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    Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin
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  1. This is concerning the fugal variation of Beethoven's fifth that I am working on. I have been told by others that my current fugue subject is just too short to make it work and that I should add the next 4 measures of Beethoven's fifth to my subject. That means that I'm going from having this as my subject: To having this as my subject: Does my subject really need extended though? I mean, 10 measures sounds more like the length of a sonata theme than that of a fugue subject. And Bach has made do with much shorter subjects. Some of his fugue subjects are less than a measure long.
  2. It isn't complete yet, but I have made it through a major milestone in writing my polonaise, finishing the A section of the polonaise. I would love some feedback on what I have so far of it. The A section of the A section is what my first few questions are about and is the exclusively diatonic section. The B section of the A section is more chromatic. I am asking these questions because they came up to me after listening to my own polonaise a few times. Is the bass in the A section of the A section(bars 1-8 and 23-30) too dense? In the consequent phrase(bars 5-8), is the bass too close to the melody? Should I bring it down an octave? I'm just asking here because I noticed the bass and melody come close enough to form chords in my consequent phrase. In the B section of the A section(bars 9-22), am I handling my chromaticism correctly or not? Is it too much of me to expect a pianist to play a polonaise rhythm in octaves for the whole B section of the A section? Do I smoothly transition into the inversion(left hand becomes right hand kind of inversion) or not? Is my A section too repetitive with 2 periods and a motive sandwiched between the 2 periods and the repeat sign? Is 30 bars enough for the A section of a piece that I expect to be 200 or so bars long, or should I extend my A section further? Here is the link to my polonaise score: https://musescore.com/user/50070/scores/5682039 How else do you think it could be improved? Right now, I'm thinking of what to put in the B section of my polonaise.
  3. Well, I mean Rondo a Capriccio frequently modulates anyway, so I don't see the mid-section modulation in the area with a 2 flat key signature as much of a disadvantage.
  4. So, I have finished analyzing Rondo a Capriccio. I found most of it simple to analyze. Those sequences that I got stuck on, I got stuck on because of the accented non-chord tones that Beethoven uses. But other than that, I found the analysis to be pretty simple to do. A lot of secondary dominants are used here. A lot of these are functional(so like the secondary tonic shows up right after the secondary dominant most of the time) but some are non-functional, only there as part of a sequence. Measure 57 is where a bit of ambiguity starts. I decided to analyze it in Bb until it made no more sense in Bb(which would be at measure 68) and then notate it as a pivot to Gm. Here is my reasoning behind analysing bars 57-68 in Bb instead of Gm: The short tonicizations I didn't bother notating as key changes and instead I decided to notate them as secondary dominants in the previous key. That is, except for some at the end where I'm not sure if it is a tonicization or a modulation, so I notated it as a modulation as a precautionary measure. A lot of the ending measures are simply I V I alternations with a lot of non-chord tones. Another frequent secondary chord I found is secondary diminished sevenths, usually vii°7/V leading either to V or to vii°7, which then leads to I or V depending on the previous chord. I saw a couple of augmented sixth chords, both German augmented sixths. The first one resolves to the dominant and is then respelt as a dominant seventh chord. The second one leads directly to a new tonic by keeping one of its notes as a common tone and resolving the other 3. So here is my analysis of Rondo a Capriccio and an MP3 so that you can listen to the piece. Do you think my analysis is accurate? Anything you would change about it?
