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    Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin
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    Classical, Romantic
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  1. So a year ago, I had this idea of composing a suite that would represent different types of weather. I would call this suite Weather Music. But it wasn't until a few days ago that I actually started composing part of the suite. What part did I start composing you might ask? Well, I started composing probably the most intense part of the suite. That's right, I composed the part of the suite that is supposed to represent a storm. I am like exactly a quarter of the way through finishing the piece. But before I even started composing it, I was like: Full orchestra example: Beethoven here is really getting across the feel of a thunderstorm and the calm after the storm with the orchestra here. String orchestra example: Probably the most well known example of a storm represented in music. So well known, that it itself is often called Storm when played without the preceding 2 movements of Summer. There is no calm ending to the music at all. Piano example: Not directly a piece representing a storm unlike the previous 2 but it could very well be interpreted as stormy music because of the tempo and all the octaves. So I had a lot of pieces to go on as to how to get the feeling of a storm across. The only real questions were what key to have the piece in and what to compose the piece for. I eventually decided on piano solo because that is my area of expertise. I mean I am a very advanced pianist and I started composing in my intermediate years, mainly piano works. So it makes sense that composing for piano would be a natural thing for me because I know my abilities and limitations as a pianist. I don't directly know those same things for flute, violin, or any other instrument the way that I do for piano. The only way I know these things for other instruments is by studying the instruments and pieces written for those instruments. This is how come I know that out of all the possible piano-not piano duets that exist, the most balanced is the cello-piano duet. This is how come I know that a forte dynamic in the first octave is impossible on the flute. It has to do with pieces that I have listened to that are written for those instruments and other ways that I study the instruments. But no matter how good I get at say writing for flute, my piano composition skill is likely to always be superior because I get that skill directly from my knowledge of music notation, music theory, and 10 years of experience playing the piano, no studying piano pieces out of context of playing them required at all. Plus I have several other non-piano works that I am working on(namely my first symphony which might take me a year just to get the piano draft of it finished but that's okay) Anyway, back to my storm piece. That was quite the digression there but I just felt like I had to get it out. I decided to have it in the key of C minor because it is very easy for me to improvise in the key of C minor and simultaneously get it to sound very expressive. It is almost impossible for me to do that same thing for C major(which is partly why I mostly avoid composing in C major). And stormy is 1 feeling that is very natural to the key of C minor. In fact, just about any emotion that you can get out of a key is a natural emotion in C minor under certain conditions. Even happiness is a natural emotion for C minor. How I'm getting across the feeling of a storm So 1 thing that I noticed in common in nearly all pieces of music that I would consider to have a stormy character was octaves. But not just any old octaves. No, the octaves I noticed in stormy music were very fast and they were alternating. Very commonly, I would notice that almost the entire bass line is in octaves(as is the case with the Beethoven examples) or otherwise as in the Vivaldi example, the repeated notes in the bass would get across the same feel as octaves would and the octaves only really exist if you combine the bass and alto lines. So naturally, I took these octaves and applied them to the left hand part of my piece and the only time these octaves would be slow was in chords. Even when I state the Fate Motif, it isn't slow, despite being a rhythmic augmentation of the original motif just because of the fast tempo. I so far have done all these things to get across the feel of a storm: Keep up the momentum of the 16th notes except in certain spots to make the entire piece sound dramatic Use a minor key because the same drama would be hard to get across in a major key, even taking everything else into consideration Use scalar passages with unpredictable leaps to represent the strong wind by giving a chaotic feel to what would otherwise be a normal scale. Use diminished 7ths more often than dominant 7ths just to add more drama Use the Fate Motif as a bass line during some of the scalar passages to represent the lightning flash. Use chord progressions to represent the thunder that comes after the lightning(this is what I mean when I say that the octaves are slow in chords) Have the melody in the right hand outside of scalar passages be staccato to represent the rainfall Under the staccato melody, use fast octaves to give a sense of turbulence, which is very fitting for a storm Use stark dynamic contrast between passages representing thunder and lightning and passages representing rain Creschendo to a loud dynamic Suddenly get quieter Presto tempo(mine is actually on the slow end of Presto, at 160 BPM) Here is the piece as it is so far. Sound ends at about 1:25 in the MP3 just so you know. Does it sound stormy to you with all the octaves, 16th notes, and the Presto tempo?
