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Everything posted by caters

  1. So, I'm writing a woodwind quartet piece and something that just crossed my mind is that maybe I'm having the 3 upper woodwinds too far away from the bassoon in pitch. In particular, I'm wondering if I have the clarinet too far from the bassoon in pitch since the clarinet is the alto of the standard woodwinds(not saying that it doesn't fill in the soprano role, it's just more mellow in the alto range). Oboe would be mezzo-soprano and flute would for obvious reasons be soprano. This leaves the bassoon to cover both the tenor and bass. So, here are the first 4 chords that act as an introduction to my woodwind quartet piece before you really get into the melody. In my piece, it sounds more like arpeggios, but for convenience, I will spell them out like chords here. Now, this image was taken with Concert Pitch on in my notation software. I did this to make it easier to see relations between the Clarinet and the other woodwinds. As you can see, I have the Bassoon and Clarinet in 10ths. The Clarinet and Oboe are in thirds. And, for the most part, the Flute and Oboe are in fourths with the only exception being the final chord where the flute leaps up a fifth and is thus a 9th away from the oboe. I had the flute leap up instead of continuing the descent for register reasons(C4 to A4 is weak on the flute, especially when you have the oboe and clarinet in close proximity, low register on the flute is better for a flute solo than 4 part harmony). The range between the Bassoon and the Flute is 2 octaves for the first 3 chords and 2 octaves + a fifth for the final chord, so I would say I have a pretty good spacing between the highest and lowest of the woodwinds. Between the 2 double reeds, there is a distance of a twelfth. So, is this a good spacing for the woodwind chords or does this need to be improved? Are the Bassoon and Clarinet too far? Are the Oboe and Flute too close?
  2. I have seen beaming over rests in not just modern scores but also a few pieces of older repertoire like *ahem* Beethoven cadenzas, be it in a concerto or as simply a virtuosic measure or 2 before going to his normally simpler notation. I personally, generally don't beam over rests unless I have like 32nd note passages with little breaks at irregular intervals. Beaming over rests in that situation helps the pianist(or player in general) find his/her place within the 32nd note virtuosity. But sixteenths at irregular intervals? No, not even at super fast tempi. Sixteenths are slow enough that the player should be able to find his/her place without beaming over rests, even at Prestissimo.
  3. Alan Belkin together with Thomas Goss have helped me blossom as a composer over the past year. So has this rainstorm of compositional ideas that I have been in for months. I have been watching Thomas Goss's MOOOC T1 course on string scoring and Alan Belkin's Analysis for Composers course a lot lately. And after watching the 2 videos that Alan Belkin has that are specifically about concertos, I had a revelation. You see, I have been having trouble writing a string quartet over the past 2 years. Multiple incomplete attempts where I write the first theme in full and sometimes even the transition in full, but reach a musical fog once I am at the second theme. I think Alan Belkin may have helped me crack the mystery as to why I have never written a complete string quartet piece or even a complete string quartet movement, yet can write for duet and even trio quite easily and why I find orchestral repertoire easier to write than quartet repertoire(no, I'm not joking, that's the way it has been for months). As I am thinking of writing a string quartet for the third time and trying to get at least 1 movement finished if not the entire piece, I see so many concerto-like options within the confines of the quartet, these just being a few: String Quartet plays tutti -> Like an orchestral moment in a concerto Single instrument plays a solo over accompanying figures -> Soloist vs Ensemble, most often in string quartet repertoire, the solo lines are given to the cello(though I don't know why it is the cello that most often gets the solo line in string quartet repertoire and not say the viola(which I think of as an Alto violin whenever I write for it) or the violin, is it the range that makes cello solos so popular amongst all string instrument solos?) First Duet against second Duet -> Like the Andante of Beethoven's Fourth Piano concerto, different ideas that don't come together until later Duet playing over accompaniment -> Very much like the Brahms Double Concerto Equal partners, but coming at different times, starting on different notes, and in different octaves -> Fugato, soloists and orchestra are equals or it is only the orchestra, doesn't matter, tension builds up regardless As you can see, there are many analogies possible to make between the string quartet and the concerto. Likewise, there are