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Fantasia in F "River Fantasia" FINISHED

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So after months of composing, I have finally finished my River Fantasia piece. For those who don't know, this piece portrays a river starting as a little stream and heading out to sea. Out of all the keys I have used in previous pieces, F major always seems to have this character of flow to my ears. The melody wants to keep moving, even when the harmony is static. Thus, when I had the idea of composing a piece to represent a river heading out to sea, it was easy for me to decide on F major as the key of the piece. There are multiple sections and they are almost fully outlined by tempo and dynamics. The melody and harmony in this piece was improvised. And, this piece has no predefined structure it fits into. You could sort of say that it is in a continuous sonata form without a development, but really, the structure isn't predefined. Some rivers are straighter and some are so curvy that oxbow lakes form. Some rivers quickly widen and others don't widen as fast. Some rivers have turbulent rapids and others barely have rapids at all. This is how the piece ended up being sectioned:

  • Measures 1-10: A calm, high pitched Andante, representing the little stream, Bass is melodic before the octaves
  • Measures 11-16: A build up of tension as the rapids approach, a gradual major-minor shift via the chromatic scale
  • Measures 17-37: Turbulent, Allegro, C minor passage starts fortissimo, lots of octaves at a fast tempo, representing the rapids, Measures 33-37 calm down and end with a Picardy Third, most Beethovenian of all the sections
  • Measures 38-62: Arpeggiated calmness at Moderato, with a bit more of a grandiose feeling, representing that the river has gotten wider, Modulation from C major to F major occurs here
  • Measures 63-73: The tempo becomes a slow Andante once again and the chromatic scale that shifted things from major to minor comes back, no creschendo this time, Tempo I marking
  • Measures 74-94: Turbulent Allegro comes back, this time in F minor, a second set of rapids, Measures 90-94 calm down and end with a Picardy Third, just like Measures 33-37 before, Tempo II marking, Fortissimo is sudden here
  • Measures 95-115: Arpeggiated passage come back, but this time, much more grandiose at a forte dynamic. Measure 109 starts a simultaneous ritardando and diminuendo(calando is what that's called, when the ritardando and diminuendo are happening simultaneously), Tempo III marking
  • Measures 116-131: A quiet Adagio as the river heads out to sea. Measures 124-131 are the same as measures 116-123, but an octave higher, triplets instead of sixteenths
  • Measures 132-139: Final arpeggios represent the waves of the sea and get quieter, regular eighth notes
  • Measures 140-142: Final chords that end the piece as quietly as it began

 

You see that I start the piece with a marking of Molto expressivo. That is to tell the pianist to be very expressive when playing this piece(like playing creschendos and diminuendos that I didn't write down in the Moderato sections for example). You also notice that after the calando, it still feels as though the ritardando continues. That's because I slow down the bass via longer note values. What do you think of my Fantasia in F that I nicknamed "River Fantasia"? Does it do a good job at portraying a river widening as it heads out to sea?

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Posted (edited)

I find the change in the measure 74 very sudden, more than a set of rapids, i imagine a thunder that fell down to start a storm. Maybe another build up would help, if you see a real river it's like a little stream that gets wider and wider, not a little stream that gets tormentous all of sudden.

overall a good work for me, a good interpretation and this would sound amazing, feels like a river going to the sea, except for that part that i said that feels like a storm more than a river.

Edited by Tortualex

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So, I've listened to this several, studied the score, and... here's my thoughts.

1. I love the subject matter. Music inspired by nature, world events, and even people (culture) is always interesting. That said, I'm not sure a "Fantasia" is the right form for a programmatic piece. Mind you, nay-sayers will argue that DISNEY DID IT! But, the form of that movie was far removed from this. 