  2. So this is a composition that I improvised on the spot. It is incomplete right now. As you can tell when you listen to it, there is a rocking feel to the bass line, what with all those fifths. At the speed at which I have it going in this prelude, I don't know if you hear it this way, but it almost sounds as though bass guitar and drums have been combined into the bass staff of the piano. Like harmonic drumbeats almost. I was composing this, thinking more along the lines of a prelude in Classical music, but the more I listen to it, the less Classical it sounds and the more it sounds like the harmonic and melodic backbone of a song. So, I was thinking that because it feels to me like the backbone of a song, that I should turn this Prelude into a song. I was thinking either Jazz or Rock. To me personally, it sounds more like Rock and even more specifically, Heavy Metal. But of course, I'm being a little biased there. I have been exposed to more Rock music in my life than I have been exposed to Jazz. So I was wanting your opinion on it, which is why I added a poll to my post. And so that you can look at and listen to my Prelude, here it is:
  3. I have had this block in my C minor sonata for months. I have the introduction down as I want it but I can't think of a first theme to come after the introduction. Thankfully I have about 6 months before Beethoven's birthday comes around. That's right, I am dedicating this piano sonata to Beethoven, the 1 major composer that reinspired me after a long composer hiatus and who keeps pushing me forward in my compositions. I was able to compose a Mozart style sonata in less than a month. But with this C minor sonata, it has been about a month and I still can't figure out what to do for the first theme. @Tortualex on Musescore.com has given me quite a few suggestions after I told him that I wanted to be innovative with this sonata like how Beethoven was innovative more than 2 centuries before. One of them was to have it have 3 themes instead of your typical 2 themed sonata. In particular he suggested that I have this harmonic structure to my themes: First theme in C minor Second theme in G phrygian(which would have the same notes as C minor but have the tonic chord be G minor) Third theme in G major He said that with those 3 themes, I will have a lot of thematic material to have my sonata be more than 7 minutes long and still be interesting. He then suggested that I break more rules when I get to the recapitulation. Specifically that I make the second theme be in G major and use that G major as a secondary dominant to C minor(this though confuses me. Is he suggesting that I use the Locrian mode as the primary dominant instead of G major? Or is he suggesting that I have the third theme in G phrygian and use the minor dominant as the primary dominant?). Then afterwards he suggested having a second development followed by a true recapitulation. That would definitely be an expansion on your typical sonata form from the exposition having 3 themes instead of 2 to having a first recapitulation leading to a second development and then having a true recapitulation to the second theme being more modal than tonal. I have gotten advice more related to symphonies but basically, one of the pieces of advice that I got for getting out of a composer's block was this: Now, I haven't been thinking much about my sonata since last month which I figured would relieve the composer's block with it because just not thinking about the piece for a while(sometimes just a few hours, sometimes a month or more) often relieves my composer's block. But it did no such thing for this C minor sonata. I'm still in as much of a composer's block as I was a month ago. So should I go this motive route and base my first theme off of a short little motive instead of thinking of it as 1 long melody and accompaniment like I have been doing? If so, how will I know how workable a motive that I come up with is? Is there even such a thing as a motive being less workable than another?
  4. I would assume so. Here is how I would do such a thing in Musescore, the notation software that I use: Put in a rest for the length of the tuplet Notes -> Tuplets -> Other Set the number of notes in the tuplet. Now input the notes for the tuplet That is, unless I know that one of the notes in the tuplet besides the starting note is in sync with the beat. If that is the case, then I would input it as multiple smaller tuplets to make the beat divisions easier to see for the musician. And given that Sibelius and Musescore are similar in sophistication, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a way to do longer tuplets in Sibelius. I just don't know because their personal plan is like absurly expensive($80 a year just to be able to do col legno and other techniques? Um, no thanks. I would rather just use Musescore because I know it is going to stay free and maybe a decade or 2 from now will be even better than Sibelius at everything).
  5. So after listening to Bach's Cello Suites and his Flute Partita, I figured I would do a similar thing but for bassoon. The fact that I am writing for bassoon is partly why I decided to start with an overture instead of a prelude(French overture if you want to get into the specific type based on speed pattern). That isn't to say that the slow section won't include some fast 16ths but I have been adding long notes as I see fit. I only have 13 measures so far, so I'm not thinking of uploading the piece yet. But I can only use the singing method for the alto range and low soprano pretty much(my natural soprano has gotten limited and squeaky over the years, and not because I overused my soprano so unlike before where I could easily sing up to a high G in my soprano, I can barely get a high C out) which means that as soon as the notes are in the range of a bass voice or a low tenor, I can't use the singing method to check for slur placement at all and in the soprano range, it isn't going to be all that accurate(Not that I would have the bassoon going into a soprano range all that often anyway). And I myself do not play bassoon, partly because the instrument, even at beginner quality is like $3000 worth. Whereas my beginner quality flute, I got for less than $100. That is quite the price difference between the cheapest and most expensive woodwind at beginner quality, excluding auxiliaries. If I did play bassoon at an advanced level, I could just write down the notes that I want without worrying about slurs, play the notes as written, and see where I run out of breath and how I naturally phrase it. The breath and phrasing together would determine where to put the slurs. But because I don't play bassoon, and I don't have a friend who I know is a bassoonist, this method won't work either. So if my vocal range is limited pretty much to alto and low soprano making the singing method not viable for bassoon and I don't play bassoon, nor know a friend who plays bassoon, how am I supposed to determine where to put the slurs in my Bassoon Suite?
