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    Intermediate Composer

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    Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin
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    Classical, Romantic
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  1. It is interesting, both melodically and harmonically. I get this feeling from it:
  2. My bagatelle in Eb, just as I thought, would be finished in the 16 day timeframe that I gave myself to write this piece. It is an homage to my favorite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven. You might notice that I use the motive basically throughout the piece. Beethoven does that a lot, so I figured that it would only fit if I did that too. And there are a lot of octaves. Again, Beethoven's pieces tend to have octaves all over the place. You might also notice a resemblance between the motive I use in my bagatelle and the Fate motive in Beethoven's Fifth. However, unlike in Beethoven's Fifth, I don't build chords out of overlaps of the motive. Instead I use the motive more for scalar motion and sequencing than building chords and tension. There are 3 contrapuntal sections, all of which are related. The second contrapuntal section is the inversion of the first contrapuntal section. The third contrapuntal section is where the original and inversion overlap. I wasn't aiming for baroque style counterpoint, but I would say that my counterpoint in this bagatelle isn't too terrible. The key areas are also all related. There are 3 key areas in the piece. Obviously there is Eb major. The other key areas are minor keys, C minor and Eb minor. Not only are C minor and Eb minor both related to the home key of Eb major, but they are related to each other as well, being chromatic mediant keys. The Coda is short, but the motive continues to be developed through most of it. This is I think, the part that resembles Beethoven's Fifth the most, what with the descending thirds and the Eb, D, C, D, Eb, motion in the bass. But, I never really have what I could call a Beethoven's Fifth moment in there, because the bass keeps chugging along in eighth note octaves while the melody develops the motive. The introductory 8 measures are supposed to first be played quietly and then loudly after the repeat, but I can't get it both in playback and notation so I settled for the notation. What do you think of my bagatelle?
  3. I have never tried arranging a symphony for an ensemble that didn't include woodwinds AND isn't exclusively piano. That is, until now. I started arranging Symphony no. 1 by Mendelssohn(I figured it would probably be the easiest non-Beethovenian symphony to arrange(Gustav Mahler and Johannes Brahms both have a similar symphonic style to that of Beethoven)) as my "Romantic Era Symphony Arrangement Challenge" as I call it. Now I'm wondering, will a Piano sextet be enough? Or am I going to have to increase that to a Piano septet(Piano Duet + String Quintet)? Here is how I'm going about it: Strings: Play the original notes as written by the composer for each of the string staves Piano: Get the rest of the orchestral sonority across(Woodwinds, Brass, Tympani) But, I'm finding that I have the high and mid register woodwinds in the right hand and left hand and I already don't have room for any bass notes whatsoever, not even from the bassoon staff(I try to never go past an octave in each hand unless I have to, and if I have to go past an octave in each hand, I never go past a tenth(I mean, how many pianists can play twelfths? It must be a minority of even the advanced pianists that can reach that far. And sustained twelfths are even harder unless you have hands like those of Rachmaninoff.). The opening of the symphony I am arranging has a homophonic texture and uses all the instruments in the orchestra, so I feel like I absolutely need to include all the woodwind notes(Some, especially in the Flute - Oboe pairing, I am able to collapse from 2 notes into 1), including the bassoon notes. The brass and tympani, I feel don't matter as much here in the opening measures of the first movement as they might later on in the symphony. But, if I try to include all the clarinet notes on 1 hand along with the flute and oboe notes, it is going to be impossible to play(the flute and oboe alone already make it hard with those almost constant octaves). So, am I going to have to expand the ensemble I am arranging for to a Piano septet(Piano Duet + String Quintet)? Here is a link to the PDF of the symphony I am arranging, so that you can see the notes yourself as written by the composer(First Movement starts on page 5 of the PDF): http://ks4.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/f/f8/IMSLP214825-SIBLEY1802.18342.401d-39087009398282score.pdf
  4. It sounds nice, but it would sound better if since the piano is basically playing the bass line for the most part, if one of the violins played a countermelody instead of just doubling the other violin in thirds. A countermelody doesn't have to be hard to write, just make it have a different melodic contour than the main melody and don't leave dissonances(either between the countermelody and the main melody or between the countermelody and the bass) unresolved without a purpose. That's really all there is to writing a countermelody. It would add some melodic richness to this piece and it might add some harmonic richness to it as well. It is a nice melody you have though, and the right hand playing a part in the bass line is unusual but it does add to this piece, so I think you should keep the bass line as well.
