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Sahir Haider

The Drifting Waltz - for solo piano ( Please Critique)

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Hi Everyone,

I just recently finished my first "exact" composition for solo piano . Prior to this, I have been improvising and composing various themes for many years but this is the first time I went about trying to put together a coherent piece and notating it.  I would love to hear what people think about it. 

Here's a link to my own performance ( with score) on youtube:

 

Also, here's a link to the score (also attached as pdf) : https://musescore.com/user/25828516/scores/5759589/s/0aktCw

I realize that some of the more difficult sections aren't a 100% clean in my performance. So those interested, could listen to a "100% accurate" but somewhat stiff/mechanical software (musescore) playback to evaluate those sections. ( I did my best to put hidden instructions in the software so it sounds less robotic ).

I'm completely self-taught in music theory/composition and am trying to evaluate where I stand currently as far as my compositional skills are concerned. So, any kind of feedback would be highly appreciated.

Also, here's a short description of the piece:

The title of this piece alludes to the tendancy of this piece to drift from one style to another, from music of one period to another, from one mood to another. The music also tends to "drift" from a standard waltz form to music which has little resemblance to a waltz ( but may still maintain a slight waltz pulse) .

Thank you very much !!

Edited by Sahir Haider
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Thank  you very much !   and my apologies as I didn't post a description of the piece before ( I've updated that in the original post now) but here it is anyway:

The title of this piece alludes to the tendancy of this piece to drift from one style to another, from music of one period to another, from one mood to another. The music also tends to "drift" from a standard waltz form to music which has little resemblance to a waltz ( but may still maintain a slight waltz pulse) .

So,  the somewhat capricious nature of the piece is intentional. It was my hope that there would be some structural unity provided by the fact that , aside from the section towards the end, a good part of the composition involves variation of quite a few themes. For example,  the part from around 1:25 -1:35 and then 2:15-2:25 employ identical or very similar sequence of notes but in entirely different contexts, hence sounding quite different.  

I apologize If I'm being too detailed here !   On second thoughts, I suppose by definition this could be thought of as a medley of sorts , but it wasn't intended as such !   🙂

 

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22 minutes ago, Kurt Francois said:

That's awesome ! 

However may be I'm missing something. Seems it's Medley of different compositions and not one.

Thank  you very much !   and my apologies as I didn't post a description of the piece before ( I've updated that in the original post now) but here it is anyway:

The title of this piece alludes to the tendancy of this piece to drift from one style to another, from music of one period to another, from one mood to another. The music also tends to "drift" from a standard waltz form to music which has little resemblance to a waltz ( but may still maintain a slight waltz pulse) .

So,  the somewhat capricious nature of the piece is intentional. It was my hope that there would be some structural unity provided by the fact that , aside from the section towards the end, a good part of the composition involves variation of quite a few themes. For example,  the part from around 1:25 -1:35 and then 2:15-2:25 employ identical or very similar sequence of notes but in entirely different contexts, hence sounding quite different.  

I apologize If I'm being too detailed here !   On second thoughts, I suppose by definition this could be thought of as a medley of sorts , but it wasn't intended as such !   🙂

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I think it's amazing I love it. I thought it could be boring (.... one more waltz) but it's interesting all through. I only find a bit strange the way you notate de accelerando and ritardando, but as it's clear, for mi it's OK. Very detailed score.

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1 hour ago, Luis Hernández said:

I think it's amazing I love it. I thought it could be boring (.... one more waltz) but it's interesting all through. I only find a bit strange the way you notate de accelerando and ritardando, but as it's clear, for mi it's OK. Very detailed score.

Thank you for your encouraging feedback !! It's great if I can keep someone's interest till the end.  As for the notation of accelerandos, and ritardanto , are you referring to the specific instructions like  "gradual rit. until m.91"? I saw that way being used in a John Adam's orchestral score ( Harmonielehre) , and thought I'd use it. But I do realize that's not a very common method of notating  tempo changes. I will keep that in mind for the future.  

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This is quite an accomplished work, and very well-written for piano! I really liked the tied triplets at M.107 (reminded me of Chopin somehow) and the broadened version of the theme starting at M.118. I especially appreciated your treatment of harmony—not too predictable but tastefully exotic. My personal opinion of your notation techniques is that they were very clear. As a pianist myself, I would have no problem understanding what you were trying to convey.

And I would be remiss if I didn't congratulate you on your performing abilities: great job!

I look forward to more of your musical expressions!

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54 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

This is quite an accomplished work, and very well-written for piano! I really liked the tied triplets at M.107 (reminded me of Chopin somehow) and the broadened version of the theme starting at M.118. I especially appreciated your treatment of harmony—not too predictable but tastefully exotic.

First of all, a big Thanks for such an inspiring feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me detailed comments. Chopin was definitely an influence throughout. My other main influences in this piece would be Ravel, Debussy and to an extent Prokofiev, and even a bit of Gershwin.  The part starting at M.118 was one of the most exciting ideas I had while composing this, so I'm especially thrilled that other people are appreciating it too 🙂 .

55 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

My personal opinion of your notation techniques is that they were very clear. As a pianist myself, I would have no problem understanding what you were trying to convey.