just as many possible analogies between the string quartet and the piano sonata. It really is a beast of its own, with the dynamic, pitch, and articulation range of a piano(the extra octave is a lower octave for the piano and a higher octave for the strings), but with the homogeneity yet easily contrasting sonority, like that of the orchestra. I have had trouble writing a string quartet in the past, despite score reading and listening to a lot of string quartets before writing my own, with the most frequent string quartets I listened to being those composed by Mozart, which I would often listen to in compositional order, i.e. listening to Mozart's first string quartet first, his "Dissonance" quartet nineteenth and so on. I wonder if that is because I was thinking to much along the lines of piano sonata scoring + adaptation for strings. Because in the past, I have seen the piano sonata and the string quartet as being quite similar in that: Instrumentation stays the same throughout A lot of contrast is made between and within movements. For example listen to the first and final movements of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Lots of contrast within each movement. But you probably also notice quite a bit of contrast between the 2 movements. To my ears, they both sound joyful, but like different kinds of joy, with the first movement having a more celebratory or triumphant joy and the fourth movement having a joy that is more like that of a child skipping around. Similar number of melodic lines. In the piano sonata, 1 or 2 of these are often hidden within the harmony and don't sound like melodies in their own right. In the string quartet, everything sounds like a melody, even the bass line. Would thinking along the lines of concerto scoring instead of sonata scoring help me get past the hardest part so far of writing a string quartet, writing the second theme? Granted, I have never written a concerto, but I have listened to several including perhaps the most complex concerto I have ever heard, Beethoven's Triple Concerto for piano, violin, and cello, thinking about how the soloist and orchestra relate as well as relations between soloists as the piece progresses.
  4. You know you can export mp3 files from your musescore files right? I do that all the time when I post my own pieces.
  5. That's okay that you gave me a long critique, it's not like you said it in a negative tone or anything. As for the scalar material in the transition, that was inspired by Mozart's own K 545 sonata, which has a similar length of scalar material in a similar location. You can even see that K 545 inspiration in how I treat the bass in that section, first and last eighth note only in each bar(in the K 545 sonata, it is first and last quarter note but otherwise very similar). Other spots inspired by the K 545 sonata include: First few bars, particularly obvious in the first bar with the arpeggio figuration in the melody Bars 16-19, Similar arpeggio alternation followed by chords Bars 36-43, Sequence followed by arpeggio figuration and then a chord Bars 53-57, Sequence used for the purpose of modulation, similar to the end of the K 545 second theme in structure Bars 66-69, Arpeggio alternation followed by chords, similar to the end of the K 545 transition Spots analogous to the first theme, transition, and closing theme of the exposition of the sonata(basically everything but the Ode to Joy theme) The second movement isn't really inspired by a specific Mozart piece, just Mozart's melodicism and counterpoint usage in general. And then there is the rondo third movement where I take a very famous motif from Symphony no. 40, put the rhythm in retrograde, and extend the range of the motif from a step to a third and use off kilter sixteenth note arpeggios to keep up the momentum in the A section of the rondo between utterances of the 40th Symphony motif and have scales in mostly contrary motion. That 40th Symphony motif keeps being used in the C section along with ideas from the B section as it modulates through the minor keys, lands on C major and then modulates further towards the Bb major tonic for the next A section.
  6. So, you're suggesting that I double the length of all the notes of the first theme and consequently the transition(I take a motive from the first theme and sequence it for my transition, adding some countermelody between entries of the motive in each instrument), even the already long double half notes? Thus turning this: into this:
  7. I guess not, since I have already gotten started on a more lyrical second theme(I have the cello melody of the second theme settled, and now I'm figuring out how to accompany it in the piano) for the piece. It's just that I have never had a tempo mismatch to this degree before, even with dotted rhythms and sixteenth note rich pieces, so I wasn't expecting my "Adagio" to feel like an Allegro. At most I was expecting maybe a slow Andante feel if there was going to be a tempo mismatch.