  5. So the thought has came to me several times to write a polonaise. I'm not Polish so I barely know anything about that side of the polonaise. But so far I have come across these commonalities across all polonaises(except maybe some of Bach's polonaises and some other early polonaises): Triple meter(typically 3/4 time, though some are written with a 6/8 feel in mind) Moderate to fast tempo(it gets especially fast if you look only at Chopin's polonaises) Common melodic rhythm Relatively simple bass line compared to the complex melody Ternary form(often complex ternary form which is like ternary form sections inside a ternary form piece) But then there are those things that differ. I will be using Chopin as an example since his polonaises are extremely well known, but don't feel as though I'm being too Chopin-centric. Heroic Polonaise: This polonaise has more of a 6/8 feel to it. And not just because of the eighth note bass line but also because of beams of eighths going across the bar. Also, I think there are some bars where the eighths are grouped in 3's, implying 6/8, even though it is written in 3/4 time. Also, in the B section, it feels more like a mazurka in terms of the rhythm. This is one of those cases where I would argue that 6/8 is the true time signature and that 6/8 is used as a triple meter(after all if 6 can be divided by both 2 and 3, no reason that 6/8 can't be triple meter just because it is most often duple meter) Here is a typical polonaise rhythm: And here is the rhythm I feel and see in the B section of Chopin's Heroic Polonaise(and I mean the large scale B section, not the small scale B section within the large scale A section): That is a typical mazurka rhythm. No idea why Chopin would write the B section of a polonaise like a mazurka in terms of the rhythm. Military Polonaise: This one has clearer 3/4 feel to it. Also it sticks to the typical polonaise rhythm almost to the dot throughout, no section of it feels like a mazurka. Polonaise in C minor: This one is even more rhythmically confusing. Sometimes it sounds like a mazurka rhythm, sometimes it sticks to a typical polonaise rhythm, and other times it just sounds like a waltz rhythm. I guess the rhythmic confusion fits the mood of the polonaise though as does the tempo being on the slow side of Allegro. So is there anything else I have to consider besides the rhythm, form, complexity of melody vs bass, tempo being moderate to fast, and most importantly triple meter when writing a polonaise?
  6. Well, that is a bit ironic because I wrote the melody and bass with the mindset of improvisation and it just happened to end up being easy to break down into motives.
  7. Yes, I am aiming for the Classical style. Why does the Ab make the transition to C minor sound odd? Oh wait, is it because while the melody goes C Bb Ab G, the bass simultaneously goes C Eb C? Because the continued descent to G is pretty simple to explain. I already transitioned to F by descending to Bb. So when I transitioned to C minor, I extended the melodic descent to G. As for the C Eb C in the bass, I was trying to emphasize C minor while staying consonant with the melody since a diminished 7th in a 2 voice texture is just awful sounding, much more so than the full chord is, and stepwise motion would have accented the diminished 7th. So I had to leap somewhere. Leaping to F would have weakened the movement because it would have been a plagal cadence in minor. G just wasn't an option. So leaping to Eb seemed to be the only solution there. Okay, so I can just retitle it Sonatina in C and nobody will then say that it is too motivically based for a bagatelle. Yes, I know, that's why I was asking if I should flush out the bass line to full chords instead of the arpeggiation it is right now. It seems to me that you aren't necessarily wanting me to flush out the bass line to full chords, but rather, adding a countermelody to the bass line with the countermelody sometimes collapsing into full chords so that the momentum keeps going and I have more than just 2 voices in the texture. Yeah, I thought it ended abruptly, but I wasn't sure if I should continue the triplets or do something else, so thanks for the suggestion of alternating sixteenth note triplet arpeggios with eighth note arpeggios. I was actually intending for the first 20 bars to be a period structure, thus the dominant emphasis in bars 7-8. Oh, wait a minute, you're talking about bar 4, right before the triplet motive. Well, it could be iii - IV, E minor moving to F via the triplet motive, E minor would still have tonic function because it is the mediant of C major and thus wouldn't be breaking any harmonic rules, right? Plus the 1 scale step motion between E minor and F would further emphasize the tonic function. Or would iii - IV still be breaking the harmonic rules? I tried to stay consonant with the bass and have any dissonances with the bass resolve.
