Jump to content

The Year: A Suite for Solo Piano


caters
 Share

Recommended Posts

I started writing a suite for Solo Piano with the theme of 12 months of the year. I also am writing a poem related to each month as an epigraph for each movement. This first post will be about the January Movement. I do multiple things to get across the feel of January. Here is what I do and what it represents:

  • Grace notes and staccato: Snowfall
  • Slow tempo arpeggios: Walking through the forest
  • Episodes of G minor and a single episode of C major: Lamentation, like "Oh, when will it warm up? It is so cold out here that I could freeze if I didn't have this coat on. I really hope it is soon."
  • Major key melody in octaves or with full chords underneath(most of the time D major, but other keys are also used): Hope
  • Minor key melody in octaves: Hope is extinguished
  • Major over minor polytonality: The question of if there is hope
  • Trills and/or alternating bass: Shivering, the combination of trills and alternating bass portrays more shivering than either trills alone or alternating bass alone, loud dynamic, even more shivering
  • Fast scale motives of 4 notes each, rising: Wind Gust
  • False ending - Leads into a Coda
  • Pedaled arpeggio across the keyboard followed by quiet chord - True ending of the piece

How well do you think I portrayed the cold weather and the feel of the month of January? And what do you think of my January poem that is right above the score? Also, what key do you think I should have the February movement in? Oh, before you can answer that, here is what I am planning as far as keys:

  • January: D minor
  • Other months: Some key trajectory that smoothly takes me to my target
  • December: D major

And here are the keys I have thought of maybe having the February movement be in:

  • G major - Major subdominant of D minor
  • A major - Dominant of D minor
  • C major - Unrelated harmonically to D minor, but close in proximity to it(I don't consider the I - ii relationship to be a close harmonic relationship at all)
  • Bb major - Submediant of D minor
  • F major - Relative major of D minor
  • D major - Parallel major of D minor

If it helps, here are the keys I have thought of having the March movement be in:

  • D major
  • F major
  • Eb major
  • Bb major

I know that I don't want to hit the D major key too early on in the piece, otherwise it might sound like the ending(most minor key pieces I know that end in the parallel major delay the parallel major until the last minute or in multi-movement works, the last movement. And Beethoven, the composer of most influence on me, he sometimes sets up a Picardy Third only to later say "Nope, I'm going to end this in the minor key it started in."(I know for a fact that he does this in the first movement of his Fifth Symphony and the Rondo of his Pathetique Sonata).

So, anyway, what do you think of my January Movement of this suite and the poem that corresponds to this movement? And, any ideas as to which of the 6 keys I proposed for the February movement should be the actual key of that movement? Because, that is what I will be composing next is the February movement. I plan for the February movement to have a warm tone(thus the major key), a feel of love, a more obvious melody, and sort of a waltz feel to it(definitely will be in triple meter), there will still be some of those trills and alternating bass to evoke the cold temperatures, but not as many.

MP3
0:00
0:00
PDF
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there are many good ideas here.

I'not a believer in music that describes anything. I prefer to feel sensations about music, whatever they come to me. this could be a snawfall or menay other thing.

Regarding the music itself, I think the general effect is ecstatic because there is a constant use of ostinatos and fixed melodic patterns. But most of all because the writing is almost 100% parallel (very little counterpoint). Of course in a piece there is no obligation to practice counterpoint. But in a long piece like this, those techniques may be too percussive.

What I would do is insert some lyrical middle part (snowfall can be poetic, too).

Some things are arguable an a matter of taste, as the thick chords in the bottom of the piano (false ending).

It seems you quoted Mozart ??

I also find excessive the scales in trills, and the very ending (which reminds me to some final section by Satie).

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheyanna,

I think you have some great ideas here! It's thoughtfully planned out, even down to specific musical effects to mimic physical actions.

On 11/14/2019 at 5:15 PM, caters said:

How well do you think I portrayed the cold weather and the feel of the month of January?

That's difficult to say, as I'm fairly certain everyone perceives months differently than others. I mean, to half the world (geographically speaking), January is a warm, sunny month. So for them, I think they'd have a difficult time relating to what you've portrayed here as January.

Since you and I live in the Northern Hemisphere, I could relate somewhat to this work as January. However, I found your musical representations to be too literal. The problem with literal representation is that it's much more obvious when you've missed your mark. If you instead try to capture feelings in your work, it's more forgiveable and interpretive.

On 11/14/2019 at 5:15 PM, caters said:

And what do you think of my January poem that is right above the score?

I think it's original and effective. I like that it didn't rhyme, but again, it described a lot of generic literal things, rather than your personal reflections on how January makes you feel.

On 11/14/2019 at 5:15 PM, caters said:

Also, what key do you think I should have the February movement in?

I don't even want to offer a suggestion here, since how I think of February may not be how you think of it at all!

On 11/14/2019 at 5:15 PM, caters said:

So, anyway, what do you think of my January Movement of this suite and the poem that corresponds to this movement?

As Luis mentioned above, it's rather percussive with not enough variation to pique my interest—especially considering it's over 9 minutes long. I feel the same ideas can be conveyed in half or even 1/3 of the time. I find the arpeggiated and block chords to be personally unsatisfying. Overall, you have good ideas, but need to spend some time blending them and changing things up a little every now and then. In my opinion, that's the biggest issue with this work: it sounds like many ideas strung together in isolation.

I like your idea of 12 piano pieces for 12 months. I'm curious to see how each one will be different from the next.

Keep at it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...