  6. I too have perfect pitch and I sometimes improvise an entire piece on the piano. Most of the time though, I write in notation software without using an instrument first.
  7. The D minor section section does indeed sound like a dance(almost sounds like a waltz at first but later on, it sounds more like a minuet). I can hear wind in the piece as well. It starts off in A minor. The use of flats here kind of hints at a change in key, even as early on as measure 3 where I hear a chromatic melody of D, Db, C, over a C minor harmony(which I think kind of hints at the F minor section). The ending chord of the A minor section almost sounds like an F chord of some sort. Maybe that is because of the F that precedes the last 2 chords. The last chord in the A minor section definitely sounds like a diminished 7th, just without the seventh. Especially because of the leading tone being in the bass. The F minor section doesn't sound funereally sad which I know you didn't want it to but it still seems a bit unexpected to me for the key. I have tried improvising in F minor before and all I get is sad music without any polytonality or high octaves. Just having it be polytonal with C minor, I find brings variance to the emotion of F minor. Being high up, I find always makes a key sound peaceful, even those keys with strong emotions such as F minor or Bb minor.
  8. So I decided to make a challenge for myself since I already completed a piece that represents a season. This challenge is for me to represent all 4 seasons. The first in this 4 seasons bunch is my Spring Trio piece, the first piece that I ever composed for a trio. It has your standard piano trio instrumentation of piano, violin, and cello. I am already working on my Summer piece but don't expect it to be finished anytime soon, it is orchestral. So now to how I composed this Spring Trio and my use of tone painting. I concentrated more on expression here than the form itself. The piece is supposed to represent the transition from Winter to Spring. That is why I went more freeform with this piece(though still using fugato and there is even a canonic passage in there between the violin and the cello) Keys First off, the chain of harmonies that I used. I decided to go from D minor(the key of the Winter Wind phrase) to D major. But I wanted it to sound like it was gradually going towards a more major sound to represent the warming up. So I decided on this progression of modulations: D minor -> C major -> B minor -> G major -> A major -> D major The modulation to C major is basically a modal modulation(if there even is such a term). So it goes from Aeolian to Dorian but instead of ending on D which it sounds like it is going to, it ends on C giving a further drive forward. Going to B minor is mostly a chromatic half step modulation(I say mostly because a truly chromatic half step modulation would have landed on B major. Still 3 steps away from D major, the target key but less closely related than B minor. B minor I also use as a pivot from flats to sharps. I still use Bb though and not A# because it makes more sense to me to use Bb, especially since I go back to the flats relatively soon after the B minor phrase twice. The modulation to G major is your typical pivot chord modulation. Then you have like the modulation equivalent of a cadence to D major. This brings me to my next point. I have 2 incomplete harmonic cycles to represent how there are several bouts of spring weather(harmonic cycle) followed by cold snaps(sudden jolt back to D minor) before spring is here for sure. The fugato that I use in the first 2 minutes or so reinforces this uncertainty about whether the warming up is long term or not. I follow this with a complete harmonic cycle to express that spring is coming. Tone Painting You could say the entire piece is tone painting but there are 2 places that have more tone painting going on than anywhere else. First off, the Winter Wind phrase. There are multiple layers of tone painting here. First off, the key is minor and the phrase as a whole sounds melancholy. This coupled with the fast staccato of the piano gives a very wintry feel to the phrase. The staccato itself represents the snowfall. The pizzicato strings represent the strong wind. The longer notes represent the person experiencing this winter weather. Second is the complete harmonic cycle. After the last entry of the Winter Wind, there is a similar phrase except, the piano does not play a role here or at least one that is significant. Because of the more major sound to it, that same combination of slow cello notes and fast violin notes represents sunny weather(which becomes more frequent during Spring in my area(I live in Ohio)). After the canonic passage, the overall feel of it is "Any day now, Spring is really close, I just know it". The G major phrase sounds more anticipatory with its loud dynamics followed by a diminuendo into the next phrase. That phrase starts off pianissimo and then gradually goes to forte. A melodic motif starts the ending phrase. That BACB motif, it represents the song-like birdcall of the American Robin, a bird that I start hearing a few days after the spring equinox. Then there are 2 instruments playing and then all of a sudden, there is just 1 line again. In this case, it is representing the well known "Jeer" call of the Blue Jay by staying on 1 note. Then, again 2 instruments and then all of a sudden, all 3 instruments are playing birdcalls starting with the violin playing the Cardinal birdcall, then the cello joins in with the Robin birdcall, and then the piano joins in with the Blue Jay birdcall and then it leads to another short, non-birdcall melody. Then all 3 birdcalls at once, and then the final ending melody which has the ending whole notes with a fermata and at a fortissimo dynamic to conclude the piece. So I would like some feedback on this. How well did I get across the feelings of Winter and Spring? How well did I incorporate those birdcall motifs? Which one do you think I incorporated better than the others if you had to chose? The Robin motif because it is used more and is what starts the Spring is Here phrase? Here is my Spring Trio:
  9. I got it by searching Symphony no. 40 motif on google images. And I figured that finding the rhythmic motif would be more important. And the fact that it has the same melodic shape as what Mozart actually uses just reinforces that despite it being the wrong notes, it is clearly the motif, rhythmically and melodically, that Mozart uses. There was another image that showed the motif as it is used in Symphony no. 40 but it was showing like the entire first phrase and I was only needing an image of the motif itself.
