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This is an ode to family and home in uncertain times.  The tracing of many loved feet over the same path in the yard is a visible, physical reassurance that everyone is safe and accounted for in an age when many people can't count themselves so lucky.  

We start out with each voice part in a different phrygian mode, gather ourselves together into A minor, and only at the very end shift definitely to a more certain sounding and strong C major.  The piano part isn't very pianistic, but it provides sort of a bell tolling to keep the pitch true at the beginning, and then a continuous heartbeat as a reminder of exactly what is at stake when you love another person.  As long as the heart beats we live in the knowledge that some day it will stop.  

I tucked one hidden line in, just for the basses.  Everyone says, "I love the little path your feet have made between the door and shed. It says you were here, and here you'll stay.  And the grass loves summer light too much to mind a little wear."  And the basses say, "Warm grass loves summer light as I love you."  Caring for other people wears us away like footsteps ruin the lawn, and that's what makes us love them.  They change us.  The heat of summer turns the grass brown and brittle and it sings with a thousand summer songs and smells like home.  

If you have any input, I'd love to hear it.  Particularly on the section with the 3/4 and 2/4 bars.  I know I like the way the rhythms sit there, but I'm not sure if I expressed them in the easiest way for the conductor.  I tried conducting my way through it and this was the best I could do to get the stressed beats of the text to line up with the strong beats of the measure, but maybe some of the 2/4s should be 4/4?  

Edited by pateceramics
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The harmonies on this one don't click with me for some reason... this was most apparent during the imitative counterpoint at A. The first measure is fine with a i - VI with a tonic pedal, but the next measure's Dm9/A is not very apparent when hearing it through the first time. It gets more cluttered after that with Bm7b5b9 in m. 28. Because the chords outline a rather standard progression while the melodies don't, the imitation sounds more like a gimmick than an artistic choice. 
This is clearly not a classical piece, but some convention-breaking sounds a little weird when things are taken homophonically. The first chorale at m. 8 does a crossed voice between the tenor and the bass and m. 35 has a double suspension with the eighth notes which is an inverted crossed voice. 
In a similar vein, m. 44 has a parallel 5ths and 4ths layered over a pedal secondary dominant, without a third, which is a neat effect, but contrasts with the measures before and after it. The same thing happens at m. 52.
C, the Ab should be a G#.
m. 55 really confuses me since the B seems to be the dominant of the dominant chord, but it's juxtaposed against a VI chord but with also a G natural in the tenor, creating this weird Am7/F/E polychord which sounds a little rough.
Fleshing out the piano part might help a bit by adding tendency tones and providing a little more movement where things kind of stop in the dramatic arc, but I can see how that may have been intentional.
As for the question about 2/4 v. 3/4, mm. 17-19 seem to be written with something like a 3/2 measure in mind, with 3 big beats with an internal quarter note structure. Everything else in that section seems fine to me.

 

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@pateceramics

My opinion about the 2/4 and 4/4-

it depends on the place where you want the... I don'y know the English word.

Let me think how I explain the way I see it.

Two times 2/4 is this:

....

While 4/4 is this:

....

It's not that big of a difference.

 

Now I'll listen to your piece.

Wait no before I listen- I like the concept of the piece.

I live in... some sort of small village (it's called a Kibbutz I don't think there's an English word for that),

so when I feel down or upset I tend to walk bare feet around the village, on the grass too.

I feel that that way my feet get to breath, if it makes any sense.

So I think I know what you're talking about.

Also now that I have the army concept- there we're not allowed to walk bare feet.

So it also means... freedom in a way.

Now I'll give it a listen (and look at the score).

(Paused around 1:05) 

It feels... ancient somehow, the scales and the way you use the piano.

If I didn't see the words I'd say it's an ancient piece.

Maybe that's one way of yours to talk about times that are far past for you?

 

image.png.b8c879cfe34331c95dbf82a556bff724.png

I haven't seen one of these in a long time.

As far as I know, I haven't seen a melodic minor in... I think half a year?

Since I worked about a mic between an Israeli song and Bach's Bouree?

8 hours ago, pateceramics said:

a more certain sounding and strong C major

I... think I missed it.

image.thumb.png.8b1e411712776302f95dd484fe2655f1.png

Looks like an A minor to me.

I like the words, though the sad part is that one doesn't stay.

One never stays, but the path means that someone was here,

and the grass surely doesn't mind.

 

That's all I have to say,

and my commander said that there's a good chance that we'll only have to be back on Tuesday,

so if you remind me tomorrow I'll listen again and might even find and see some new things I didn't see now.

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4 hours ago, Rabbival507 said:

Looks like an A minor to me.

Oh, my God.  You're right.  I forgot I had changed it, and then changed it back again.  😂

I'm very fond of melodic minor.  Glad you enjoyed that too.  

As for the 2/4 vs. 4/4, I'm just concerned about what is most convenient for the conductor.  It's not a big difference, but it's worth thinking about.  The conductor is a player too, and the more you avoid unnecessary headaches for your players, the less rehearsal time is eaten up dealing with silly things, and the better performances go.  