  5. I had this idea come to mind a few days ago. What if I combine the Waltz and the Sonata into a single piece? Since I already wrote several sonatas, I figured I would emphasize the Waltz part of this piece by constantly having a waltz-like bassline. I have finished the exposition of this piece. I made the first theme be more scalar in nature and the second theme have more arpeggios to provide melodic contrast, since the bass couldn't really provide much contrast besides key, being a waltz and all that. For the transition, I started in F major and then went to C major and then went back and forth between C major and C minor until I finally resolved to Bb major for the second theme. What do you think of the waltz so far? I'm working on the development section right now. Somebody else, outside of this forum asked if I was writing a "waltz in the style of a sonata" or a "sonata in the style of a waltz" and I answered that I am writing a "waltz in the style of a sonata", thus the title of Valse Quasi una Sonata, which translates to Waltz almost like a Sonata.
  6. I used that change from triplet eighths to triplet quarters to get across the illusion of a ritardando, before the actual ritardando comes towards the end of the piece. As for the long route along the circle of fifths in section D, I thought: As for playing eighth notes over the triplets, that is one of the ways I get drama across in my circle of fifths modulations. The hemiola(3:2 polyrhythm) becomes a double hemiola(3:4) with the ritardando illusion.
  7. Well, I have always considered myself to be ready for writing fugues because of my experience both in canons and sonatas. I have been told by several people that canons are harder than fugues, but I have found the opposite to be true. I can more easily write canons than fugues. The fugue is like a cross between the canon and the sonata. It has the repetition of the canon and it has the contrast and development of the sonata. I also study Bach fugues a lot and study counterpoint from videos that go into detail on it. All this has made me consider myself ready for writing fugues.
  8. I just had this idea come to mind. What if I combine the Waltz and the Sonata? Here is my proposed form: I call the piece that I am composing, Valse Quasi una Sonata, which translates to Waltz almost like a Sonata. As you can see from the image, I use the Dominant more as a bridge than a true Dominant. This is how I bridge to the Subdominant with the Dominant: I have this bass pattern occurring throughout the piece: Often the 2 chords will be an inversion apart, but when the right hand gets into the bass clef, the chords are sometimes the same. The Root is usually at least a fifth down from the first chord, but particularly with the F major chord, I find that I can only do that when the melody goes up high. If it stays in the first octave, I have to have the first F major chord be in first inversion, a third up from the root. The hardest part I have found so far about composing this piece is having the rhythm of the Waltz and the form of the Sonata, while keeping the piece coherent. So what do you think of my idea of combining the rhythm of the Waltz with the form of the Sonata?
  9. I have gotten this response from some people giving feedback on my Minuet in Bb: I addressed why I ended the phrase and the piece in octaves, but got no response back on this forum, so I thought I would address it here. Here was my reasoning behind ending it in octaves: Here is the A section of my Minuet with the structure highlighted: As you can see, it is structured as a question and answer type of phrasing. The first cadence at measure 4 is open, it poses a question, because, while yes, it is a Bb major harmony, it ends on an interval of a fifth, and fifths give a sense of openness. Also, the diminuendo combined with the left hand arpeggiation further adds to that questioning feel. The fifth poses a question which is then answered by the consequent phrase. The second cadence at measure 8 closes off the section. It ends in octaves, and as I said in the previous quote, I think of octaves as being the most closed of cadential intervals, especially when preceded by a leap in the bass as it is in measure 8. The loud dynamic further reinforces that closing off of the A section. However, when I adressed this reasoning to more people, they weren't on my side of the argument at all. They also thought that a different harmony would be more effective at measure 8. So now, I'm a bit confused. Octaves are the most closed of cadential intervals and yet aren't effective in the ending cadence of a section of a Minuet? How can that be? In a lot of works from Haydn onwards and even works by Bach, having a closed cadence end in octaves is not only common, it's the norm. From Beethoven onwards, octaves become the norm in all circumstances, be it tremolo like in a lot of Beethoven's own works, or leap like in those of Chopin and Liszt. So how is it that octaves are the norm in closed cadences, yet my own closed cadence in the A section of my Minuet is not effective, even though it ends in octaves?
