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Muhammadreza

Help me for writing Nocturne and Waltz

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Greetings.

I listened to lots of waltzes and nocturnes, specially those which are composed by my most favorite composer, Chopin, and I couldn't find any "Form" or formula to make a nocturne or waltz.

I have searched about Waltz, and I found it's a piece with 3/4 time signature, and one chord per measure. But, I really couldn't write anything sound like a waltz I heard before. And also, I couldn't find any guides or tutorials on writing a nocturne (I know that's "Music of the night", but anything about form or anything similar?)

Thanks

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Well, they are two very typical music style in romantic, so you can find a lot of excellent examples (besides Chopin: Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Schubert).

Waltz

Yes, the time signature is always 3/4. Most of the time the first beat has the accent in the bass (first tone of the chord usually). Below, I atteched to typical bass-figuration, which are commonly used. The whole piece has usually ABA stucture, many times the return of A is perfect (there is no difference between the two As). The melody usually smooth to complete the bass's repetitive rythm. 

Naturally, the "one chord per measure" is not a rule, the most beautiful waltz pieces are harmonized quite complex, but if you like to compose waltz, you'd better start with this "limit".

I hope, it will be helpful.

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10 hours ago, Aure_liano said:

Well, they are two very typical music style in romantic, so you can find a lot of excellent examples (besides Chopin: Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Schubert).

Waltz

Yes, the time signature is always 3/4. Most of the time the first beat has the accent in the bass (first tone of the chord usually). Below, I atteched to typical bass-figuration, which are commonly used. The whole piece has usually ABA stucture, many times the return of A is perfect (there is no difference between the two As). The melody usually smooth to complete the bass's repetitive rythm. 

Naturally, the "one chord per measure" is not a rule, the most beautiful waltz pieces are harmonized quite complex, but if you like to compose waltz, you'd better start with this "limit".

I hope, it will be helpful.

 

 

Thanks a lot, I read two attached scores, and it seems not that hard to compose a very very simple waltz, even for a beginner like me.

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There is no set nocturne form; it's also difficult to pin down general characteristics, although one can try (and many have).

 

One might even say that there are sub-genres of nocturnes.

 

I suggest you take one of the early nocturnes and write a nocturne based off it.

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53 minutes ago, johnbucket said:

There is no set nocturne form; it's also difficult to pin down general characteristics, although one can try (and many have).

 

One might even say that there are sub-genres of nocturnes.

 

I suggest you take one of the early nocturnes and write a nocturne based off it.

 

Ok, so it means "Nocturne" is a genre, right?
Actually, I was looking for characteristics and styles which are followed to make a nocturne. It seems I should study classic examples of nocturne. Thanks!

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The Nocturno is not a genre.

A nocturne (from the French which meant nocturnal, from Latin nocturnus) is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night.

The nocturne can be in any time signature, any key, etc... Most nocturnes are for piano solo, but there are orchestral nocturne, too.

The "father" of the nocturne is John Field, although the most famous ones are by Choping. You can listen to all of them on youtube (and see the scores).

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58 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

The Nocturno is not a genre.

A nocturne (from the French which meant nocturnal, from Latin nocturnus) is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night.

The nocturne can be in any time signature, any key, etc... Most nocturnes are for piano solo, but there are orchestral nocturne, too.

The "father" of the nocturne is John Field, although the most famous ones are by Choping. You can listen to all of them on youtube (and see the scores).

 

Well, I listened to two of John Field's nocturnes. I found a "nocturne" should be something light, peaceful and something good for a nocturnal gathering or something similar. I try to compose one, and if I have problems, I ask here. Thanks a lot!

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OK, I wrote this as a "Nocturne". I tried to keep it musically right.

 

2 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

@Muhammadreza.  What problems do you have?

I think a Nocturne is (or comes from) a "mood". The form of it is not the most importante.

Nocturne and waltz (Gm)

 

I really want to write good pieces, and this is why I asked this question. Please watch my video and tell me what should I do for my music.

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Well, I don't dare to tell anybody what should he or she do with the music.... Only suggestions, based on the form I understand music, or on how I write it.

I think you want to do something in the romantic style. Yes, the arpeggio is important, but here it is "plain". Very even. You stick in intervals of fifths. Take a look at John Field for example, his arpeggios are very wide, that makes them expressive. Besides, you repeat the pattern in every measure and it makes it less interesting. Also, the way you wrote it is not 3/4, it fits better in 6/8 (two parts with three eighths in each one).

The harmony is ecstatic. You are in A minos, but your progression is something like: Am - Em - C - Dm - Am - Em - C - Dm - Am - C - Dm - Am... There are no dominants chords, so it sounds a bit "always in rest". I mean, you need more rest-tension flow.

Usually, in this style, the sustain pedal is used everywhere, and the legato (slurs) too.

What I like most is the "broken" melody.

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8 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

I think you want to do something in the romantic style.

Yes, of course. My favorite composers are usually from Romantic era. Like Beethoven and Chopin.

9 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

Take a look at John Field for example, his arpeggios are very wide,

It seems I need to study John Field scores more :D

9 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

Also, the way you wrote it is not 3/4, it fits better in 6/8 (two parts with three eighths in each one).

