Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
w.shipley

Naming a piece.

Recommended Posts

Hey, all.

So, sometime last fall I wrote a piece for piano that is very Baroque-inspired, but I'm having trouble naming it. Any tips for helping name a piece of music? The music flows but I have writers' block when it comes to naming things. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baroque piece you say? Prelude, Fugue, Fantasia, Canon, Gigue, Sarabande, Aria, Rondo, Invention...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Baroque piece you say? Prelude, Fugue, Fantasia, Canon, Gigue, Sarabande, Aria, Rondo, Invention...

Most of these only work well when you had that specific thing in mind to begin with though. Some of these are more free of course, like the aria, fantasia, or prelude, but it might be weird to call a piece a Gigue if it isn't written as one :P

I don't think a Baroque-sounding piece needs to have a Baroque-sounding title anyways though. Anything really works. Which, admittedly doesn't make finding a title easier. Is it important though to have a title right away? There's nothing wrong with leaving a piece title-less for a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find titles quite difficult too, unless i have a specific theme or topic in mind before composing. I tend to listen to my piece and try to discover its mood, then i use a thesaurus to make the title a little more jazzed up! My recent one was 'Contrariety' which i thought was a lovely word!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I name pieces after something that inspire me to write (i.e. Paranoia - inspired by a paranoid friend - written for Cor Anglais, Clarinet and String Orchestra) or something it reminds you of (i.e. the Frog) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm personally not fond of using terms in English to name my pieces if I can help it. I usually go with "Waltz", "Scherzo", "Quartet", or ect. and then give it a further name just as Schubert's one quintet is often referred to as the "Trout". If you are writing baroque-style music, or are very traditionalist, I would not wade far from the traditional terms used in names of pieces. But then you need to think.... is it a bouree? A prelude? A minuet? ect...

This reminds me of this thread I started on non-English terms in music... it might be an interesting read for someone:

http://www.youngcomposers.com/forum/tempo-mood-terms-10713.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Entitle it after the structure or form, if it's baroque. If you cannot identify the style, then call it an Ouverture, Praeludium, Prelude, Overture, Praeambulum or Fantasia, followed by 'in [whatver key it's in]'. None of these forms need strict structures, although some lend themselves better to some pieces than others. If it's very slow, for example, calling it a 'Fantasia' would be rather silly (but not necessarily wrong), whilst if it's for a solo instrument, it might be unusual to call it an Overture (but still possible).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... except that some people find such a name dry and boring. That's more of a subtitle than a title, I would think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember what Schumann said: Good music will not be degraded by a bad title, but bad music cannot be made good by one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice quote by Schumann there :)

Since my more recent compositions (that is, since September), I have found myself first thinking of a title, and then doing some research on the topic and then writing the music. However, the most recent work I wrote (a string trio) was written without a title in the beginning, and I had loads of difficulty to think of a title later on, but I did find one which fitted just perfectly :)

I think I do this with the titles for two reasons. The first one is that, when I have a title and then I write the piece, it's like having a well-stated mathematical problem and having to solve it. But that's because I feel maths a lot in me and I totally love them (maths and physics).

Secondly, this is exactly how I wrote poems. I think of a title, then write a poem about it. The few times when I've written poems without titles, I've left them untitled, simply because I believe the title says a lot about the poem, so I wouldn't be able to say as much with an artificial title as I would with a title from which the poem was written organically. Unless, of course, I think of a title which bears similar importance to the poem and is related to it in a neat way, in which case I write one.

But that's just me :) I think (I am not sure) we live in the 21st century now, so basically the pieces we write are more than just pieces for the king or pieces written as exercises for our students. So, basically, to me, a title such as "Gigue" is as "dry and boring" as "A Baroque-Inspired Piece For Piano", although I am not saying any of them is boring and dry. It's just that Bach wrote a piece in the specifications of a Gigue, and named it Gigue. What I do is create specifications for a piece named Atlantis, then write it, so each piece has a much more individual character :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unless, of course, I think of a title which bears similar importance to the poem and is related to it in a neat way, in which case I write one.
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't most Poem titles related to the Poem? :S
But that's just me I think (I am not sure) we live in the 21st century now, so basically the pieces we write are more than just pieces for the king or pieces written as exercises for our students. So, basically, to me, a title such as "Gigue" is as "dry and boring" as "A Baroque-Inspired Piece For Piano", although I am not saying any of them is boring and dry.
As long as it holds characteristics of a gigue, calling it a gigue it a title because it describes its history and the piece.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

chopin never named a piece himself, he wanted people to make their own minds about what a piece was supposed to represent. The publishers who printed his music however gave names to his pieces, most of these names being still used today.

so, you can always let it pretty much untitled and leave the audience decide what it represents to them :)

or just name it "bob: the musical"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't most Poem titles related to the Poem? :S

Yes, but can't you write a poem without a title? Yeah, so after doing this, if you don't think there is need for any, or if you don't feel like having any, you might as well not add a title afterwards. That's what I meant :) And I rarely add a title after I've written one, because I started without so it would be more "artificial" for me to add a title later (unless of course I think of a really good title or a title that adds more to the poem). But that's because I personally think that titles of pieces tell a lot about the piece (or poem) and to met they are as important as the piece/poem itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually like to give my pieces a name that means something - especially if the piece is really important to me. Listen to the piece and close your eyes. What do you see in your head when you listen? Ask friends and family to do the same ... what do they see?

For example - i once wrote a piece and when it was complete i listened. some friends and I said it kind of sounded like you were out at sea on a voyage to discover new lands. Therefor, i called the piece "Nautica". I wrote a piece also and when i listened to it (and another friend agreed with me here) it brought back memories of childhood and old friends. So i called the piece "Nostalgia". And then other times the name is just too simple. Like i wrote a main theme for a video game (we will say the video game was called "A VIDEO GAME") ... so ... i titled the composition "A VIDEO GAME Main Theme"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a response to the same question from a different perspective. These are not my words, although I wish I had come up with them

Decide on a central unifying concept for the song

Come up with a title reflecting the concept

Plan out the song to effectively articulate the concept

Execute the plan with an eye toward realizing the concept

Realize I've screwed up big time and failed grievously at all the above.

Give it a random title involving planets and faeries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As long as it holds characteristics of a gigue, calling it a gigue it a title because it describes its history and the piece.

Yes, but one could argue that the title adds nothing to the piece, as you can already hear that it's a gigue. Of course a title doesn't have to add anything to a piece, it can also merely exist for practical reasons (so you can talk about it and it's clear what you're talking about). Personally I always like titles that evoke associations which aren't clearly audible in the piece itself, giving the piece an additional dimension. Many of my titles often appear to have little to do with the piece for that reason, as they don't describe what you already hear, but more hidden aspects of the composition I had in mind. Many people dislike that approach, but it works for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...