  8. Okay, so I am writing this "Adagio" piece for piano and cello after a bout of composer's block. At the beginning 8 bars, I have a very rhythmic theme in C major. This rhythm gives the feel that it is at an Allegro tempo. But the tempo that is notated is an Adagio tempo, thus the Adagio in the name of the piece. There are 3 options that I could do as far as the tempo is concerned. Here they are: Option 1: Adjust the time signature to make it fit into an Allegro tempo This is one of my options, changing the time signature to make it an Allegro tempo. There is just 1 problem with that. My piece is in 3/4. If it were in 4/4, I would change it to 8/8. If it were in 2/4, I would change it to 4/8. But changing to 6/8 is going to change the meter from triple to duple. If I change it to 9/8, I would have to calculate how much a dotted eighth and a sixteenth in the original 3/4 would correspond to in 9/8. And of course, this would mean changing the name from Adagio in C major to Allegro in C major Option 2: Adjust the melody so that the syncopation is on the eighth note rather than the sixteenth note This keeps the notated tempo and time signature the same. And it makes the piece sound like it is at an Adagio tempo. But then, my already long notes such as dotted half notes are probably going to be too long. So, I don't know how well this option would work. Option 3: Leave the first theme alone and let the second theme give that Adagio feel to the piece This conserves the entirety of the rhythmic first theme as it is. To contrast the rhythmic first theme, I would have a more lyrical second theme. This second theme would feel like it is at an Adagio, subverting the Allegro expectations of the first theme. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do for my piece to resolve this tempo disagreement? Here is the first theme:
  9. The tempo of my piece is quarter note = 65 BPM, though with all the sixteenths I am writing for the piano, it is turning out to sound more like an Allegro than an Adagio, making me consider changing the time signature to an eighth note time signature.
  10. I am writing a piece for cello and piano and I'm wondering, is there any rule of thumb as to which double stops are easy and which ones are difficult on the cello? I know that for example an octave double stop is harder on cello than on violin, but how much harder? I have no experience playing a bowed string instrument, so all I really know is this: I have tried looking up charts of possible double stops, but I rarely find them for violin, so it would probably be even rarer for cello, despite the similar commonality of the 2 instruments. So, I can't just look it up online and write down the double stops in order of easy, intermediate, difficult, not just because of the rarity of double stop charts, but also the variability in the size of the cellist's hand. On the violin, this hand size variability is a non-issue, as most double stops an octave or smaller are easy enough. Not so for the cello. So, is there a rule of thumb when it comes to writing double stops for the cello as to which ones will be easier for intervals other than thirds or sixths? Because, I have this harmonic moment here in my piece(which, by the way, is in C major) around bar 8: I know the third is easy, but what about the preceding diminished fifth? How hard is that? You see why I am wanting a rule of thumb for double stops besides thirds and sixths such as fourths, fifths, and octaves?
  11. I personally find it hard to emulate the scoring without it sounding like version 2.0 of a previously composed piece sometimes, especially as the ensemble gets larger. For some composers, this is easier than others. Mozart is quite easy for me to emulate in either solo or chamber ensemble while still being original. Beethoven though, past maybe a duet it gets hard, especially something as well known as the Beethoven's Fifth Finale. I mean, like I can write a piece in the style of Beethoven very well, but like emulating a specific piece or a specific movement and not just the composer in general, that is tricky to get the balance between emulating the piece and being original. Beethoven's Fifth is perhaps the hardest for me to emulate without me thinking: The Scherzo movement is maybe the easiest for me to emulate while still being original(small, mysterious, quiet, sudden growth in ensemble and dynamic, etc.) and the First movement and the Finale are both hard for me to reach that balance between the Beethovenian power and the originality of the melody that I composed. So, when I do reference say the First movement, I only really evoke it through the motive and maybe dynamic, but even that motive, I don't have like the bass clef respond to it motivically, otherwise, I risk too much of getting comments saying that I am borrowing from the First movement when I'm not. Speaking of the Finale of Beethoven's Fifth, I listened to a video with score several times, and I notice this happening in the brass: Melodic -> It is pretty much only the horns and trombones that get this melodic role, I haven't seen a melody for trumpets go by even after looking at a video with score several times Doubling of woodwinds -> This happens especially in the first theme with that ascending C major triad Doubling of other brass -> This happens a lot between the horns and trumpets, especially at forte and fortissimo dynamics Rhythm -> Keeping the Fate Motif in more or less its original form going throughout the piece(I see both the original form, the same form as the unison G, G, G, Eb of the first movement, and the form as it appears in the Scherzo, the same note repeated over and over in rhythm, in the horns and trumpets) Harmonic -> Throughout the piece, often octaves in the trumpets in rhythm and a 3 part harmony in the trombones on beats 1 and 3 So, do you have any advice as to how I can go about emulating the scoring of the Beethoven's Fifth Finale in the C major section of my piece without making it sound too much like the Finale of Beethoven's Fifth?