  10. Parallel uneven octaves, let me guess, that means that not only are there parallel octaves, but that 2 voices reach those octaves by different trajectories(or to put it another way, in one of the voices, there are 1 or more notes between the octave notes). Out of all the contrapuntal errors, parallel octaves are the hardest for me to avoid. They have come up time and time again, whenever I write a fugue, they show up. I try to resolve them, but they sometimes creep in quite sneakily, like in the neighbor note figuration in the subject. In the first countersubject, I have a bit of sequencing going on with the word Domine. Each time the word is sung before any of the rest of the text follows, the corresponding motive is melodically sequenced up a step. Later in the fugue, you see me applying that same melodic sequence by step to the entire first countersubject to modulate to another key. Since I was trying to emphasise the dominant relationship of the answer with my first countersubject, I guess I am going to have to adjust that, which might affect my other countersubjects as well. As for the mode mixture, where it looks as though I have went into F Dorian for the last measure, I honestly have no idea why I did it other than to have the bass voice descend instead of ascend like it did in the previous measures. But as I look closely at the interval relationships to that D natural, I see this: Bass - Tenor: Second, the closest possible dissonance(or it could be viewed as a seventh as well) Bass - Alto: Tritone, the crunchiest and most directional of the dissonances, Bach would most certainly only use the tritone in two circumstances, those being sequences and an immediate resolution to a third Bass - Soprano: Second again(This also could be viewed as a seventh instead since the second inverts to the seventh) As for the parallel sevenths, I don't really understand what you are talking about. Only seventh I see is between the Eb and the F. Oh, wait a minute, are you saying that by descending a third, I have went from the note a seventh below to the note a seventh above, while sustaining the Eb in the tenor? I thought parallel sevenths meant that both voices move in the same direction and are a seventh apart. I didn't realize that sustaining a note in 1 voice and having the other voice go from the note a seventh above to the note a seventh below or vice versa via motion by thirds also counts as parallel sevenths.
  11. This is the first time that I improvised a fugue subject and multiple countersubjects and didn't immediately come across contrapuntal errors with my Check Harmony Rules plugin in Musescore. I haven't bothered to look more in depth though(like every note kind of depth). So there might be some errors that I missed. I want to resolve these before I move further with the fugue. As you can probably tell by the PDF file, I wrote this fugue exposition with the text of a Requiem in mind, specifically, the Introit, which is the first section of a Requiem mass. Augmented intervals, those most likely have to do with the leading tone combined with the minor key and thus, shouldn't be bothered with, right, so as to not stray away from the key too fast? Or are they unacceptable, even in minor keys? Here is the fugue exposition in image form, so as to highlight the Subject and 3 countersubjects: There, that is the fugue exposition. I figured that this Requiem fugue would be one of the best fugues for which the subject appearance order would be BTAS, or in other words ascending, to represent the ascent to heaven(I'm personally not religious, but I know some things about religion). Did I obey the counterpoint rules and write a good fugue exposition with 3 countersubjects? Or are there some errors that I missed? I mainly focused on not having parallel and direct octaves, fifths, and fourths, and not having too many parallel thirds or sixths, so I might have missed errors of unresolved dissonances and weak suspensions that did not get picked up on a first pass.
  12. I started writing a suite for Solo Piano with the theme of 12 months of the year. I also am writing a poem related to each month as an epigraph for each movement. This first post will be about the January Movement. I do multiple things to get across the feel of January. Here is what I do and what it represents: Grace notes and staccato: Snowfall Slow tempo arpeggios: Walking through the forest Episodes of G minor and a single episode of C major: Lamentation, like "Oh, when will it warm up? It is so cold out here that I could freeze if I didn't have this coat on. I really hope it is soon." Major key melody in octaves or with full chords underneath(most of the time D major, but other keys are also used): Hope Minor key melody in octaves: Hope is extinguished Major over minor polytonality: The question of if there is hope Trills and/or alternating bass: Shivering, the combination of trills and alternating bass portrays more shivering than either trills alone or alternating bass alone, loud dynamic, even more shivering Fast scale motives of 4 notes each, rising: Wind Gust False ending - Leads into a Coda Pedaled arpeggio across the keyboard followed by quiet chord - True ending of the piece How well do you think I portrayed the cold weather and the feel of the month of January? And what do you think of my January poem that is right above the score? Also, what key do you think I should have the February movement in? Oh, before you can answer that, here is what I am planning as far as keys: January: D minor Other months: Some key trajectory that smoothly takes me to my target December: D major And here are the keys I have thought of maybe having the February movement be in: G major - Major subdominant of D minor A major - Dominant of D minor C major - Unrelated harmonically to D minor, but close in proximity to it(I don't consider the I - ii relationship to be a close harmonic relationship at all) Bb major - Submediant of D minor F major - Relative major of D minor D major - Parallel major of D minor If it helps, here are the keys I have thought of having the March movement be in: D major F major Eb major Bb major I know that I don't want to hit the D major key too early on in the piece, otherwise it might sound like the ending(most minor key pieces I know that end in the parallel major delay the parallel major until the last minute or in multi-movement works, the last movement. And Beethoven, the composer of most influence on me, he sometimes sets up a Picardy Third only to later say "Nope, I'm going to end this in the minor key it started in."(I know for a fact that he does this in the first movement of his Fifth Symphony and the Rondo of his Pathetique Sonata). So, anyway, what do you think of my January Movement of this suite and the poem that corresponds to this movement? And, any ideas as to which of the 6 keys I proposed for the February movement should be the actual key of that movement? Because, that is what I will be composing next is the February movement. I plan for the February movement to have a warm tone(thus the major key), a feel of love, a more obvious melody, and sort of a waltz feel to it(definitely will be in triple meter), there will still be some of those trills and alternating bass to evoke the cold temperatures, but not as many.
