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Episodes #1


jawoodruff
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While working on this piano concerto, I have a lot of material that I'm leaving out -and have decided to use in smaller works (particularly for the purpose of keeping clarity in my material for the concerto). This work uses a tone row built upon intervals of the 4th. The opening bar, which creates a ritornello throughout the work, is the full row. 

Some notes about the compositional processes I used in this piece:

1. The form could be considered a rondo of sorts. The ritornello passage is labeled E. This returns after each 'episode' labelled C. I chose to keep this material identical. I may at a later date change the last entrance of the ritornello (mirroring it into the retrograde so that it ends on the note the piece begins).

2. The various episodes tinker with aspects of counterpoint (stretto, imitation, invertible counterpoint). The first episode superimposes rhythmic variants of the thematic material creating a rich texture. The second episode takes this type of superimposition and thins it out a little bit (leaving the superimposition to only two voices, while the remainder of the material is condensed into the chords seen in the left hand). NOTE: The second episode does NOT use the full tone row at all -at least not in order. The third episode plays around with invertible counterpoint and imitation, with a twist. The final episode -nearly devoid of counterpoint- is more intended on providing material to close out the piece.

Hope you enjoy. I'll be cleaning up the score here in a few weeks once I get my new laptop set up!

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The ritornello phrase is so strong that it seems to swallow the rest of the music.

I'm not sure this form (rondó) goes well with this kind of language... I think the best parts (for me) are C1 and, particularly, C4 because of the richer texture. In fact, in section C2 the directionality is lost for that reason: a fixed texture, plus the repetition of the section. The pedaling in this section is strange, it follows the measures, not the chords.

Overall I like this piece, although I would prefer not each section in a single pass, not repeated.

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12 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

Overall I like this piece, although I would prefer not each section in a single pass, not repeated.

I agree with this, I think! The abrupt changes in texture and tone are I think the most stand-out to me, since little transitional material is accumulated at the end of every return of the ritornello, it doesn't serve the purpose of priming the audience to listen for the fancy stretto/fugal stuff that's going on.

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4 hours ago, Monarcheon said:

I agree with this, I think! The abrupt changes in texture and tone are I think the most stand-out to me, since little transitional material is accumulated at the end of every return of the ritornello, it doesn't serve the purpose of priming the audience to listen for the fancy stretto/fugal stuff that's going on.

 

The point of the ritornello was uniformity and harshness. I wanted that material to stand out in a manner inconsistent with the sections that precede and follow it. That said, it wasnt meant to prime the listener at all. I can remove the repeats. Those were just added in for humor -as most rondo's feature repeats like this (though they are seldom, if at all, played).

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On 12/25/2019 at 3:45 AM, jawoodruff said:

The point of the ritornello was uniformity

Perhaps one of the most difficult things is to "accommodate", to suit atonal (or nearly) music into classic structures. Yes, I know atonal maters composed using Forms, but not taking them to the very detail. Repetitions in that classic sense are not part of atonal languages. I'm not used to it. As many people find odd dissonance in classic tonal music. 

I don't think it's wrong, but as composers, it' our work to make believe what we write is coherent. Hard work.

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1 hour ago, Luis Hernández said:

Perhaps one of the most difficult things is to "accommodate", to suit atonal (or nearly) music into classic structures. Yes, I know atonal maters composed using Forms, but not taking them to the very detail. Repetitions in that classic sense are not part of atonal languages. I'm not used to it. As many people find odd dissonance in classic tonal music. 

I don't think it's wrong, but as composers, it' our work to make believe what we write is coherent. Hard work.

 

It is difficult to accommodate to more traditional forms -as you probably noticed with the ricecari you posted. However, many of these old forms developed over hundreds of years to their current state. This development wasnt happenstance -but- was spurred by human biology and culture. Unlike earlier modernists, we had very little psychological understanding of music. 

Repetition, from current psychological studies, makes music more enjoyable and comprehensible to listeners. When I compose, my ear is my guide in terms of how I want the music to progress and whether it fits my plan for any given piece. All the theory and understanding of conventions -literally- doesn't really matter to me. I mean, it does a little bit -but not enough to over rule my ears. Anyways, I digress. 

 

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18 minutes ago, jawoodruff said:

All the theory and understanding of conventions -literally- doesn't really matter to me.

I totally agree with that. Usually, I don't care very much about classic conventions and I don't think mashups are wrong. I believe in eclecticism. In fact, I take anything (coming from classic tonal music or from contemporary) as tools for composing and expression.

But that doesn't mean I can do anything and think it's coherent, it has "meaning", or direction, or whatever. I find these sorts of "problems" everyday, and my concern is not if something is contemporary or not or if two resources are "related", my concern is if the music I make has direction, movement, development, "glue", intensifications, etc... Not easy. Another issue is to what level do we want to convey to an audience.

I like your music and your approaches. However, I've been in that journey of exploration of strict atonality, free atonality, multimodality, etc, etc, etc... And nowadays, I have the same doubts about these systems than about tonal music. I mean, there are general principle that apply to any kind of music, universal patterns. So, speaking for myself, not anything is good in contemporary music (just because is "new" for many people); for the same reason, I'm bored with tonal music "imitating" the classics.

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Then that is why you must just compose. I like to say that I'll do the writing and the theorists and critics can RIP it to shreds afterwards. I write for the fun and enjoyment of hearing my works listened to by others. Each and everyone is a -to sound emo- piece of me and my mental state at the time of composition. If they fit someones preconceived notion of music.. then cool. If not.. then that's cool too. Theres plenty of other crap to listen to. Regardless, just write. That's all we can do -and all we should do. History will separate our contributions -or lack thereof. Schubert is an excellent example of that.

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