  12. I didn't think of that but harps are a great instrument for arpeggios. I will consider using the harp in this piece. That does make sense. The bassoon has a reedy but mellow tone to it's notes when in the bass register. In the tenor register, the bassoon, I think projects more at the same dynamic, getting closer to the timbre of the brass. The low register of the flute on the other hand has a quiet and weak tone up to A4. Yes, the cellos will play the upper notes tremolo and the basses will play the lower notes tremolo, giving that octave sound without the difficulty of octave leaps. I didn't think of that but yeah this bass clef melody would be good for the trombones, especially considering the forte dynamic. They have been in more of a harmonization role the entire time, so this would show their melodic capabilities. Thanks for the suggestion. I see Flutes and Oboes in thirds so commonly in orchestral writing, where the Flutes play the upper notes and the Oboes play the lower notes, that when I was thinking of which instruments to have playing in thirds before it moves to the 2 octave arpeggios in the treble clef, I was immediately thinking Flutes and Oboes Ah, the C major section where the music has escaped not just from the key of C minor but also from C minor's proximity. I bet you were thinking of the Beethoven's Fifth Finale when listening to this section and writing your reply to the post. I foreshadow this in the Eb major section where the bass turns into triplets by alternating between Eb major and E minor and then having a G major chord. But, because the whole piece has been intense in multiple different ways, I have a 1 measure rest for the entire orchestra before they jump in to the C major section. This should give the harpist enough time to change pedals to all naturals if I do decide to use the harp in this piece. Oh, those across the keyboard arpeggios. I was thinking of maybe having the double basses sustain the root note of each harmony or perhaps a 3 part divisi if I want them to play actual chords(of course, if I go with this chord option, I would want the notes of the chord quite spread out, so as to not get muddy down there). As for the arpeggios themselves, I was thinking of using a combination of a strings cascade and a woodwind cascade, where it goes from the lowest to the highest member of each. So for the strings cascade that would be Cellos to Violas to Violins. Because this isn't a violin concerto, I don't want to make it hard on the 1st violinists by writing notes past the third octave, where the violinists are pretty much going to have to use harmonics to get those 4th octave pitches regardless of whether the harmonics are written into the score or not. So the 4th octave would be only woodwinds. For the woodwind cascade, things would be similar, moving up from the Bassoons to Clarinets to Oboes to Flutes to Piccolo. Again, the 4th octave can be played on the flute, at least up to F#, but it would likely anger the flutists to see me write up to fourth octave E. So not only would the fourth octave be only woodwinds, but it would also be only the piccolo playing that high. Now, during these cascades, I would have at least 2 if not more notes played in unison by 2 instruments so that when 1 instrument drops out, it sounds like it seamlessly moves from 1 instrument to the next. And I was thinking of having the 2 cascades not start simultaneously. So the cellos would start the strings cascade first and then some time later, the bassoons would start the woodwind cascade. If I decide to use the harp, I can have it play the arpeggios as well. Also I realized I made a bit of a mistake with the dynamics at the end of the piece. I go from fortissimo to mezzo forte so that the slow arpeggios don't sound too loud. But at Bar 251, I meant to bring back not just the tempo but also the fortissimo dynamic and I didn't. Oh well, this can be corrected in the orchestral score. The Piano score doesn't have to be absolutely perfect in any circumstance but especially not when I am going to write it for orchestra.
  13. That's very similar to what I do for my piano and duet scores. @aMusicComposer I have finished the piano score to be orchestrated. I put it in the Incomplete Works section as you suggested. If you want to listen to the piano score and look at the orchestrational comments on the PDF here is the link to the thread:
  14. Your welcome. It is the first time I have ever completed a piano score version of an orchestral work. I tried doing the piano score method with my first attempt at a symphony but: 1) I got distracted easily by other composition ideas like String Quartets, Fugues, Solo works, Sonatas, etc. 2) I didn't know as much about orchestration and counterpoint then as I do know 3) I didn't really go into the motivic part of the planning, I only had a narrative to go on And so I never got past the introductory canon of the first movement of that symphony. Maybe I will eventually finish it and my symphony numbers by composition date and finishing date will not match. Or maybe I won't finish it. But I figured that writing a small 10 minute piece for orchestra from a piano score could prepare me for writing a 30-50 minute long symphony, just like how writing a symphony would prepare me for writing a concerto or an opera. Because a symphony is a lot to take on. I mean it is basically like a piano sonata, but taken to the max. Concertos and Operas are even more to take on because you have to consider Orchestra vs Soloist for concertos and Soprano vs Tenor vs Alto vs Bass and Voice vs Orchestra for operas. If I can successfully orchestrate this 10 minute long piano piece, then combining that with my knowledge of how the sonata works, I should be able to write a symphony with few problems. And if I can write a symphony, then I think I can achieve one thing that I have always dreamed of doing ever since I started composing my own works, composing a piano concerto.