  13. I have finished analyzing Grande Valse Brilliante by Chopin, the second most famous Chopin waltz after the Minute Waltz. I analyzed both the harmony and the form of the waltz. As for the harmony, that was relatively simple to analyze. The form on the other hand was more complicated in terms of analysis because I had sections, themes within sections, phrases within themes, and subphrases within phrases and even a couple of cadenzas. With the Coda, because it was developing preexisting material, I just showed what material it is developing at each moment. I clarified at the beginning of the score, that I think of this as being in a Quasi-Sonata Form, but you might think of it as an atypical Ternary Form and that's fine too. How well do you think I did analyzing this Chopin waltz? Here is the audio and PDF of my analysis:
  14. I know I accepted that challenge to arrange a Romantic Period symphony that isn't by Beethoven. However, I am finding it quite challenging to both get across the essence of the symphony and not get dangerously close to the original orchestra. In particular, I am finding woodwinds becoming of more importance to that essence. I guess I could resort to a quartet of pianists if I have to, but while I try to figure out both what symphony to arrange and what ensemble to arrange it for, I figured I would do another one of my expansion type arrangements, where I take a piece for a smaller ensemble and arrange it for a larger ensemble. Besides the obvious Classical Period Trifecta, I figured that maybe I could arrange a piece by a later composer. Liszt was definitely out of the question(only piece by Liszt that I think would be suitable for an arrangement is his Liebestraum, and even then, just barely). I knew a lot of composers after Beethoven, both by names and pieces. I further narrowed things down to these composers: Chopin - Melodic grace Grieg - Piano works are well known Tchaikovsky - What looks complicated can turn out very simple(I know this from arranging The Nutcracker Suite for Piano Duet) Mendelssohn - He is like "The Mozart of the Romantic Era" Schumann - Melodic grace Brahms - Similar but clearly different style from Beethoven Debussy - Melody first, harmony second, even the harmony tends to be melodic in nature I then thought "Hmm, maybe I should arrange Reverie" and that sealed the deal. I was going to arrange a piece by Debussy. When people think Debussy, they think Clair De Lune, which I did look at, but decided not to arrange. I looked at other well known Debussy pieces and the one that looked easiest to arrange is Reverie, which also happens to be my favorite Debussy piece. So I decided to arrange that piece. I figured that a trio would fit very well to the piece. I wanted to keep that tender character of the original piece obviously. One instrument that I commonly use to soften a small ensemble like a trio is a flute because the flute, even at forte, still has a tenderness to its timbre. So I figured that the flute should take the main melody(except when that melody goes into the bass clef obviously), the cello should play the bass line, and the violin should harmonize the flute melody. So here is my arrangement of Reverie, what do you think?
  15. I composed a nocturne in Bb about a year ago. To me Eb and Bb fit very well as keys into the definition of a nocturne(music that evokes a nighttime feeling). Here is what I planned to do in the nocturne when I first thought about it: Section More Detail Proposed length A Establishes Tonic of Bb 7 measures B Modulates from and back to Bb 6 measures A' Octave variation 7 measures A'' Tremolo of a 3rd added 11 measures B' Octave variation 6 measures A''' Right hand down an octave, modulates to parallel minor at the end 12 measures C Contrasting key 5 measures D Modulates from minor to parallel major 12 measures A'''' Faster triplets 7 measures B'' Faster triplets, Left hand down an octave 6 measures A''''' Faster triplets, both hands down an octave, right hand plays melody in octaves like in A' 7 measures C' Octave variation, slower triplets 10 measures D' Octave variation, slower triplets 12 measures A'''''' Slower triplets 14 measures Ritardando Brings piece towards an end At least 3 measures Root position chord in unison Perpetuates the piece 1 measure at the most 1st inversion up an octave in unison Perpetuates 1 measure at the most 2nd inversion down 2 octaves in unison Final ending chord 1 measure at the most Now I do have mini ritardandos(slows down by 10 bpm) for each B section towards the ending measure of that section, but the ritardando section would get even slower. I had to ditch the faster triplets because it was ruining the nocturne feel. Here is the nocturne that resulted: So what do you think? Do you think I should add another B section where you have 2 A sections in a row? Do you think I did a good job using the quarter note triplets to give a sense of a ritardando without there actually being a ritardando until the last few measures? And how finished does it sound, ending on a second inversion tonic chord?
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