  10. I have completely improvised a waltz a few days ago. What took the longest was getting the notes into my notation software. I will probably do a revision focusing on the dynamics. But I have the basic dynamic arc down. There are areas where I set the Fate Motif to a waltz rhythm. Because of this, it doesn't sound as much like Beethoven's 5th as you might expect though the waltz certainly does sound Beethoven influenced. This is my second attempt at a waltz and the first time I have ever finished a waltz. What do you think of my waltz?
  11. If I don't get a theme right away(which I usually do), I will sometimes do this: 1) Figure out how many bars I want the theme to be and in what time signature 2) Plan the harmony of the theme 3) Build the melody and bass from that harmonic plan And I usually get a pretty usable theme for a piece. Usually, I instinctually go for originality in my themes. But sometimes I will intentionally borrow from another composer. Usually when that happens, it is either a scalar transition inspired by K 545, or it is the Fate Motif from Beethoven's 5th. But the way I use for example the Fate Motif gives originality to the piece, even if I did borrow from Beethoven.
  12. So if you don't know already, here are my 2 favorite all time symphonies: Beethoven's 5th Symphony no. 40 And I have noticed some similarities between these 2 symphonies. And it isn't just that they are both in minor keys with flats. There is a lot more to the similarities than that. These 2 symphonies are like cousins, obviously related in some aspects but completely different in others. Here, I will in each category start with Symphony no. 40 and then show how that is similar to Beethoven's 5th. Motivic Development So here is the motif from Symphony no. 40: There is Mozart's motif. Now here is the symphony with the motif highlighted: Symphony no 40 with motif highlights.pdf As you can see, pretty much all of the first movement is based on that 1 little motif. But it isn't really used anywhere else in Mozart's Symphony no. 40. Beethoven takes this to the next level with his fifth symphony. Here is the motif: The very famous Fate Motif. It is probably the most famous motif that exists. It has been used for a long time after Beethoven as either an homage to Beethoven(even I use it this way) or as a parody of Beethoven's 5th. Here is how much Beethoven uses it so that you can see how similar and different it is to Mozart's motif in terms of frequency: Fate Motif Highlights.pdf As you can see here, every movement has a significant amount based on the Fate Motif, but especially the first movement and finale. I might have missed some instances of the Fate Motif but most of those were scalar instances where it isn't all that obvious that it is rhythmically based on the Fate Motif. Dissonance Treatment This is another similarity between the 2 symphonies. They both have instances where the dissonance is not resolved right away but is instead a rearticulated suspension, building up tension until finally a huge sign of relief as it resolves. Mozart only rearticulates the dissonance a few times. Beethoven rearticulates the dissonance a lot more. Mozart's dissonance also isn't as tense as Beethoven's dissonance even if it is played once. The Obvious Similarities They are both in a minor key with flats. Mozart's has fewer flats which leads to less tension. Beethoven's has more flats which leads to more tension. Also, the beginning theme of the Scherzo of Beethoven's 5th is directly taken from Symphony no. 40's second movement. Both begin with what is called a Manhiem rocket. Beethoven's is left unharmonized which is the major difference from Mozart. The orchestra is almost exactly the same but Beethoven added piccolo, trombone, and contrabassoon parts to his finale. Here are videos of the 2 symphonies: Are there any similarities that I missed between these 2 symphonies? And does Mozart's motif appear in movements besides the first movement?
  13. When @aMusicComposer signed me up, he told me to take my time doing it and not worry about whether or not it turns out great. So I assume the only goal is 24 preludes and fugues and that there is no deadline.
  14. I am pretty good at developing short themes so I should be good to go improvising my own melody to use as a fugue subject. I doubt I will use the same melody in my prelude but again, I should have no problem there(especially since the prelude that I am writing is in 5/4).
  15. That same thing happens with me and Beethoven. Beethoven is my favorite composer and I listen to him so much that just about every one of my compositions has a Beethoven vibe somewhere in there.
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