  15. I have finished writing down the solo piano version of the piece that I improvised and am wanting to orchestrate. I mentioned it in the first post in this thread, both the piece and the orchestration: As I stated in that thread, it goes through 4 different emotions like this: Lamenting(Beginning C minor arpeggio and quiet melody) -> Dramatic(Loud, Beethovenian outburst) -> Hopeful(Relative major followed by modulation to parallel major) -> Joyful(C major at last, the music breaks free from C minor) It took me a bit more than a week to write down the piano score. Main reasons are distraction and just taking a break by composing another piece. The PDF of the piece has a lot of orchestrational comments relating to motives and instrumentation. There is a section where I have a solo in the bass clef and it feels like every measure has a different downbeat. This is the section: There are 2 different ways that I could express this downbeat change, consecutive time signatures and accent marks. This is what it would be if I changed the time signature consecutively: And that is just to match the downbeat with beat 1 during the solo. Wow is that a lot of consecutive time signature switching. At least it is gradually adding and subtracting beats to the bar and this excerpt is from the second slow section but still, that's a lot of time signatures in quick succession. And the sixteenths won't beam right in the 5/4 in Musescore. I have run into that issue every time I write in 5/4, that the beaming does not look right. For eighth notes, that's not much of an issue, but it gets much worse with sixteenth note beaming Whereas, if I were to use accent marks, this is where I would put the accents while keeping it in 4/4: Much simpler, since there are no time signature switches. However, would this sound like a downbeat when the full orchestra gets involved? Here is the score with the orchestrational comments and the MP3. What do you think of the piano score itself and my orchestrational comments?
  16. I have had this idea come time and again for me to write a suite about different types of weather. However, when I think of the different types of whether in musical terms, each one is different. Here is what I think of when I think of different types of weather in terms of music: Sunny: Glory of the major key, no hint of minor, Majestic sound, Moderate tempo, Graceful melody over nice sounding chords with maybe even a fugato thrown in in the middle of the piece, More likely to be a sharp key, Plagal motion Windy: Lots of melodic motion, even in the bass, Emphasis on scales and arpeggios, Minor or major, depends on the context(just a breeze or a light gust, Major, a strong gust, Minor), Tempo also depends on context Cloudy: Moderately slow tempo, Like Sunny in that it is a melody over chords with maybe a contrapuntal section, but the contrapuntal section doesn't amount to a fugato, just free counterpoint, Minor key Rainy: Slow tempo(like Adagio or slower), Lamenting, melancholic melody in a minor key, Pulse kind of like the human heart to represent raindrops falling, Exchange of bass and melody roles between hands, Never breaks completely free from the minor tonality for the entire movement Thunderstorm: The dramatic climax of everything, Diminished chords used as dominant substitute and to modulate, Loud dynamic overall, with only a few quiet sections, Chord progression in the bass representing the rumbling thunder, Chords in the right hand representing the lightning strike, Minor key(in particular, I always tend to gravitate to C minor for this, probably has to do with my Beethoven influence), Melodic chaos that somehow doesn't sound wrong, Lots of turbulent octaves in the bass, Presto tempo, Calm interlude before the next movement Snowy: Major key, More grace notes and staccato to represent the snowfall, Glistening melody to represent the beauty of the snow, More likely to be a flat key As you can see, with the exception of the Sunny and Cloudy movements, about the only parallel between movements is whether it is major or minor. 6 movements though doesn't seem like enough. That sharp to flat motion(like for example D major to Bb major) just seems inconclusive to finish with. It feels as though I need a concluding seventh movement. Does this have to be some weather phenomenon like say a rainbow to fit in with the theme of the suite being weather? Or does it just have to be like a coda to all the movements? And, how can I get these disparate movements that work perfectly well as separate pieces to form a cohesive suite when there is so much change from 1 movement to the next. As an example, take the Sunny and Windy movements. The melody goes from being majestic, like the sun, to being fast and uncertain. The bass goes from mainly chords to having an equal melodic role. The key goes from major to minor. The tempo changes. Nothing seems similar about these 2 movements. But if you look at how weather goes from sunny to stormy, the wind precedes the cloudy weather, there might be rain a few days before the storm, and then the storm hits. So, how can I make all of the movements make sense both as separate pieces and as a suite when they, for the most part aren't similar to each other and they don't share a common tonality? In other words, how can I make my suite cohesive when the individual movements aren't all that similar? It was suggested to me by someone outside this forum to have a prelude at the beginning to start the piece as well as a finale that basically functions as a coda of the entire suite.