As others have glowed about this piece -kudos! I'll take the less traveled road here:

2. Scalar thematic material -particularly that which uses the full scale- is very difficult to pull off. Face it, who wants to sit and listen to a pianist practice scales? This is where you have to have a definite plan for this. Beethoven and Smetana both used scalar material to represent, respectively, a bubbling brook and the mighty Danube. I think you could take cues on their handling. Personally, I think a tiny stream is best represented by breaking up the scale and passing it softly between the right and left hand. Key take away is to be imaginative. Paint the stream with your music. I'm sure it isnt as fast flowing as the runs here would indicate.

3. Melody and counterpoint can make or break a piece. Give us rhythmic variety or give us death! Seriously though, you have a nice grasp of harmony, but I'd like to see more of a focus on developing strong thematic and motivic ideas in your music. You'll thank me later for this suggestion, trust me. Several passages -most of the non-runs, in fact, present melodic ideas that are stepwise and uninteresting. And I think that you caught this and composed more runs to draw some attention away from this. The opening was a nice example of imitative counterpoint -and you handled it well. I want to see more of this tinkering in your work.

Refinement. Variety. Imagination. These three things would greatly benefit this piece.

4. Ostinatos are a common feature in fantasies from Mozart all the way to today. They are an amazing tool to utilize. But, they should be handled delicately. The triplet ostinato that permeates the piece doesnt quite work as it should. I've yet to figure out why!?!

All that said, as I've mentioned before with your work, I see a lot of promise. You're well on your way to transitioning to a true composer. Now we just got to get you over that hump. Hope my review helps!

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wow caters, you have really progressed in your last few works! I rarely enjoy strictly tonal music but you made it sound very good. The runs remind me of rapids and the flow overall reminds me of a river. I am very impressed 😊💪👍

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7 hours ago, Tortualex said:

I find the change in the measure 74 very sudden, more than a set of rapids, i imagine a thunder that fell down to start a storm. Maybe another build up would help, if you see a real river it's like a little stream that gets wider and wider, not a little stream that gets tormentous all of sudden.

overall a good work for me, a good interpretation and this would sound amazing, feels like a river going to the sea, except for that part that i said that feels like a storm more than a river.

 

You think a crescendo and accelerando would fit better in that second chromatic scale section than slow quiet chords suddenly giving way to a fast fortissimo? That is what I do in the first chromatic scale section that leads to the C minor Allegro is that I have a chromatic scale going down 2 octaves and halfway through that scale, the accelerando happens.

3 hours ago, Left Unexplained said:

wow caters, you have really progressed in your last few works! I rarely enjoy strictly tonal music but you made it sound very good. The runs remind me of rapids and the flow overall reminds me of a river. I am very impressed 😊💪👍

 

Thanks for the compliment @Left Unexplained I tried to make this feel like a river heading out to sea, so I guess a few months of work proved to be worthwhile. And I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who sees improvement in my own works. For months, it felt as though I was the only one seeing improvement in my own works, but seeing that other people see improvement in my works now is good. It is motivating me to compose more and improvise more ideas for my compositions.

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2 minutes ago, caters said:

Thanks for the compliment @Left Unexplained I tried to make this feel like a river heading out to sea, so I guess a few months of work proved to be worthwhile. And I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who sees improvement in my own works. For months, it felt as though I was the only one seeing improvement in my own works, but seeing that other people see improvement in my works now is good. It is motivating me to compose more and improvise more ideas for my compositions.

Keep going with this new mojo it will take you places

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8 hours ago, caters said:

You think a crescendo and accelerando would fit better in that second chromatic scale section than slow quiet chords suddenly giving way to a fast fortissimo? That is what I do in the first chromatic scale section that leads to the C minor Allegro is that I have a chromatic scale going down 2 octaves and halfway through that scale, the accelerando happens.

Thanks for the compliment @Left Unexplained I tried to make this feel like a river heading out to sea, so I guess a few months of work proved to be worthwhile. And I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who sees improvement in my own works. For months, it felt as though I was the only one seeing improvement in my own works, but seeing that other people see improvement in my works now is good. It is motivating me to compose more and improvise more ideas for my compositions.

 

The chords work well, at least harmonically talking, you can make some rythmic build up, I think that whole to semiquaver is a very big and sudden change.

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