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Weather Music Suite In Progress


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I have decided to make a progress post for my suite so that I can get feedback on each of the movements without having to make multiple posts. This starting post will be about the first movement of my suite. I initially planned for the melody to not be in ternary form while the harmony was in ternary form, but the melody ended up being in ternary form. I chose the key of G major because it sounds warm to me. To reinforce this, I decided on the instrumentation being string quartet + piano. I use a sequence to modulate from G major to D major as a transition into the B section. So, I guess you could call it ternary sonata form, whatever that means.

I include a short canonic passage in the B section of the piece after I have established D major as the tonality. Afterwards, there is a short transition back to the A section. This emphasizes the subdominant and even includes plagal motion. After the themes of the A section are played, there is a passage that includes 2 creschendos. And then the movement ends with a plagal cadence at fortissimo.

What do you think of it? Did I get that warm, sunny quality that I was aiming for? Here are the mp3 and pdf:

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/18/2019 at 5:01 PM, caters said:

What do you think of it? Did I get that warm, sunny quality that I was aiming for? Here are the mp3 and pdf:

The major key makes it sound warm and sunny, but it has this stop-and-go feel with the main melody that throws me a little bit. You also have a lot of voice crossings/doublings, which will really muddy up the sound on real instruments. For example, in measure 2 the viola and 1st violin play the same C. In measure 5, the two violins criss-cross their notes. In measures 20-21, the viola and piano play the same notes, and then again in 24-27. The cello is almost always doubled by the piano down in the bass register. In measure 61, you have the 2nd violin and viola play part of the measure only a whole- or half-step apart. I think you catch my drift.

Then there's the issue of player enjoyment. You really want to write a piece that your players will have fun playing. They are, after all, doing you a favor by breathing life into your work. In this work, the cello suffers from whole-note blues—there's only a small section in the middle where he gets to play some of the melodies of his string counterparts. The piano, too, has large sections of block chords (in the left hand only) that aren't very exciting. And exciting doesn't have to mean fast or multiple notes—anything that's different from what everyone else is doing in the ensemble can be exciting for the player!

I hope you don't take any of this the wrong way. I think you have a lot of great ideas, just need to tweak some things in the piece to optimize it! Keep up the hard work!

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What composition style are you going for? You're discussing very tonal harmonic plans as well as classical form, so I'm assuming in late classical early-romantic, but do correct me if I"m wrong. 
My main thing listening to this is too much whiplash between motion and stasis. It seems to come randomly sometimes (i.e. m. 13), with some cadential points lasting a little too long (i.e. mm. 46-47), and the entire section of whole notes is completely unnecessary (a simple plagal extension from a PAC would achieve the same effect and not take as long). It would be one thing to add suspense, but if you're really trying to emulate a sunny day of all things, it probably shouldn't be there without some sort of rhythmic drive. 

The canon also needs a lot of work, if you're going for that classical-ish style I was asking about before. A crazy kind of harmonically ambiguous sound with themes coming in all over the place is great in a more modern style. Even then, the piano should probably be used as a more driving force than an inclusionary one.

@Tónskáld makes good points about player enjoyment. An audience will never feel the emotions you feel writing the piece, so you want your performers to be as motivated as possible to make the music actual art.

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It all sounds pleasant, but I didn't get as much of a sense of overall structure as I might have expected, given your discussion of it in the description.  When something needs tweaking to hold together more, I tend to look at my bass lines, since they can have an outsized effect on the harmonic language.  

I wonder if holding notes over the barline at the whole note section starting at measure 15 would give it more line?  I know you want the sense of passing the action from part to part there, but you can achieve that with the entrances of different parts while having the other parts sustain their notes.  

Keep going!  Piano and strings is always a nice combination!


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