  17. I myself often use the horns for 2 purposes, those being blending into the woodwinds and harmonizing them, and to provide punctuations that when within a quiet piece and combined with tympani, can foreshadow a sudden forte and make it seem less sudden of a change, like the crescendo of mass has made the difference in the dynamic of volume a bit less. And in orchestral scores or really any ensemble scoring larger than quartet, I always separate the dynamics into 2 types, one of which is dynamic of volume, where the force and speed of the attack is itself adjusted to be at a certain dynamic. For example if mezzo forte is what you achieve with the default attack, forte is going to be a faster and more forceful attack whereas piano is going to be a slower and less forceful attack. The second type of dynamic I think of for quintet and larger scoring is dynamic of mass. A forte of mass means most of the ensemble is playing(say 4 out of the 5 instruments in a quintet score). A piano of mass means only a small part of the ensemble is playing(say the violin and cello in a duet section of a quintet score). A crescendo of mass means that instruments are gradually being added. This often but not always coincides with a crescendo of volume. Similar things apply to the diminuendo of mass, but now instruments are gradually being dropped out. As to why I don't apply this dynamic of mass to say duet scoring, the mass change doesn't become significant enough to feel like a dynamic change regardless of actual dynamic until you get to quintets and larger ensembles. For an orchestra, you can get the illusion that it is doing a creschendo to fortissimo by having the mass gradually increase while keeping the actual dynamic at say mezzo forte. I have been told recently that trombones are not going to overpower the woodwinds and strings if I have them double and harmonize with the woodwinds. If I want a quiet brass chorale and the horns are already blending in to the woodwinds, then I use trombones and get a 3 part harmony. As for trumpets and tuba, those are perhaps my most rarely used brass instruments, especially tuba. Trumpets, I tend to reserve for the loud moments of the piece, because to me, a trumpet sounds at its best when it is playing forte or louder. Of course, a trumpet can play quietly, but I remember trying to play the trumpet once and I would always, always get a forte dynamic if not fortissimo. My mom once put in a sock to try to make the trumpet quieter and it just blew out of the trumpet, with no changes in dynamic or tone whatsoever. My trumpet had the standard length of tubing for a trumpet but super compact, so the trumpet would fit in a 10 inch wide case. And as for the tuba, I only use it when I want a large orchestra to begin with(so an orchestra with bass clarinet? More likely to use a tuba. An orchestra with only the piccolo and contrabassoon as woodwind auxilliaries? Not likely to use a tuba.) and I also reserve it for loud moments and I use it to solidify the bass provided by the cellos and double basses or as the bass line in a brass fanfare(but if the orchestra isn't that large, I will use the trombones for that bass role).
  18. Yeah, maybe that would work, because, while I might have the entire piece that I improvised written out for solo piano in a few days, the orchestration, taking the solo piano version and expanding it out to an orchestra, that is going to be what takes the majority of the time with the piece.
  19. Okay, I will upload the solo piano version, and I think I will upload both the audio and the score of the solo piano version, possibly with some text describing what I am thinking will instrumentally fit certain moments. So it will take some time for me to have it ready to upload. Where should I upload it when it is ready? In the Composers' Headquarters?
