a consistent rhythmic part or accents instead of being melodic. Another thing additional parts may do is provide resonant sustains in the background. So if I have wind choir that has a lot of staccato parts and rests, the violins may play sustain parts at a softer dynamic, but sustain tones in the wind harmonies. I'd recommend you watch this video for orchestral contexts. Frankly, it's one of the best on the internet. It contains demonstrations of everything I'm talking about.
  21. Last week
  22. There is no real reason that keys, in and of themselves, would have any different sense of emotion. It is all the same intervals, just shifted around the frequency spectrum. What does happen is that many instruments (like winds) have timbral and strength differences in different ranges, and because of that, a certain piece, which is attempting to achieve a specific mood, may benefit from being transposed to that key. For example, heavy metal songs written in D, E, or C minor are not using that low open string as the tonal center so frequently because there is anything inherently "heavier" about those keys, but because on a distorted electric guitar, that low strings is where you will get the chuggiest palm mutes and crunchiest power chords because of physics. Guys like Hans Zimmer have tried applying this approach to the orchestra with double bass C extensions and such, but a lot of musicians hate playing his stuff and those flabby low brass "bwaaams" — because the orchestra isn't a rock band, and what is good rock band arranging, is generally abysmal orchestral arranging.
  23. Thank you very much for your response. I haven’t thought about the programmatic similarities with ondine from gaspard de la nuit, but now that you pointed it out I realised how similar the concept is (though the music is much worse). The “huge florid arpegiation acrobatics” as you described are indeed supposed to describe the waves that approach the shore intensely (represented with triplets) and whose energy dies to be put back into the ocean (represented by the normal semiquavers). It’s nice to read that you enjoyed it, because when I finished I thought it was horrible and sounded soulless and had to revise it. Thank you for your kind words.
  24. Thanks-- In my area, studios are no problem-- there are a dozen or more.--- $60 -$80/hr with a grand piano and a sound engineer. Finding musicians that can sight read the parts AND show up is proving the issue. But I have time...
  25. Good luck with finding musicians and the recording studio!
  26. Peter --- Thank you for the listen and comments. Yeah, the little tag leading into the repeat is being reworked into an at-tempo transition to the a theme again---trying to get away from as many ritards/pauses as I can.. In fact, a major goal after finishing the 2nd movement was making the piece more fluid---which was achieved to some extent. A bad habit of mine. I look at the complexity thing as a feature! I listened to a lot of romantic period piano quartets before and while I am writing--- and am aiming at something as close as possible to the style. While I am trying to limit the difficulty, keeping it commensurate with the reward for the effort of playing, the actual interplay of voices/motifs is something I was actually aiming for. The 2nd movement was quite staid and straightforward--which is nice, but for the allegro I wanted some more sonic interest-- a real contrast. As for spontaneity---there is NONE! This is all very deliberate, from the thematic material demo I posted, to the working out of the form, sequence in the beginning, etc... This is my 6th piece, and the most ambitious so far. The lesson I have learned is planning is my friend. Of course, this is what I call a "block draft"--just the major elements put in place. I will be starting on revisions and the development/recap in a few weeks, at which time the hope is to smooth things to the point of APPEARING inevitable and spontaneous. Unfortunately, my student status doesn't give much room for spontaneity out of the starting gate. Interestingly, the pause/echo bit you responded positively to was a bit of what I call "discovery" that wasn't initially planned--and perhaps as such is effective to me, too. Along that same line of thought, I am working to make the repeats of thematic material more varied, and break from simple reiteration to a little motivic reiteration of fragments, "extemporaneous" digressions.... But I get your argument. I am hoping to write a string quartet following this 3 movement piece. I will have had more experience by then, and am very much more comfortable with that form as a listener. Hopefully I can create with a looser feel. If the quality holds up, at completion I am going to workshop the piece with real live musicians--and am very excited at what should be an excellent learning experience. I'm sure that will help inform my approach . I will say that the first 2/3rds of this exposition were written much faster and more assured than the 1st painful outing with the Andante. I am learning! But for my parental care issues, I would have been done! Life!! I've been living with this Piano Quartet for so long, I've gained the dubious "superpower" of being able to mentally rescore everything I hear into a piano quartet! Funny and a bit annoying! I'll be well and truly ready to move on!!! Thank you again. Your right in your assessment. I just have to pace myself.... Composing is HARD!--but the most rewarding thing for me...
  27. Hello! I am writing for my high school symphonic band and I am in dire need of feedback because I havent matured enough as a musician. Please do give all that you can!
  28. Hello @Jqh73o! I like the painting you chose! And the music brings to mind another piece based on a very similar idea - Gaspard de la Nuit by Ravel. I think you did a good job keeping the piece playable, and thematically simple despite the huge florid arpeggiation acrobatics which I guess are also here meant to portray water? I think the music is lovely and melancholic at the same time. The music also develops logically and sounds very Spanish which I think was your intent with having entered this in the Estampes de Espana contest? I think you did a great job! You got honorable mention (at least!) in my book. Thanks for sharing.
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