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Nocturne in Bb

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I composed a nocturne in Bb about a year ago. To me Eb and Bb fit very well as keys into the definition of a nocturne(music that evokes a nighttime feeling).

Here is what I planned to do in the nocturne when I first thought about it:
 

Section More Detail Proposed length
A Establishes Tonic of Bb 7 measures
B Modulates from and back to Bb 6 measures
A' Octave variation 7 measures
A'' Tremolo of a 3rd added 11 measures
B' Octave variation 6 measures
A''' Right hand down an octave, modulates to parallel minor at the end 12 measures
C Contrasting key 5 measures
D Modulates from minor to parallel major 12 measures
A'''' Faster triplets 7 measures
B'' Faster triplets, Left hand down an octave 6 measures
A''''' Faster triplets, both hands down an octave, right hand plays melody in octaves like in A' 7 measures
C' Octave variation, slower triplets 10 measures
D' Octave variation, slower triplets 12 measures
A'''''' Slower triplets 14 measures
Ritardando Brings piece towards an end At least 3 measures
Root position chord in unison Perpetuates the piece 1 measure at the most
1st inversion up an octave in unison Perpetuates 1 measure at the most
2nd inversion down 2 octaves in unison Final ending chord 1 measure at the most


Now I do have mini ritardandos(slows down by 10 bpm) for each B section towards the ending measure of that section, but the ritardando section would get even slower. I had to ditch the faster triplets because it was ruining the nocturne feel.

Here is the nocturne that resulted:

So what do you think? Do you think I should add another B section where you have 2 A sections in a row? Do you think I did a good job using the quarter note triplets to give a sense of a ritardando without there actually being a ritardando until the last few measures? And how finished does it sound, ending on a second inversion tonic chord?

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I think you invest time and effort in scheduling a detailed form and harmonic structure. But you set aside the rhythm (left hand) more tan 7 minutes with that pattern (even in the final part it's doubled in duration) is too much. I think, at risk of becoming boring.

After all, adding sections or changing the harmonic building is your choice, according to the effect you want. The most you know how tonalities are related or not, you will get more or less surprising effects with modulation. Also, woriking a little bit with motives, with manipulation, can improve the musica a lot.

 

12/8 would be better.

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Your planning looks great, however your execution of it feels repetitive and "uninspired". Don't get me wrong, inspiration is a very abstract concept, and it's not about being "blessed" with ideas and concepts as in the romantic fashion of conceiving it. However, I feel like you aproach music as if solving math problems, which makes up for great explanations of your piece, but not much emotional content to back it up. Try composing something without planning everything you do and actually getting a closer view to the themes/harmonies. 

I know it's not much of a help when it comes to this piece, but I feel it applies to all your other works aswell.

Best wishes, Jean.

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I would love to give you feedback, but actually I don't think what it's the matter of the issues can be simply explained here.

What would describe what your music transmit me (not this piece, but in general, all the pieces I've listened all long from you) is: "this was written by a robot/script/IA". I don't know if it's that my point of view is wrong, or that you lack of musical sense or another thing, but when I listen your music, it bring me nothing.

You seem as knowing music theory, but not being able to apply it correctly, and lack of basis of them (such counterpoint and harmonic sense, which is not the same as knowing about harmony). I know you're trying and that makes me feel bad saying this, but I think you need to work on your inspiration, musicality, imagination and feelings instead on structuring your music so well and forget on what music is about.

Don't take this as a undeniable truth, I might be as wrong as I could be, but this is my subjetive perspective, and sincere, even if it can sound like being rude (and I don't intend to, I want you to become as great as possible). There's many ways of solving this, but I think that you need to listen more the greatest (beethoven, mozart, bach, clementi, etc..) and try to risk a bit more. I feel like if you were constantly playing safe and evading a risk or being vague.

Keep doing it, I know you can eventually do something great!

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In terms of flow and feeling, this piece is admittedly better than most of your works I've come across, so great job there!

However, as @J.Santos pointed out, it still sounds robotic and unfeeling. The left hand was painfully monotonous, especially since the same triplet feel lasted for 7.5 minutes. The change at M.87 to triplet quarter notes in the LH was very jarring, which was worsened at M.92 when the RH began playing 8th notes over it.