Indeed, I spent a significant amount of time trying to make sure I was as clear  as possible in all my details ( also with things like enharmonic spellings ... ) . It's hard work !!  and lastly ..

 

1 hour ago, Tónskáld said:

And I would be remiss if I didn't congratulate you on your performing abilities: great job!

The harder parts of this piece were a bit beyond me to begin with, and took a LOT of disciplined effort for me to get to this point ( I was inspired by remembering how Ravel practiced so hard to be able to premier his concerto , even though he couldn't in the end) . So its especially encouraging to hear such comments as yours.

Thanks again for your encouragement, and I'll get started on the next piece right away !

 

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7 minutes ago, Sahir Haider said:

Chopin was definitely an influence throughout. My other main influences in this piece would be Ravel, Debussy and to an extent Prokofiev, and even a bit of Gershwin.

And these happen to be my favorite influences, as well. No wonder I liked your waltz so much!

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3 hours ago, Left Unexplained said:

Reminds me of Ravel, but with an almost bluesy style. I love it!

Thanks! I'm very glad you liked it. This is a huge compliment as Ravel is at the top of my favorite composers list. 

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Very nice! I enjoyed it. It is a light piece but never boring! I like the many variations of the initial theme utilizing different and rather unusual harmonics and modulations. But you always nicely combine, interspace or resolve them with classical harmonics. Altogether, this is an intriguing way to catch the attention of the listener.

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4 hours ago, panta rei said:

Very nice! I enjoyed it. It is a light piece but never boring! I like the many variations of the initial theme utilizing different and rather unusual harmonics and modulations. But you always nicely combine, interspace or resolve them with classical harmonics. Altogether, this is an intriguing way to catch the attention of the listener.

Firstly, I'm really glad that you enjoyed the piece! I believe you've also described some of my intentions/methods better than I might have. Indeed, I wanted to create a piece starting with something that has been done to death (like a waltz) but make it "drift" in unpredictable ways into unpredictable areas. Your comments make me feel I might have succeeded! So Thanks very much  for your encouraging comments! 

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1 hour ago, MedwedianPresident said:

Excellent piece! I like the multitude of layers and styles that are all interwined.

Thank you so much for your feedback. Indeed, I was trying to create a polystylistic piece as the description in my video suggests. I'm really glad to hear you liked it !

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Incredible piece! Very original. I especially like to contrasting slurred and separated accompaniment and the little pauses. I always tend to make the first accompaniment note in a waltz very low, but this worked fine without that.

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3 hours ago, CalibriStandard said:

Incredible piece! Very original. I especially like to contrasting slurred and separated accompaniment and the little pauses. I always tend to make the first accompaniment note in a waltz very low, but this worked fine without that.

 

Thank you very much ! Really glad you liked it.  Yes, I was aiming at a slightly "unconventional" treatment of the waltz form, so I'm glad it seemed to have worked fine !

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It was more interesting than I thought when was reading your explain for this composition. Here you shown an interesting journey along different music styles and periods. As for me the most difficult thing in such work is connection a number of unsimilar contrast fragments into a single opus. You have done this challenge well.  Your waltz is bright and interesting from beginning to ending. 

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3 hours ago, Alexx said:

It was more interesting than I thought when was reading your explain for this composition. Here you shown an interesting journey along different music styles and periods. As for me the most difficult thing in such work is connection a number of unsimilar contrast fragments into a single opus. You have done this challenge well.  Your waltz is bright and interesting from beginning to ending. 

 

Thanks a lot! This is really good to hear for me. I definitely wanted to make the transitions between the contrasting parts/styles  seamless. So I'm really glad that, based on your comments, my efforts seem to have paid off! Also great to hear that I could keep your interest till the end. I supposed I could come up with a better description in words... 

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3 hours ago, Markus Boyd said:

This has been a joy to listen to. Thank you very much and well done also for your great performance.

Thank you very much !! Really glad to hear that you enjoyed listening to it  🙂 

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Really good job! It's impressive for being your first piece!! ( for my own mental health I will imagine that either you worked a lot of time and made a lot of corrections or either that you already composed "unpublished" pieces to get experience hahaha)

I'll follow you on musescore and like it!

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2 hours ago, J.Santos said:

Really good job! It's impressive for being your first piece!! ( for my own mental health I will imagine that either you worked a lot of time and made a lot of corrections or either that you already composed "unpublished" pieces to get experience hahaha)

Thank you very much !!!  Actually I haven't composed any "unpublished" pieces, and I just made a couple of enharmonic spelling changes and a rhythm correction on the last page after I published this piece. But its definitely true that I did spend quite a bit of time upfront making sure I'd have minimal errors in the score. And to help your mental health 😂, I'd like to add that , as mentioned in my post, I have been composing themes and improvising on the piano for many years. So, in that sense I wouldn't consider myself new to composing. But indeed, this was the first time I composed an "Exact" piece , putting together various themes in a (hopefully) coherent way and also the first time notating a piece. I guess I was also helped by the fact that I've played several pieces by Ravel, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev etc... So, that helped me a lot, but frankly I still find it tough work to properly notate a piece.  

Thanks for your feedback ! I'm glad you liked it 😃

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