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Le Jardin


punintentional
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So I wrote this piece little over a year ago and it was my first time writing for harp. If any of you play the harp, I'd especially appreciate it if you could just have a look through the harp part as you listen,  just to see if there are any mistakes that should be fixed. Also ...

Harp Question:

Should I put pedal diagrams in; leave it blank, so that the harpist can work out the best pedalling for themselves; or somewhere in the middle (like maybe at the beginning and at certain rehearsal marks)?

 

Program Note (if you're interested):

The inspiration for the piece came from Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, subtitled Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, in which Rautavaara incorporates tape recordings of birdsong’s in northern Finland and near the Arctic Circle. In “Le Jardin”, I transcribed the call of the cuckoo and used it as a leitmotif for the middle piece. In “Dawn”, at rehearsal mark A, flute 1 plays a bird song like melody which at rehearsal mark B, is imitated by the rest of the woodwind. This imitation at B represents the birds calling and responding to each other as well as the animals waking up and the day beginning. For the third piece, I wanted a contrast to the first two pieces. I decided to write a light, humorous, polyphonic piece and ants seemed like the clear choice. In “Ants”, I have the melodies enter one after another, like ants walking in a line.

 

 

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I see the inspiration from Rautavaara, but the motive transformation is more of a Messiaen move.
I personally think the arpeggiated part is the weaker portion of the piece. It doesn't really change like Cantus Articus does. It's a little bit overwhelming with the use of trills being really hit or miss in terms of tonality. 
The pedal markings really only need to be used if you know there's something out of the ordinary you're preparing them for the next set of notes. I will say the way you have it written here is not exactly easy to read, so having them in can't hurt.
You should revisit and expand on this! Each section has so much more to give especially the fugue/canon, and could be made to sound a little more cohesive.
Really good job.

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Hi, I've been listening to it again, I was "worried" about the harp part.

It's difficult to write for the harp. I've noticed that the arpeggios are not glissandos (not correlative pitches, mostly thirds) which, on the other hand, wouldn't be possible with so many pedal changes.

But the way it is written,  and the speed they go..., things like this are not possible because you have only 4 fingers (the little ones are never used in the harp) to play notes in a row (and there are five notes), and the score in plenty of it. Regarding the pedal marks, I think you should write the positions at the very beginning, and at the beginning of subsequent sections. Also, if you write a glissando, you have to write the position of the pedals (many times there are enharmonic notes). In between, after reading about this a lot and studying scores for harp (revised by harpists) I think the changes don't need to be indicated, since the harpist him/herself is the one who decides how to play it. But we have to check the changes needed are possible (taking into account the simultaneous pedals and if they are at both sides or not, the timing and speed...).

In addition, I wonder if such speed is possible in a keyboard (celesta).

Sorry but I am very fastidious with this. I don't like writing things that are not possible (by humans). But that's my case. 

597f4903bde5f_Capturadepantalla2017-07-31alas17_09_55.jpg.0f9978440df7a83723b926425d253cb0.jpg

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39 minutes ago, Monarcheon said:

I see the inspiration from Rautavaara, but the motive transformation is more of a Messiaen move.
I personally think the arpeggiated part is the weaker portion of the piece. It doesn't really change like Cantus Articus does. It's a little bit overwhelming with the use of trills being really hit or miss in terms of tonality. 
The pedal markings really only need to be used if you know there's something out of the ordinary you're preparing them for the next set of notes. I will say the way you have it written here is not exactly easy to read, so having them in can't hurt.
You should revisit and expand on this! Each section has so much more to give especially the fugue/canon, and could be made to sound a little more cohesive.
Really good job.

 

Thanks for you're feedback. Much appreciated.

Are there things as well as the pedal markings which would make the harp parts clearer? Like when the harpists are playing the 4 note chords, would it have perhaps been better to have the chord on one stave instead of dividing the notes between the grand staff?

Once I've finished the summer competition piece, I probably revise and expand it. I'll definitely work on the fugue/canon section as it's probably my favorite of the three.

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31 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

Hi, I've been listening to it again, I was "worried" about the harp part.

It's difficult to write for the harp. I've noticed that the arpeggios are not glissandos (not correlative pitches, mostly thirds) which, on the other hand, wouldn't be possible with so many pedal changes.

But the way it is written,  and the speed they go..., things like this are not possible because you have only 4 fingers (the little ones are never used in the harp) to play notes in a row (and there are five notes), and the score in plenty of it. Regarding the pedal marks, I think you should write the positions at the very beginning, and at the beginning of subsequent sections. Also, if you write a glissando, you have to write the position of the pedals (many times there are enharmonic notes). In between, after reading about this a lot and studying scores for harp (revised by harpists) I think the changes don't need to be indicated, since the harpist him/herself is the one who decides how to play it. But we have to check the changes needed are possible (taking into account the simultaneous pedals and if they are at both sides or not, the timing and speed...).

In addition, I wonder if such speed is possible in a keyboard (celesta).

Sorry but I am very fastidious with this. I don't like writing things that are not possible (by humans). But that's my case. 

597f4903bde5f_Capturadepantalla2017-07-31alas17_09_55.jpg.0f9978440df7a83723b926425d253cb0.jpg

 

Don't apologise for being fastidious. If I'm writing for real instruments, the parts should be playable for real people. :)

You definitely have a point about the harp writing. I don't think that the speed of the celesta would be a problem though as it has a very similar mechanism to the piano and I've tried bits of the celesta part at that speed and its been ok.

Also, which bar is that screenshot from. For some reason i can't find it.

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I apologize because I've seen you've been very careful with this issue. In fact, I think this is the only time there are 5 notes. In m. 57, harp 2.

I'd love to study more the art of harp writing. As I told you before, after reading some books on orchestration and some websites (by harpists) I wrote some pieces. But I'm never sure if it is well done. I mean, I know it's OK, but the same phrase can be written in several forms. Which is best? It's even harder than the piano. Now I understand why in chromatic styles (romanticism and later) the composers used two harps. Even in those cases I read that some composers didn't care if what they wrote is possible... But to do that you must be Richard Strauss and write Salomé...

Sorry for the off-topic.

Captura de pantalla 2017-07-31 a las 18.21.57.jpg

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