  20. I thought I would ask this because there have been several times, including right now where I thought: Currently, I am thinking about whether to write this piece I improvised on the piano for orchestra or to stick to a smaller ensemble. On the one hand, I feel more comfortable writing for a quartet than an orchestra. On the other hand, the piece I improvised does sound orchestral in nature, like it could easily be taken from piano to orchestra and then added to and tweaked until I find the perfect orchestral sound. With the orchestra, I also have to think things like: This piece that I have improvised, I'm calling it for now Escape from the Minor Trap, since I have the piece start in a minor key and it escapes that minor landscape. A minor chord does show up in the final cadential progression, the minor tonic even, but, it doesn't trap everything back in the minor key, the tonic major immediately following it surpasses the minor tonic. Like there is a glimpse of minor on the horizon and then its gone. This piece has quite a bit of emotional development in it, having all of these emotions in it: Lamenting(Beginning C minor arpeggio and quiet melody) -> Dramatic(Loud, Beethovenian outburst) -> Hopeful(Relative major followed by modulation to parallel major) -> Joyful(C major at last, the music breaks free from C minor) All those emotions and the way the piece develops from this sorrowful lament in C minor to a joyful ending in C major is part of what is swaying me towards writing it for orchestra. Anyway, there have been times where I went from piano to orchestra and there have been times where I dove straight into writing a piece for orchestra. I find that for me, it is easier to adapt a piano improvisation for orchestra or even to improvise short little motifs on the piano that I then develop in the orchestral score(which is what I'm doing for my second attempt at a symphony) than to just dive straight into writing a piece for orchestra without the piano as a starting point. Without the piano as a starting point, I get overwhelmed very fast by just deciding how to begin the piece. With motifs or an entire piece improvised on the piano, I have something to look at and listen to when I get to the point of feeling overwhelmed about what to do next in the orchestral score. What do you do for your orchestral compositions? Do you start straight away with the orchestral score and simply write the piece with no adaptation steps? Do you improvise as a soloist, either a significant portion of the piece or the motifs you want to use, write them down, and have it handy when writing the orchestral score? Do you write the entire score for a piano duet or a string quartet or some other chamber ensemble and then expand it out to the full symphony orchestra?
  21. I am thinking of writing a Theme and Variations based on a sonata. With sonatas, I tend to gravitate towards the first movement, which is most often in sonata form, and this poses a bit of a problem. Namely, where to cut off the theme and start variations? With rondos and symphonies, this cutoff point is clear, but for different reasons. In a rondo, it is clear because it is the section that comes back multiple times. In a symphony, it is clear because of orchestrational changes that coincide with the change in theme. With piano sonatas, not really, especially Mozart sonatas. Obviously, I would be including the first theme, but often the first theme ends on a half cadence, and the transition ends on the same chord as that half cadence, but is modulating in the process. This is what gives the smooth movement from one theme to the next in a sonata. So the first theme on its own or even combined with the transition feels like an incomplete entity, like it has been amputated, even at the last phrase ending. But I don't want to include the entire sonata exposition if I don't have to. Especially because the second theme tends to be more developmental than the first theme anyways. As an example, take Mozart's Piano Sonata in F major K 280. These are the 2 possible cutoff points that don't include the more developmental second theme: Either way, I'm going to have to add an F major chord at the end of the theme. I don't feel comfortable ending a melody at a half cadence or a modulation to the dominant, just to repeat the entire melody with embellishment, because then it feels like every variation is incomplete. But where should I cut off the theme, add the F major chord, and start the variations? At the end of the first theme and before the transition? Or at the end of the transition before the second theme arrives? On the one hand, if I cut it off at the end of the first theme, I don't have to worry about embellishing triplets or having it feel too developmental(like mid theme developmental, not variation developmental). On the other hand, if I cut it off at the transition, I have more wiggle room for variations and thus can probably do more variations than if I just have the first theme alone. Mid theme development is also one of many reasons I don't usually use the slow movement as my source of melodic and harmonic material in a Theme and Variations. I have been given the suggestion, given that the sonata ends at the dominant at both of the possible cutoff points, to move from one variation immediately to the next with no pause and only tack on the tonic chord at the final variation. Wouldn't that mean that each variation cycles 1 sharp on the circle of fifths and thus the final variation would need an extra long coda to modulate back to F major and provide conclusiveness? I'm used to sectioning off my theme and each of the variations so that there is some pause between each one. Most Theme and Variations pieces I hear, likewise have small but noticeable pauses between each of the variations. So, once I figure out what sonata I want to do a Theme and Variations on, where should I cut off the theme, add a tonic chord, and start writing the variations? Should I cut it off at the first theme to avoid too much mid theme development? Should I cut it off at the transition to have more wiggle room for variations? Or should I let the length of the first movement of the sonata dictate that for me(long exposition, just the first theme, short exposition, first theme and transition)?
