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  1. I am a pianist so I know how to make a piano piece sound good. And writing a piano concerto has always been one of my dreams as a composer. Now I know the typical first movement form of a concerto. It is basically a modified sonata form with 2 expositions instead of just 1. One for the orchestra without the soloist and one where the concentration is on the soloist. Other than that, it is like a typical symphonic movement. Now I have been given quite a bit of advice on writing symphonies. One of the pieces of advice that I was given was to write a concerto first because the orchestra in a concerto is smaller. Another was to basically figure out a motif and then go all Beethoven's 5th on it, basing the entire symphony on that 1 motif, like Beethoven did with his 5th symphony. But I was wondering, since I am a pianist and more familiar with composing for piano, should I write the piano exposition first and then the orchestral exposition for my first piano concerto? Or should I stick to the standard orchestra first, then soloist?
  2. I'm not familiar with wind band but to me, it sounds like a symphony without the strings. Even though it is a wind band, it feels like an orchestra. And I wouldn't worry about the movements being short. I myself often have the opposite problem with my sonata movements. I often don't know where to stop. But usually, I can tell myself "after x bars, I will stop and move on to the next movement." In C minor this feeling of not knowing where to stop intensifies to the point that I feel that I could easily have a 20 minute long movement. That and my compositions tend towards the long side anyway. I haven't composed a symphony yet but I imagine I would get that same "I don't know where to stop this movement" feeling at the same intensity that I do with a C minor sonata, regardless of key.
  3. You're talking about why I have no English Horn with the oboes like how I have piccolo with the flutes, bass clarinet with the clarinets, and contrabassoon with the bassoons? Well, it is mainly a spacing thing. I have it set for A3 size paper in Musescore and I know that you can only have the staves so close before notes start overlapping. I honestly don't know if adding an English Horn staff will get it to that minimum spacing or not. If not, then I can add it without any problems. If it does though, then it is better for me to leave it out so that the conductor has an easier time looking at the score. Also I'm not sure what notes I would put in the English Horn if I do add it, given that I already have most of the notes of the sonata. Only ones I left out were the higher notes of the octave tremolo in the original piano score. Also, I have heard of there being pedals on tympani drums to raise the pitch without retuning the drum. I don't know how far up the tympani pedal can raise the pitch though.
  4. Even though it is written in A minor, it starts in D minor when you have the violin by itself in the beginning of the piece. Beginning in the minor subdominant is not what I would expect, though I do like the plagal motion that it provides when it goes from violin solo to violin + piano. By then it has settled in A minor. And for a piece about death, it isn't as sad as I would expect it to be. Though that probably has to do with it being in A minor which isn't as sad of a key as say F minor.
  5. So this is my first orchestral arrangement. I figured I should do an orchestral arrangement before I go on to write my symphony in Bb(which I have been doing a lot of planning on). My symphony in Bb, I also have a nickname for. That nickname is, The War Symphony. As you may or may not be able to guess, it is influenced by Beethoven, more specifically his Eroica Symphony. Anyway, I also figured that since I am a pianist and Beethoven is my favorite composer, it would only make sense that I arrange a Beethoven piece for orchestra. Hardest part was deciding on what Beethoven piece to arrange. But I eventually settled on my favorite Beethoven sonata, his Pathetique Sonata. It sounded orchestral in its nature, even as a piano solo, so I figured that this sonata would be well suited to an orchestral arrangement. Since there were up to 4 voices in the bass and in the treble, I thought to myself: Now, I have been told that I need to clarify how many instruments I have, specifically how many horns. That is indeterminate at this point. And what if I wrote for 6 horns but the orchestra only has 4 horns? Who would take up the 5th and 6th horn parts? 2nd and 3rd Clarinets? Would they just not be played at all? So far, I have been using the tympani to provide an accent where I feel one in the original piano score. The first theme of the Allegro was much like the Grave in terms of which instruments play the bass line and which ones play the melody. However, because of all the woodwind solos in the Grave, I decided to give the woodwind players a break in the first phrase and bring them back in the second phrase which is basically a repeat of the first phrase. In the second theme, because the bass register became part of the melody and the bass line went into the treble clef, and the horns weren't used much, I decided to have the horns take up the bass line and the cellos and bassoons play a more melodic role. I also had alternations between the different woodwinds. This also provided some much needed contrast on top of the major/minor contrast that was already there. Then, like in the crescendo towards the end of the Grave, in the closing material of the exposition, I built up to a full orchestral texture. The second Grave section is more woodwind dominant in the sound compared to the first Grave section which is more string dominant. I don't know why though. I mean I have fewer woodwinds(bassoonists get a well deserved break after playing the lowest possible note and the bass clarinet takes over the bass role) so shouldn't the second Grave be more string dominant than the first Grave, especially given that all the instruments are at the same dynamics? Everything went fine in my orchestral arrangement. That is, until I reached the development section. Now I realize, Musescore doesn't provide a good balance(like the brass stand out a bit too much in the fortissimo) but that is not the problem. No, I have reached a writer's block with this orchestral arrangement. It would be nice to get some feedback on what I have done so far. So here is my orchestral arrangement of the Pathetique Sonata(the sound ends at about 6:18 in the MP3 file because it is incomplete):
  6. caters

    Canon in Bb

    This is one of my first compositions. It is a canon in Bb for a woodwind quartet. It is also at the unison. Here is the video of it: Like Pachelbel's Canon in D, it has a ground bass instead of the melody being repeated in the bass. And the only reason the clarinet part has a key signature of Bb is because I had it on the concert pitch setting. So the pitch shown in the clarinet part is the sounding pitch, not the pitch that the clarinettist would finger for. And here is the pdf file so that you can see which instrument is on which staff. What do you think of it?