And it's true.  None of us stay forever.  And that makes it so much more of a relief to know that someone is here now, as a constant in your life, when the times are so uncertain.  The path worn in the lawn is between the back door and the shed where the mower and the garbage can are kept.  The grass is worn there, but that very wear is evidence of a history of care, and with the history of time spent is an expectation of time spent in the future.  It marks an intention.  Love doesn't just spring out of nothingness.  We nurture others, because we are responsible people, and a history of trying to anticipate the needs of others grows love in us for them.  It's the time spent that does it.  Along the way, the very act of caring wears us into new lines in places, and changes both parties.  But if you aren't changed by the people you have known is some way, you didn't really know each other.  

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12 hours ago, Monarcheon said:

The harmonies on this one don't click with me for some reason... 

 

 

Ah, well.  Thanks for taking the time to tell me exactly what didn't work for you.  That's a help to me going forward to know what I can and can't get away with.  You're right that I don't have an interest in writing strictly according to classical conventions, but the ultimate question is, does what I do instead still work for people.  In a few places, I wrote myself into a corner with the vocal ranges and made some compromises as a result.  I tried taking the whole thing down a bit so I'd have more room to play with the soprano line, but I really do like where it sits, for the most part, in A minor.  It keeps everyone in the most ringing part of their ranges, so here we are.  (I know sopranos can sing higher than I have them here, but doing it too often can really hurt someone, particularly for less experienced singers, and I wanted this piece to be accessible to a decent variety of groups.)  I also wanted the choral parts to be tugging against the anchor of the piano part, so the piano is sometimes a fly in the ointment.  It sounds like that particularly didn't work for you.  I'll have to ponder better ways to achieve that going forward.  

Thanks for the catch of the G#/Ab.  Right you are!  And thanks again for taking the time to give me such a thorough review.  It gives me a lot to work on!  

 

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2 hours ago, pateceramics said:

But if you aren't changed by the people you have known is some way, you didn't really know each other.  

Yes, I agree. I don't remember who said that, but one of my favorite quotes is:

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances- if there is any reaction, both are transformed”

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I liked the minor tonality. It seems appropriately brooding for the lyrics. I would change bar 12 to be 4/4 and the bar after to 3/4 because shed gets four beats just like made. Wouldn't it be clearer for the singers and conductor if they ended a long word on beat four instead of beat 1? Then with the next bar as 3/4 you could easily change it to 2/4 if you wanted to tighten it up a bit. I would also re-write the syncopated bars with the 16th notes using ties, unless you're comfortable that singers prefer it as written.

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18 hours ago, Ken320 said:

I liked the minor tonality. It seems appropriately brooding for the lyrics. I would change bar 12 to be 4/4 and the bar after to 3/4 because shed gets four beats just like made. Wouldn't it be clearer for the singers and conductor if they ended a long word on beat four instead of beat 1? Then with the next bar as 3/4 you could easily change it to 2/4 if you wanted to tighten it up a bit. I would also re-write the syncopated bars with the 16th notes using ties, unless you're comfortable that singers prefer it as written.

 

Thanks for taking a look, Ken.  I feel a strong ONE! on the first beat of measure 13 as it stands because the piano moves there, so I'd be more inclined to lop off the tied-over note in the choral parts, but the fact that they spill over the bar line doesn't bother me.  You might be right about the syncopation, though.  To me, it's easier to read as it is, because it's cleaner, and it's a fairly straightforward rhythm, but the beat is definitely obscured.  Hmmm...

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You obviously know what you're doing, so there's no point in soliciting suggestions that you don't pay attention to anyway. And ... why should you? 🙂

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7 hours ago, Ken320 said:

You obviously know what you're doing, so there's no point in soliciting suggestions that you don't pay attention to anyway. And ... why should you? 🙂

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I still like to check in, in case there's an issue I haven't thought about.  Published composers get editors assigned to them who haggle with them over the best ways to present their scores and act as an extra set of eyes for stupid mistakes.  The rest of us have to hope to achieve a level of polish that will someday earn us an editor to debate with.  More opinions are ALWAYS welcome.  And it feels like we're more likely to give each other honest critiques here on the anonymous (sort of) internet than we would to musician friends we know in "real" life.  It helps that the whole stated purpose of this website is to give and receive feedback.  In the real world, people have other reasons that they know and spend time with you musically that may affect their ability to be be entirely honest and forthcoming even if you ask them directly for a critique.  

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Well, you’re right of course. I found it amusing that you would ask pointed questions, then consider it and more often than not say ... Naa, I'm stkicking with the original.  I Think your work has matured a lot since the earlier days here. I hope you don’t mind me saying that. It’s obvious that you take your craft seriously, and you should be happy that you’ve achieved an overall level of predictable quality in its artfulness and musicallity. Often times we get bogged down with minutia and lose sight of the bigger picture. Funny thing about quality thogh. It's a beast that requires more and more care and feeding over time.

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