  22. When I think of Spring, I think of the warming temperatures, the days upon days of rain, the blooming flowers, the new growth, and the birdsong. I figured that Flute and Piano would be the best duet to evoke this, so that is what I went with for my piece. The only structure I went with at the beginning was a basic arc of the piece. I knew I was going to have changing tempos in it. It wasn't until later on, after composing a lot of the piece, that I knew the structure in more detail. What I did know was that I would be using expansion of multiple types throughout the piece. Even just going from minor to major is an expansion. I think it turned out well, though maybe I should modify the D minor and E minor entrances in the Molto adagio so that it isn't rote repetition starting at different pitches. Or do you think the solo passage adds enough contrast that I don't need to modify the Molto adagio? I'm also wondering if I should add a crescendo through the final flute cadenza, where I make it sound as though the flute's cadenza is coming out of the piano and have the final chord of the piece at fortissimo. What do you think of my piece?
  23. If that's the case, you could argue that Beethoven is the antecedent to atonality, since he often emphasizes non-chord tones by putting them on the downbeat and uses a lot of non-chord tones, both melodically and harmonically. That just doesn't sound right to me. He is the composer who mapped out the entire tonal landscape and he frequently modulates to distant key areas. As an example, take Rondo a Cappricio. How do you think you would pull off a G major to Bb major modulation? Beethoven pulls it off with a single G minor chord which then leads to 2 very typical sequences, first a circle of fifths sequence in Bb: and then a very typical cadence to Bb:
  24. Hmm, yeah, maybe that's why I felt like the rhythm was in 5/4, yet somehow, seamlessly fitting into 4/4. In retrospect, listening to this rhythm that you said I was playing in the video, and listening to the video itself, besides the difference between Musescore soundfont and actual piano sound, it sounds identical to the chords in the video.
  25. I consider my own music to be a mix of Classical and Romantic values. Let me explain that further. My phrase structure often is in typical forms for the Classical Era, sentences and periods. But, I don't simply stick to chords common for the Classical Era. Sometimes I use an augmented triad, which I have heard some people call "the +5 chord" or "the yearning chord". Sometimes, if I want to achieve an ambient atmosphere, I use minor seventh chords, the most peaceful sounding seventh chords in closed position. Sometimes, I even use a root position Neopolitan or a second inversion Neopolitan. I most commonly use these as part of a circle of fifths sequence and with the root position Neopolitan, I resolve it down to the tonic, usually minor, as though it is part of a subtonic seventh chord if you know what I mean(so Db major moving down to C minor tonic for example as though the Db major is really just part of a Bbm7). I tend to concentrate on the melody and then fit the harmony into it. Though there are some pieces where I go the other way, starting with the harmony and then deriving a melody from it. If you look at my earlier works and then my later works, you can see that my earlier works tend to be harmonically simple, with most of the motion coming from a single melodic line. Whereas in my later works, you see a lot more motives and counterpoint and instrumental dialogue in general. And while there are some pieces where I'm like "I'm going to write this in the form of a Rondo" or whatever, a lot more of my works have become tone painting works. Even my second attempt at a symphony is itself a tone painting. The form on the small scale is like Mozart. The form on the large scale is like Chopin or Debussy, just flowing from 1 section to another. The harmony is a lot like Beethoven, especially in my minor key pieces and even more especially in C minor. The way that the melody is built is also a lot like Beethoven in quite a few works of mine, simple building blocks forming a complex melody as the motive gets twisted and expanded and contracted and as the rhythmic and melodic parts of the motive divorce and come back together. When it isn't like Beethoven, the melody is more like Chopin, virtuosic and ever so flowing. But even Chopin doesn't avoid melodic motives alltogether. An example of a more motivic Chopin piece is his C minor Prelude. Even though one could argue "There is no bit of melody, it is just chords" there actually is a melodic and rhythmic motive hidden within those chords. So I guess you could say that my music is neo-romantic because it tends towards Beethoven and the early romantic composers, especially Chopin in terms of harmony, melody, etc. with a bit of neo-baroque thrown in, as my counterpoint tends to be like Bach's, individual melodies simple, entire result complex and even virtuosic.
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