  7. Is this an etude for those wanting to practice their Alberti bass? Because it feels as though the melody is framed by the Alberti bass. This feels like what Mozart would have written if he wrote etudes.
  8. This is an arrangement that I have been thinking about doing since winter of last year. No, not because the Nutcracker Suite is common as Christmas music, but rather because the Nutcracker Suite is my favorite of Tchaikovsky's 3 famous suites. Instead of starting with the March as most piano arrangements do, I decided to start with the Overture. I couldn't find many piano arrangements that included this so I decided to go from the orchestral score and arrange it myself. But I ran into a difficulty after a while. No it isn't the clarinet part and me having to transpose it. No, it is the entrance of the entire orchestra. So, I decided to highlight different parts of the orchestra. 2 distinct voices are highlighted the same color because I ran out of colors to highlight with(but you can tell the difference because one of them is almost all 16th note staccatos). So here are my score arrangement, both mp3 and pdf, and the pdf of the Overture with the highlighted areas. Pages 4 and 5 are where I have highlighted distinct voices in the orchestral texture. The ones highlighted in blue and green I think would be obsolete in a piano duet arrangement, especially the one highlighted in green since it is just the same note being repeated over and over. What do you think of my arrangement of the Overture so far? I know it is all treble clef but that has to do with the fact that there are no cellos in the overture and it goes pretty high up, high enough to consider me having it in treble clef instead of bass clef. I know I could just lower the notes that originate from the viola parts down an octave and it would fit perfectly into the bass clef but I'm just not sure that I should do that.
  9. I love it. It isn't all that often that I hear the bassoon outside of an orchestra, much less in a duet. And while yes, there are some great bassoon concertos and some great bassoon solos in symphonic works, I love how the bassoon really stands out when the piano is the only other instrument. And the sound of the bassoon is so beautiful. It almost sounds like a clarinet when it is in its high register. But that bass register is so warm sounding. If there were such a thing as a woodwind orchestra like how there is such a thing as a string orchestra, the bassoon would be analogous to the cello, which is another instrument that really sounds warm in the bass register outside of the lower 5 notes or so where the bass part of the sound becomes prominent.
  10. It sounds very Japanese indeed. But I can see the similarities to composers like Liszt and Chopin. Namely the long trills, fast groups of notes that are essentially mini cadenzas, and overall improvised feel. It's beautiful.
  11. I don't know what soliloquy means but it is a nice little tune. I like how it starts as primarily octaves in the first 3 measures and then it goes to an obvious melody and accompaniment in measures 4-8. I also like the ending chords. But just so you know, you don't have to put the same dynamics in both staves. A celesta player, like any other keyboardist will understand the dynamic in the middle of the grand staff as applying to both hands. So the only time you need to state 2 separate dynamics in the same measure is if you want compound dynamics, i.e. different dynamics for the left and right hands.
  12. So, I should probably spread the Alberti bass out into the bass note played by the cello in its original register(so middle C instead of C an octave lower) and the sixteenth note alternations played by the viola in the first 4 bars. That just leaves the second violin, which I guess I could have in parallel 6ths or parallel 4ths with the first violin since parallel thirds would make it sound polytonal, specifically with C major against A minor, and while Mozart did famously end one of his divertimenti with polytonality, he never used polytonality in his piano sonatas or really most of his works. Parallel 4ths I think would more easily lead to the parallel thirds in the scalar transition. And I should more closely analyze the harmony instead of just thinking "What notes are consonant with it", that I know from a person who gave me feedback about the staccato chords and how I had a lot of them in second inversion and that made them not fit with the harmony because there was no cadence there where you would typically find a second inversion chord.