  8. So I decided that since it might be a while before I get any further progress on it, that I would post what I have so far of my bagatelle. I am composing a bagatelle and it is turning out to be sort of a hybrid between your typical bagatelle and a sonata. However, even once the piece is finished, it would be too short for me to put Sonata in the title(5 minutes at most, that isn't long enough for an entire sonata). I mean, I guess I could call it the Sonata Bagatelle but then the title would be confusing. Here is how I was planning things out. I was planning to do it in rondo form. At first I thought of sticking to ABACA such as in Fur Elise. But the rondo form quickly expanded to be ABACABA, the typical form of a rondo in a sonata. But I was still planning on having 2 sections in the tonic. That is, until my melodic improvisation lead me somewhere else. This is really when the hybridization of the typical bagatelle and the sonata started happening. And it is why I am asking this question relating to bagatelles and sonata form. I will show both the general terms and the Sonata Form terms here. Here is the First Theme/A section of my bagatelle: And here is its motive division: As you can see, I have a lot of motives here. This means that I can have an extensive development without it being boring or completely unrelated sounding. Here are the motives: Red - Starting motive and its inversion Green - Second motive Blue - Triplet motive Purple - Dominant motive Orange - Scale motive Dark red - Cadential motive Here is my Second Theme/B section: And here is its motive division: As you can see, I have a single motive here, a scale step that descends through the theme. This means that the Second Theme/B section can't contribute as much to the Development/C section as the First Theme/A section can, but it is pretty typical for 1 theme to have more motives than another theme in a sonata form piece. With this, my bagatelle "Exposition" is in this form: ABA The C section, I am planning on having be in the parallel minor. So since I am in C major here, the C section would be in C minor. I have been told that my piece is getting too motivic to be called a bagatelle. But I thought bagatelles could very much be motivic. For example Bagatelle in C minor by Beethoven has a motive that has just 1 note extra but otherwise is almost exactly the Fate Motive. So I'm keeping bagatelle in the title of my piece, for now at least. I might change it to Sonatina if I think it is better suited as such after composing it. But here is what I have so far, the Exposition in ABA form and a short transition into the development. What do you think of it? Should I flush out my syncopated sounding bass line(I'm saying syncopated sounding because it isn't in the truest sense of the word, syncopated, but it sounds like it is) from simple arpeggiation to full blown chords? What about those left hand triplets in the B section/Second Theme? Should I continue those triplets instead of alternating triplets with rests? And is there a better way for me to transition to C minor than the fourth to fifth motion I have right now?
  9. I think you have that talent. You short piece sounds beautiful to me. I personally tend to write long pieces. My shortest piece so far has been like 5 minutes long. My longest piece was easily 20 minutes long. Usually when I hear minimalism, I hear dissonance(or to put it more understandably for you, unpleasant sound). Not so with your piece.
  10. I was told that in a Theme and Variations piece, the first variation is often a faster version of the original theme. Um, how would that work if the original theme is already on the fast end of Allegro like the first theme of Beethoven's fifth, which I am basing The Beethoven Variations off of? The most frequent way I see a speed up in variations is increasing rhythmic intensity, like eighths becoming sixteenths for example. Though I do certainly see increased tempo as well. This shows what I mean, the first 2 variations that Mozart wrote here both have 1 part at original speed and the other being intensified. Here is what Mozart does to vary the theme: Variation Bass Melody Dynamic Tempo Rhythm Other Variation I Normal speed Quarter notes become sixteenths Quieter No change No change Variation II Quarter notes become sixteenths Normal speed Closer to original No change No change Variation III Original speed Triplets instead of sixteenths Getting louder No change Triple meter feel Variation IV Triplets Original speed More variable No change Still triple meter feel Variation V Off the beat on beat 1 Off the beat on beat 2 Variable No change Feels slower because of syncopation Variation VI Intensified in A section, staccato in B section Stacatto in A section, intensified in B section More variable than Variation IV No change Back to on the beat Variation VII Back to quarter notes Keeps the rhythmic intensity Louder No change No change Variation VIII More melodic in nature Rhythmic slowdown Quieter Slower Slower Modulated to parallel minor Variation IX Back to quarter notes Back to quarter notes A bit louder Original tempo Original speed Modulated back to parallel major, poco ritard at the end Variation X Original speed Off the beat sixteenths Louder No change Intensified Variation XI More melodic A bit elaborated but not much Quieter Much slower Intensity is down a little Variation XII Constant sixteenths Lots of ornamentations Loud Much faster Intense Time signature changed, longest of them all But the theme that I am basing my Theme and Variations off of, the first theme of Beethoven's fifth, is already intense, both dynamically and rhythmically, what with the constant presence of the Fate Motif and the tempo being on the fast end of Allegro. It isn't like the theme Mozart used in my example, which was slow and nocturnal feeling. It is much easier to intensify a nocturnal theme than it is to intensify an already intense theme. In fact, intensifying a theme that is already both rhythmically and dynamically intense sounds like a recipe for disaster.
