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How do you name your pieces?

How do you decide what to name a composition of yours?

Do you decide on a piece's name before you start composing it, after your start composing it, or after you finish composing it?

Do you think the name you give a certain piece is important? In what does that importance consist?

Does a piece's name influence how it is perceived? How?

These questions apply especially to short pieces that may not have a clearly recognized form. They may be called by various different names like bagatelles, studies, etudes, etc. But they also apply to some extent to larger forms. But multi-movement works like "string quartet", "symphony", "piano trio" seem to usually be named either after the instruments they contain, or the number of instruments, or the form. But even if they employ the names of the instruments or the number of instruments in their construction, these names have come to have a connotation of form too. Thus I cannot write a short piece for string quartet and call it my "String Quartet No. 1" (or can I?). Tradition has it that a string quartet should follow a certain form and have several fully developed movements. But I can still compose a short piece For "string quartet". But that leaves the problem of naming it. I think a short piece FOR "string quartet" (i.e. for the same combinations of instruments the description of which has come to be used as the name for a certain type of multi-movement composition for it) thus suffers the "injustice" of having to be named while a full string quartet does not have to and can simply be called a "string quartet".

But is it important to name a piece?

Might one not even bother to name a piece?

Does an unnamed piece suffer in any way?

Does it even come to be neglected?

Would a named piece direct greater attention to itself?

To test the inherent theory in this last question, perhaps we can compare Beethoven's named piano sonatas like the "Pathetique", "Moonlight", "Waldstein", "Appassionata" and "Hammerklavier" and the attention they have received with other equally great nameless piano sonatas by Beethoven like Op. 110 & 111. Do the named sonatas enjoy greater success with performers and audiences? Or perhaps it is the other way round such that the sonatas that enjoy greater fame have come to be named?

Should one follow a tradition of naming pieces? Or should one create one's own names? I have used some names to describe certain types of pieces (like "soliloquy" and "maxim"). I think I have done it in order to retain my freedom in composing and not to have to follow (or possibly be accused of ignoring) the traditions created by already given names.

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I've only ever written short pieces, and most of the time go with something non-descriptive, like "Prelude" or "Sonatina". Descriptive titles seem sort of lame to me, unless they are in a language I don't understand; then it's a string of cool french/german words. Like, what does "Jeux d'eau" even mean.

As far as utility goes, names are needed so you can talk about the pieces. Outside of that is a delicate art of balancing words and connotations. Even in the realm of non-descriptive titles, the choices give great effect. If your piece is called "Nocturne," then I would immediately think of it a scrafty Romantic style copy. Call it "Night Piece," on the other hand, it becomes obviously a scrafty modern era style copy.

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I like to name it after its done, or at least the general overall feel/climax is set, even if its a work in process. My last composition was nameless till I realised it suited a lot the personality of the friend I´ve been crashing on the last few days, Happy, cheerful, balenced, and somewhat predictable, but also dark, dissonant and weird at times. So I named it after her, a short piece called Sabrina,

Problems with art normally suit all arts. An artist could wake up and say "I will paint a painting called "A night in the clouds"" and then by the end of it relized what he did paint was "The dream of a past longering". Who knows? Naming before seems to me like a good pointer, ut a bad plan to stick to. Live with it, get to know it, and then name it.

Oh, and another curious thing about names. They grow meaning on themselves. A silly simple name could turn emblematic just because its realted to something so great. Language is beautiful and alive. Both music and lyric language... Play with it! =)

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Guest Ravel's Hookers

I name musics after pet. I have 2 dog and cat who name I use for piece.

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i name pieces depending on their character

for instance my recent piece had a rather heroic quality so i named it Korra Tiberius Skywalker, i think that's a very distinguished name personally

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Just remember that while rehearsing your piece, the ensemble will shorten the title to only one to three distinctive words, and then laugh when someone calls it by its full name. It might be excessive, for example, to name something: "Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" when no one really will even look at a name that long.

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naming in general conveys the romantic ideal that the piece means something

that is stupid

If it doesn´t, why bother doing it?

There´s a big difference between true humility and admiration and cockyness diguised as it.

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Guest Ravel's Hookers

always try put impressive word in title like "Mankind" and "Fate"

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naming in general conveys the romantic ideal that the piece means something

that is stupid

I've always wondered what's so 'stupid' about writing meaningful music. On the contrary, if all what flows from our minds is a collection of meaningless sounds arbitrarily put together (and quite often under pretentious, esotherical titles), we should be sorry.

Anyway, in my view naming a piece doesn't convey any ideal, Romantic or whatsoever (heh, we all know Renacentists, Baroquists and Modernists did never, ever name a piece :P ). It's just a way to identify a particular piece from any other, just like a child is named to tell him/her from any other human being. When I name a piece, I tend to be quite generic (i.e. Piano Sonata N° 3, String Serenade, Symphony N° 1) - but even then a piece might be trying to convey a message, story or idea of its own, and quite often I'm not afraid of openly stating it (i.e. Adriana Suite, Emma Overture, Northanger Sonata). I don't think that doing either is by any means a symptom of stupidity.

