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caters

Tears of the Sky

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This piece I finished composing yesterday represents rain falling and the sadness of a person wishing that it stopped raining. The legato represents the sadness and the staccato and tremolos represent the rain itself. There are quite a few modulations that occur in my piece. Here they are:

E minor -> G major -> A minor -> E minor -> C minor -> E minor

The modulation to G major is the shortest of them all. Counterpoint over a lament bass progression in E minor that several times moves to a G major chord, confirmed by a V7 -> I cadence in G major. The other modulations are longer. For the modulation to C minor, I used a progression similar to the Omnibus progression. This is the progression I used:

E minor -> B7/D# -> B+/D# B°7/D -> C minor

The soprano line of that progression goes E, F# Fx, Ab, G, so not quite chromatic all the way through, but with the upward motion of the soprano and the chromatically downward moving bass, it sounds very similar to a true Omnibus progression and is what is called a wedge progression. The modulation back to E minor from the C minor is a string of diminished sevenths moving up to D# which then resolves to E minor for the final presentation of the first theme. I made each presentation of that theme just slightly different so that it would sound both recognizable and not too repetitive. I also balanced homophony vs counterpoint here. The E minor, I separate into 2 sections in all but the last presentation of it, an A section which is the first theme, and a B section which is the counterpoint over a lament bass.

I gave my piece a poetic title because why not. I'm not just a composer, I also write poems. What do you think of my piece? Do you hear the raindrops in the music?

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It sounds really quite nice. It's a noticeably improvement on other works you have posted here.

Here are a couple of comments:

1. Throughout the piece, the instruments stay in similar portions of their ranges. I think you could push a lot more into the high registers. This will help you unlock a whole new world of sound.

2. Your main melody introduced by the flute at the beginning has many elements in it that lent themselves nicely to development, such as the short chromatic scale D-D#-E.

3. When the cello enters, there are cases of direct and parallel octaves between it and the violin. I think you could revise the counterpoint to resolve some of these issues and make your ideas more coherent.

4. Bar 17: A very little thing, but it is more usual to put a tenuto mark on the second repeated note in the flute part.

5. The very last chord has a wide gap in the upper register between the flute and highest note of the piano. Taking the violin up an octave could resolve this.

Good work!

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12 minutes ago, aMusicComposer said:

It sounds really quite nice. It's a noticeably improvement on other works you have posted here.

Here are a couple of comments:

1. Throughout the piece, the instruments stay in similar portions of their ranges. I think you could push a lot more into the high registers. This will help you unlock a whole new world of sound.

So adding more notes in higher octaves while keeping the bass register notes the same would improve this piece. Alright, I will consider that.

15 minutes ago, aMusicComposer said:

2. Your main melody introduced by the flute at the beginning has many elements in it that lent themselves nicely to development, such as the short chromatic scale D-D#-E.

Yeah. Like you could say that the Omnibus-like progression in my modulation to C minor develops from that short chromatic scale being extended, transposed, and inverted.

18 minutes ago, aMusicComposer said:

3. When the cello enters, there are cases of direct and parallel octaves between it and the violin. I think you could revise the counterpoint to resolve some of these issues and make your ideas more coherent.

Yeah, I noticed that after looking at it. In that lament bass section, the piano was descending and I figured I might as well have the cello descend as well. But I didn't just directly have the cello descend. Instead I made that descent out of ascending melodic figures. This naturally lead me to have the violin also descend. To counteract all this descent of the lament bass, I wrote only ascending figures in the flute for that section. I often end up with one of a few things happening with my counterpoint, those being:

  1. Parallel and direct octaves as has happened here
  2. Melodically compatible but harmonically incompatible after correction of any resulting parallel and direct octaves
  3. One melody becomes so virtuosic that it might as well be the main melody, even if that isn't what I'm aiming for
28 minutes ago, aMusicComposer said:

4. Bar 17: A very little thing, but it is more usual to put a tenuto mark on the second repeated note in the flute part.

I didn't know that. I know that I have used tenuto to mean that the note's length is to stretched a little from what is notated(When I use tenuto in a Largo, I use it to mean full value. When I use tenuto in an Allegro, I use it to mean full value + tiny bit of stretch). Fermatas, I use for an even longer stretch if it feels like it is pausing there.

32 minutes ago, aMusicComposer said:

5. The very last chord has a wide gap in the upper register between the flute and highest note of the piano. Taking the violin up an octave could resolve this.

That octave does sound pretty wide. I have ended pieces with an octave gap between the highest note of all the instruments and the second highest note and I think this is the first time that an octave gap sounded unusually wide in the final cadence of the piece. I did once again use a wedge progression in the final cadence, where the cello and violin come ever closer to each other as the harmony goes iv -> V7/V -> V7 -> I. If I were to take the violin up an octave, on the one hand, it would resolve that wide gap. On the other hand, that is a leap of a seventh and if I were to just do it for the final note, it would kind of ruin the wedging into the tonic that I have going on between the violin and cello. If I were to do it for the whole 5 bars of cadencing, so as to preserve that wedging into the tonic, then there would be voice crossing between the flute and the violin to a significant extent. While there is some voice crossing in the piece as it is, outside of voice crossings with the piano, it is minimal.

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1 hour ago, caters said:

So adding more notes in higher octaves while keeping the bass register notes the same would improve this piece. Alright, I will consider that.

It would add a little more intensity in the louder sections. Also, it would make it much more interesting to play, rather than just circling around the same few notes.

1 hour ago, caters said:

I didn't know that. I know that I have used tenuto to mean that the note's length is to stretched a little from what is notated(When I use tenuto in a Largo, I use it to mean full value. When I use tenuto in an Allegro, I use it to mean full value + tiny bit of stretch). Fermatas, I use for an even longer stretch if it feels like it is pausing there.

In my experience, if you want it to be stretched a little it is best to use the abbreviation ten. over the note. The tenuto within a slur signifies that the note should be restarted without it being hard. (The flute player would use a softer syllable to articulate that note.)

1 hour ago, caters said:

On the other hand, that is a leap of a seventh and if I were to just do it for the final note, it would kind of ruin the wedging into the tonic that I have going on between the violin and cello. If I were to do it for the whole 5 bars of cadencing, so as to preserve that wedging into the tonic, then there would be voice crossing between the flute and the violin to a significant extent. While there is some voice crossing in the piece as it is, outside of voice crossings with the piano, it is minimal.

You could also make the piano chord bigger to encompass a higher range - just another suggestion.

I think the lack of voice crossings is partially what is contributing to the lack of high register notes, especially in the violin as it is forced to always be under the flute.

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