  11. I honestly think that atonality has ruined classical music and that we need something like a Classical Period Revival. I compose my music with this in mind, focusing on the classical and romantic periods as far as influence. It isn't that I don't like say Shostakovitch, a modernist. I do, mainly because even in his most dissonant works, he stays tonal. In fact, a few people have said that my Waltz in C minor sounds like Shostakovitch, when I was actually aiming for a more Beethovenian vibe to it(thus the use of the Fate Motif and fitting it into a waltz rhythm). But I absolutely do not care for Schoenberg and his atonality because atonality means extreme dissonance and could mean a dissonant ending that never resolves. That is just wrong. 12 tone writing, sure, I don't mind as long as I can harmonize it with a completely tonal chord progression. Complete atonality, absolutely not except in a few cases like Mars by Gustav Holst, where it sounds more like competing keys than true atonality. Extreme dissonance that nevertheless resolves, absolutely, that is very typical for Beethoven, my absolute favorite composer. Extreme dissonance that never resolves, no, it's just wrong. Polytonality, again, I don't mind it, and I have used it a few times, but only with keys that guarantee consonance, such as C major and A minor being played simultaneously. C major and Eb major is another one of those consonant key pairs, but to me at least, it doesn't sound polytonal in most circumstances. Instead, it just sounds like the whole thing is in C minor, even if it breaks down into a melody in Eb and a bass line in C. As for originality. I think that as long as it isn't a complete carbon copy or very simple tweaks compared to the source, it is original. So if the melody and bass are the exact same but the instrumentation is different, original. If the melody is tweaked and the bass is completely different, original, If both are completely different, original, And of course improvisations like my Waltz in C minor would be original as well. As for whether I would consider the piece that I have recently been working on, The Beethoven Variations, which is based off of Beethoven's fifth, to be original, I would because of multiple reasons listed here: Different instrumentation from Beethoven's fifth(String quartet in my piece vs Orchestra for Beethoven's fifth) I'm only taking the first theme of the first movement as a basis for my piece, nothing else I'm composing a Theme and Variations, and it is very typical for the variations to be original to the composer who wrote a Theme and Variations, while the theme is from a different composer or is a folk song or nursery rhyme
  12. So I once tried to do a Theme and Variations based on the A minor section of Rondo Alla Turka, which, that section is already in ternary form, the most common form used in a Theme and Variations. But I didn't get very far with it. So I decided to try doing a Theme and Variations again, but this time with a different composer as the root of it. Specifically, I went with Beethoven and even more specifically the first theme of his fifth symphony. To make it easier on myself, I went for a string quartet arrangement of it, so that is what you will hear and see in the Original Theme part of my Theme and Variations. I also started working on Variation 1, which I decided would be a fugal variation. Once I get past the exposition of the fugue, which is the first phrase of the theme(that initial unison phrase), I'm not sure what to do to make it fugal but at the same time still have that Beethoven's fifth feel to it. That is probably going to be the hardest variation to compose, this fugal variation. What do you think of it so far?
  13. I don't think so. Duets rightly have their place in the Chamber Music section.
  14. I'm composing a piece in E minor that I want to sound like you are lost. I already start getting that feeling just by being in E minor. Here are some things that I have decided on. Instrumentation - Flute Piano Duet Tempo - Lento espressivo(slow and expressive) Starting harmony - F#°7 Resolution chord in second measure - E minor I was thinking that if I want my piece to sound like you are lost, then maybe I should concentrate on the lower register for both the flute and the piano. As such, the piece would be more dynamically reserved, so as to not be impossible for the flutist(a true forte in the low register of the flute is impossible). I was also thinking of having more minor than major harmonies in it. Minor harmonies would reinforce that lost feeling. Major harmonies on the other hand would try to turn it around. Of course, there has to be some major harmonies, otherwise it will feel like constant modulation. Chromaticism would also help reinforce that lost feeling. I usually don't go all that chromatic but I might want to with this piece. Speaking of modulation and chromaticism, I was thinking of not modulating until some chromaticism hints at a new key. For example, if Eb appears more often in a phrase than previously, I might then use that Eb to modulate to C minor. Would anything else that I haven't thought of help get across the feeling of being lost?
  15. I love your waltz. It sounds pretty. But I wouldn't describe it as just being pretty. It has this effortless grace to the melody but at the same time doesn't sound complicated. If Mozart wrote a waltz, it would probably sound similar in style to your waltz. Chopin waltzes have an effortless grace but they are much more complicated than your waltz, not necessarily from the notes themselves but from the tempo.
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