I know. But the problem is culture, in Iran, 6/8 means a dancing music with no regards of art (we call it 6 & 8, and this is very common to call any crappy music 6 & 8). So I prefer to write in 3/4 instead of 6/8 :))

9 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

There are no dominants chords, so it sounds a bit "always in rest". I mean, you need more rest-tension flow.

I know, I used these three chords to make as fast as I can. I also have no modulation or anything similar to make my music better. It was actually "everything I got from a nocturne", but in a brief way.

9 minutes ago, Luis Hernández said:

Usually, in this style, the sustain pedal is used everywhere, and the legato (slurs) too.

I consider this, thanks!

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9 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

The Nocturno is not a genre.

 

You either don't understand or know what a genre is or are assuming a very narrow definition of it.

 

EDIT: Here's some text which I hope may be of some help.

From Jim Samson's 'Chopin and Genre' (1989) in Music Analysis, Vol. 8 No 3:

 

'Genres might be compared with stylistic norms or formal schemata.* All three are abstractions - 'ideal types' - but abstractions whose basic principles flow from actual musical works. All three are based on repetition, codifying past repetitions and inviting future repetitions. Because of this all three can help to regulate the area between content and expression within an individual work, while at the same time mediating between the individual work and music as a whole. Given these parallels and given too the obvious importance of the concepts as agents of communication, it seems worth exploring a little more closely the relationship between genre, style and form, and in particular the differences in their mechanisms.

In its widest sense, especially as presented in some popular music theory, genre is a more permeable concept than either style or form, because a social element participates in its definition, and not just in its determination. In this broad understanding of the term the repetition units that define a genre, as opposed to a stylistic norm or a formal schema, extend beyond musical materials into the social domain so that a genre is dependent for its definition on context, function and community validation and not simply on formal and technical regulations. Thus a genre can change when the validating community changes, even where the notes remain the same. The social dimension can extend, moreover, to the function of genre within the validating community. As several authors have noted in literary and musical theory, a genre behaves rather like a contract between author and reader, composer and listener, a contract which may of course be broken. It is above all in the incorporation of this social element as to definition and function that genre theory in literary and musical studies has developed beyond its presentation in early twentieth-century poetics, notably in Russian Formalism.'

[…]

'Chopin's project and achievement was to give generic authority to the free- ranging devices of an emergent repertory, crystallising the meanings of some existing titles, transforming the meanings of others and devising new titles to meet new generic requirements. In each case there is a measure of consistency in the semiotic relation of the title to the formal and stylistic features of the piece.

As we know, the "sign" is bipartite, and both parts are essential. The title is integral to the piece and partly conditions our response to its stylistic and formal content, but it does not create a genre. Equally a taxonomy of formal and stylistic devices will not of itself establish a consistent basis for generic differentiation. It is enough to consider the substantial overlaps between Chopin's genres in this respect. Without the title we might have difficulty classifying even some of the nocturnes. It is the interaction of title and content which is important.'

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6 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

I think it's the opposite. I understand genre (in music) as something much broader.

But I don't care. Nocturne is a genre, OK.

 

 

19 hours ago, johnbucket said:

You either don't understand or know what a genre is or are assuming a very narrow definition of it.

 

There you go; you are restricting 'genre' vis-à-vis music to its popular meaning, which, as it so happens, classifies music at a much larger scale, and are unaware that the term itself has a much wider range of uses and associated scopes and concepts.

But good. I wouldn't have replied if you hadn't contradicted me so baldly and, as it turns out, without good reason, but at least we agree on something now--superficially as the case might be.

Espero que tengas un buen día.

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 To your question regarding the waltz:

A bare-bones description would be: A dance in 3/4 or 3/8 time signature, phrases with a length of multiples of four (so 8 bars, 12 bars, …) and a bass line that emphasises the first beat, usually by using fuller chords and the utilising the lowest note in the bar. On the second and third beat, usually the same chord is used. If you hear something like oom-pah-pah from the bass, you are probably doing it right. Also, in a simple waltz, the harmony doesn't change in a bar. This has also to do with the fast tempo of a typical waltz (up to 60 bars per minute), except for a slow waltz ;-) 

A typical Viennese waltz has a certain “swing” in it (think Danube Waltz (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9vh-tSZCoI), where the first beat is strongly emphasised in the bass line, the second beat starts a tad too early, the third beat a tad too late. (Which is difficult to reproduce with notation software.)

A very  different type of waltz is from Shostakovich (Waltz No 2 from the “Suite for Variety Orchestra", but often known as "Waltz from Jazz Suite No 2“) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3pv2mAbQ7M). Still, you have this round, “swinging“ melodies and the strong first beat.

Now, a waltz from Chopin is an entirely different matter, with note-rich, complicated melodies. But again, if you listen e.g to the Grande Valse Brillante (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laSh3D_77ZM), and compare it to the other two, you could easily reduce Chopin’s waltz to a “swinging“ danceable waltz by simplifying the melodies. 

Now, this three waltzes are really masterpieces -- not really a good comparison for the first self-written waltzes --, but hopefully they give you some ideas.

Edited by Willibald
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A waltz is a dance, where the feet of the dancers go "1, 2, 3," so you can have a waltz in 6/8 as long as you can still also hear the "1, 2, 3" at least part of the time.  Watch some dancers:  

 

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