  13. You know how I have been composing for a long time without finishing a sonata? Well, that has changed. This sonata that I finished is fourth in order of composition but it is the only one I have finished so far. So that is why I have Piano Sonata no. 4 in the title. I first posted this sonata on Musescore.com as soon as it was midnight and on Mozart's birthday, I got a huge spike in views and followers because of that 1 piece. They all said that it was great and that my style and Mozart's themes blend in really well in this sonata. You won't find it on my Musescore account anymore because I had to delete it(I can't afford the pro membership so to make up for that, I delete pieces that are either really good and have been uploaded to YouTube or that haven't gotten many views or that are incomplete). Before the deletion of my sonata from my Musescore account, I uploaded it to YouTube. So it is one of my videos now. Now for the context under which I composed this sonata. Context It was a few days after Christmas and I noticed that Mozart's birthday was fast approaching. I figured that this would be as good of a time as any to compose a sonata. So I did and I dedicated the sonata to Mozart, the composer that inspired me to start composing at a young age. I called this, the Compose a Sonata within a Month challenge(pretty self explanatory there). Also, because I was borrowing from Mozart's style, I went with the flow, just like Mozart did when he composed. Movement by Movement detail The first theme and the transition of the first movement, both sound like they could be part of a Mozart sonata. In fact, the transition has similarities to the transition in the K545 sonata. To add some contrast and also to reinforce the birthday context of the sonata, I based my second theme off of Beethoven's Ode to Joy theme. I modified it slightly, especially the left hand to give it that Mozartian touch to it. The development section is where I go a bit wild with it. I present the Ode to Joy theme followed by its inversion(both melodically and in terms of the hands switching roles). I then have short motifs from other parts of the movement such as the closing theme. And I use a long modulation chain to go from D minor(closely related to the F major of the closing theme) to Bb major. Here it is: D minor -> D major -> G major -> C major -> F major -> Bb major In the C major section, I do some 2 part counterpoint. The F major section, I leave unharmonized until the final 2 chords of the development section. The recapitulation is basically the exposition ad verbatim, except it is all in Bb. Because of this, there is a change of register when the Ode to Joy theme comes back in Bb. In the second movement, I focused more on melody. It ended up being in a compound ternary form where I have this structure: AA'BB'CC'AA' The AA', etc. are representing that those sections are repeated but slightly different. The B and C sections both make up the second section of the ternary form and thus the middle section is in binary form. But I focused more on melody than form with this second movement. The third movement, I decided to have it be in sonata-rondo form to give a more dramatic ending. There is like 1 measure of C minor in the B section. This hints at my more serious use of minor keys in the development section of the rondo. You'll notice that I do use a famous Mozart motif in my rondo. That is the one from the first movement of Symphony no. 40 except I only preserve the note values. The rhythm in my sonata is quarter, eighth, eighth. In Symphony no. 40, it is eighth, eighth, quarter. In other words the rhythm in my sonata is retrograde(or you could also think of it as being the same but starting on weak beats instead of strong beats). Feedback wanted Here is my sonata, it is a 15 minute long composition. What do you think of it? I had to make some invisible measures in Musescore to avoid a delay at the repeats.
  14. I have looked up what a toccata is and I get 2 main definitions. Those being: 1) Italian word for to the touch 2) A piece to demonstrate a player's level of advanced technique, usually for a keyboard instrument like the organ or the piano, but occasionally for other instruments I then looked up how to write a toccata and I got this structure for a toccata in the North German style(so basically, Bach's style): Free - Strict - Free - Strict - Free - Strict - Free Where the free sections are contrapuntal but not fugal and involve more suspensions, modulations, runs, and passages, whereas the strict sections are basically miniature fugues, often with not only an exposition, but also a counter-exposition. I also on that same site was told that the different fugal sections should be in different meters(so like the first fugue may be in 4/4 whereas the second fugue may be in 3/2). Here is the link to where I found the Bach style Toccata structure: https://www.organduo.lt/home/how-to-compose-or-improvise-a-toccata-or-praeludium-in-the-north-german-organ-style-in-7-steps I have been studying counterpoint among other musical topics, especially counterpoint specifically related to fugues. But I was thinking, maybe I'm being a bit too ambitious, trying to compose a 4 voice fugue. Since I don't compose for vocals, a mass is out of the question. Then I was thinking "What is easier than a fugue but still contrapuntal that isn't almost trivially easy like how a minuet is very easy?" and the first thing that came to mind was a toccata. After all, it usually precedes a fugue like here: And since it has a sense of improvisation, it should be easier than a full length fugue where I not only have to write contrapuntally but also follow some strict rules, despite the fact that it does include fugal sections. So, is there any advice you can give me as to how to write this toccata? Should I write the fugal sections first since fugues are my main weakness(I find it almost impossible to avoid parallel octaves because as a pianist I keep thinking "I should keep the tenor and bass at most a 9th apart and same for the alto and soprano. Distance between alto and tenor doesn't matter though." and once I reach an octave interval I'm like "Okay, I don't want to leap from this octave if I don't have to. But I don't feel that I am ready for a 7th interval to be included here, especially since that will resolve back to an octave." and I inadvertently get parallel octaves.
  15. I myself have felt this way, particularly with orchestral works. Of course, orchestral works also get me into a massive Composer's Block but I plan on fixing that by starting with a piano score of my symphony(whenever I get past the planning stage of the symphony that is) and then going from the piano score to the symphony orchestra instead of just trying to directly write a piece for an orchestra like I did in the past. So my experience as a pianist might actually prove to be beneficial in writing my first symphony instead of a hinderance. It will certainly help when I write my first piano concerto.
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