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About naming compositions:

1) generic titles usually comes first for me like: opus numbers and ect.

2) Base on the form I am writing in, that ties in to title and name.

3) The Romantic writers who wrote great programtic works named thier after evocative, descriptitive images in thier powerful. creatives mind.

4) With all of these in mind, I could ensemble or create examble title or name for work like this:

example:

Op. 1 No. 1: A storming evening (For piano)

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I've always wondered what's so 'stupid' about writing meaningful music. On the contrary, if all what flows from our minds is a collection of meaningless sounds arbitrarily put together (and quite often under pretentious, esotherical titles), we should be sorry.

Anyway, in my view naming a piece doesn't convey any ideal, Romantic or whatsoever (heh, we all know Renacentists, Baroquists and Modernists did never, ever name a piece :P ). It's just a way to identify a particular piece from any other, just like a child is named to tell him/her from any other human being. When I name a piece, I tend to be quite generic (i.e. Piano Sonata N° 3, String Serenade, Symphony N° 1) - but even then a piece might be trying to convey a message, story or idea of its own, and quite often I'm not afraid of openly stating it (i.e. Adriana Suite, Emma Overture, Northanger Sonata). I don't think that doing either is by any means a symptom of stupidity.

I am not against the idea of meaning. I have nothing against Romantism. If it matters (not really ;) ), I even prefer it over classicism and baroque.

I have something against the idea that a title is necessary for the experience of the piece. As if the piece otherwise had nothing to say.

Music has something to say. My whole point is that, it is for the listener to decide. Surely the composer can have certain intentions, but in the end meaning is in the eye/ear of the beholder.

That is why I think it is rather useless to guide that listeners experience, that is what I call stupid. The old-fashioned idea that the composer can capture his emotional experience and convey that, as if there us a universal way of how those notes are interpreted...

It is the worst, when the so called 'story' contains certain details that are extra-musical. Take for example the title 'a storming evening'. How does an evening sound different from midday? how does storm sound different than thunder? Has a lament for a tsunami another sound than a lament for an earthquake or a flood or whatever...

I am fine with composers adding contextual data like when and where a piece is written. Interesting for historicans and the likes. I prefer the simple designations, formal names, or just numbers.

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This has been a rather perculiar debate; I, however, travel through all CPE period and even through modern usages of music. Thus, when I compose, I start a musical project abstract or programtic I may or may not have an image in mind.

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Hey guys, I figured I should just come out and be honest about it. Phil, Chris and me were always the same person. I'm actually a bored high schooler from England. Also I am a girl.

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^^^^ Creepy

Hey guys, I figured I should just come out and be honest about it. Phil, Chris and me were always the same person. I'm actually a bored high schooler from England. Also I am a girl.

^^^^^Sockpuppets

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Guest Ravel's Hookers

that song make me feel like world ending and superhero

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Hey guys, I figured I should just come out and be honest about it. Phil, Chris and me were always the same person. I'm actually a bored high schooler from England. Also I am a girl.

I knew it all along :o

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Totally agree about avoiding Romantic cullbrap when naming; words like 'fate', 'destiny', 'tragic' and the like sound like some lame straight-to-DVD anime series. I hate overtly descriptive titles. If you can describe something adiquately in words, what's the point of writing music about it? Ironic, ambigous or pun titles appeal to me, as do lines of poetry (particularly if you can use ...three dots... which makes it impossible for anyone saying the title to do so correctly), and phrases in German and Scandinavian languages (Italian and French sound to close to the prissy Romanticism slated above). Dig the postmodernism, people.

In fact I often don't even name a piece until the dots are finished.

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I do not about that. But cool titles that deride from outside sources or base from literary sources apppease me.

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I also frequently start to think about the title, when the composition is finished. When I was young (up to 25) I had a mixture of "absolute music" titles and romantic programmatic titles (check my sparkles for two flutes, cello and harp for example). Recently several of my titles refer to social situation in the world. One of the pieces is called "At least five times useful", added with guarateed paper that the value won't expire after all five prelude-like movements are performed - as a mockery to recent creation of electronic devices, which frequently fail to work after their 2-year guarancee expires. I have also composed "Three days" for flute, saxophone and piano, recapturing the restless nature of our living, created in three-movement sonatina form. One of the compositions has the title "Illussion trio", refering to the cruel reality of modern, souless life.

Still, I most often write absolute music: Symphonies, concertos, different chamber works with titles refering to instrumental cast.

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Guest Ravel's Hookers

You forgot to begin your post with: "As a professional composer..."

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You forgot to begin your post with: "As a professional composer..."

I do believe chosing titles has nothing to do with professional level. ;)

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