The chord progressions starting at around M.50, although they were "legal," I found to be a very forced journey around the circle of 5ths. You go from Bbm to Gbm to Bbm to Fm7 back to Bbm to Gbm to Abm to C#m to F#m to Bm to Em to Am to Dm to Gm to G to Bb—almost literally one fourth up per bar—and, quite honestly, for no apparent reason.

I thought your main melody was nice, although the meter and rhythm seemed off. And the amount of straight repeats of that theme was offputting. I feel like this work could be condensed to half or less of its current state and still retain all the vital ideas. There seemed to be almost no variation of the theme other than a modulation up or down an octave.

From a theory standpoint, you did everything correctly—at least as far as I could tell. But there's more to music than just theory and planning. A piece of music composed solely by stringing together isolated blocks of theory is not a work of art for the same reason paint-by-number pictures aren't posted in art galleries.

Music is not a science; it's an art. The visual arts are what feelings look like. Music is what feelings sound like.

Keep trying to capture your feelings in music! It's a worthwhile endeavor and I'm sure you'll get better at it with time.

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3 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

In terms of flow and feeling, this piece is admittedly better than most of your works I've come across, so great job there!

However, as @J.Santos pointed out, it still sounds robotic and unfeeling. The left hand was painfully monotonous, especially since the same triplet feel lasted for 7.5 minutes. The change at M.87 to triplet quarter notes in the LH was very jarring, which was worsened at M.92 when the RH began playing 8th notes over it.

The chord progressions starting at around M.50, although they were "legal," I found to be a very forced journey around the circle of 5ths. You go from Bbm to Gbm to Bbm to Fm7 back to Bbm to Gbm to Abm to C#m to F#m to Bm to Em to Am to Dm to Gm to G to Bb—almost literally one fourth up per bar—and, quite honestly, for no apparent reason.

I thought your main melody was nice, although the meter and rhythm seemed off. And the amount of straight repeats of that theme was offputting. I feel like this work could be condensed to half or less of its current state and still retain all the vital ideas. There seemed to be almost no variation of the theme other than a modulation up or down an octave.

From a theory standpoint, you did everything correctly—at least as far as I could tell. But there's more to music than just theory and planning. A piece of music composed solely by stringing together isolated blocks of theory is not a work of art for the same reason paint-by-number pictures aren't posted in art galleries.

Music is not a science; it's an art. The visual arts are what feelings look like. Music is what feelings sound like.

Keep trying to capture your feelings in music! It's a worthwhile endeavor and I'm sure you'll get better at it with time.

 

I used that change from triplet eighths to triplet quarters to get across the illusion of a ritardando, before the actual ritardando comes towards the end of the piece. As for the long route along the circle of fifths in section D, I thought:

Quote

Well, I need to balance out this short modulation around the circle of fifths that got me to section C with another modulation. So, I might as well go around the circle of fifths out of Bb minor the same way I came in to Bb minor.

As for playing eighth notes over the triplets, that is one of the ways I get drama across in my circle of fifths modulations. The hemiola(3:2 polyrhythm) becomes a double hemiola(3:4) with the ritardando illusion.

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2 minutes ago, caters said:

I used that change from triplet eighths to triplet quarters to get across the illusion of a ritardando, before the actual ritardando comes towards the end of the piece. As for the long route along the circle of fifths in section D, I thought:

Quote

Well, I need to balance out this short modulation around the circle of fifths that got me to section C with another modulation. So, I might as well go around the circle of fifths out of Bb minor the same way I came in to Bb minor.

As I said, it was all perfectly legal. However, those last two words before your quote are your biggest obstacle: "I thought." As Elsa would say/sing, "Let it go!"

3 minutes ago, caters said:

As for playing eighth notes over the triplets, that is one of the ways I get drama across in my circle of fifths modulations. The hemiola(3:2 polyrhythm) becomes a double hemiola(3:4) with the ritardando illusion.

Except it did not come across as drama. It came across as a random, unrelated insertion into a piece that should, based on its title, lull me to sleep. 

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