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Sahil Sidhu

A Little "Innocent" Waltz for Piano

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I have written a small classical waltz for the piano in G major. It goes through a few minor changes throughout the duration of the work. Please feel free to give me any criticism at all. I am looking to improving the work (possibly posting on this thread an improved version later). I will not describe my intentions because then it tells you what to imagine (same reason to why I do not name my compositions). Thank you for your time.

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"A small classical waltz" indeed ūüėČ.¬† Very nice, I loved the changes in character and harmony.¬† I actually normally don't take to these kind of pieces but I really enjoyed listening to this.

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@bkho Hahaha, I am very glad that the changes in character that I wanted the listener to perceive was effective. I am also very glad you enjoyed it. It means a lot. Thank you for your time!

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I like all the little features you add to this to give your music more character (example: the grace notes, and later the chromaticism which at first is kinda wacky).  I am not sure what program you use to write your score/perform your mp3 but I think that it's possible to give the top note of each chord more loudness than the rest so that your chords sound more balanced instead of sounding like there's just alot of bashing on the keyboard.  Most pianists will try to find the main melodic line and bring that out while playing the rest of the chord a little quieter.  That's just a little nit-pick on my part.  I like how you end the piece.  Thanks for the music!

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9 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

I like all the little features you add to this to give your music more character (example: the grace notes, and later the chromaticism which at first is kinda wacky).  I am not sure what program you use to write your score/perform your mp3 but I think that it's possible to give the top note of each chord more loudness than the rest so that your chords sound more balanced instead of sounding like there's just alot of bashing on the keyboard.  Most pianists will try to find the main melodic line and bring that out while playing the rest of the chord a little quieter.  That's just a little nit-pick on my part.  I like how you end the piece.  Thanks for the music!

 

PaperComposer, thank you so much for your kind review. I use musescore and so in the intensely contrapuntal sections (e.g. m.117 where all the voices are in different keys that are major 3rds from each other) I would usually place an invisible accent on the theme introduced in either m.107 (which is an alteration of m.49) or the opening theme. This way the counterpoint is not sounding too messy without sounding too clean either? Not sure if that makes sense.

About the bashing thing, well it depends on where you are. From m.117 to m.122 I would like the 'bashing' sound but only on the left hand. At m. 123 onwards I would probably not want such a sound. Here instead I would like to to 'try' to sound elegant (hence my marking of dolce e espress. which of course is almost impossible to pull off. This passage would then come off as quite sarcastic or mocking).

I am curious as to what you mean by the chromaticism being wacky. I'm not defending my use of chromaticism, but if something doesn't go with the rest of the work, I would like to do something about it.

Thank you so much for your comments! I am always glad when someone points out a way that I can improve upon my works.

 

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I am curious as to what you mean by the chromaticism being wacky. I'm not defending my use of chromaticism, but if something doesn't go with the rest of the work, I would like to do something about it.

I was only referring to the fact that in the context of your very tonal and harmonically transparent beginning the constant harmonic changes you employ at around measures 55 and around that area sound kind of comic to me.  Not that that's a bad thing - I assumed that that was what you intended.  I don't think you need to change anything about it - I'm sorry if I gave you that impression (maybe I shouldn't have used the word 'wacky'?)

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PaperComposer, thank you so much for your kind review. I use musescore and so in the intensely contrapuntal sections (e.g. m.117 where all the voices are in different keys that are major 3rds from each other) I would usually place an invisible accent on the theme introduced in either m.107 (which is an alteration of m.49) or the opening theme. This way the counterpoint is not sounding too messy without sounding too clean either? Not sure if that makes sense.

If you're worried about cluttering your score up too much I might suggest going the route of using three staves for your piano writing like Ravel has sometimes done.

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Thank you so much for your comments!

You're welcome.  Thank you for your music! 

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The opening aesthetic is very banal and uninteresting, I don't believe the departure from that style is wonky at all, without that contrast there would be not much of interest here. Bland tonal waltzes have been perfected by so many much greater minds than either you or me that there is not much to be gained from rehashing the style other than purely for personal satisfaction. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that.

Still, the moderately more adventurous harmonic section is not particularly exciting to me for several reasons. Chiefly being that while it is not as on the nose trite as the opening section, it still feels very flat in terms of general pacing and tone. I think it would benefit the piece for the tone and pace of the piece to be broken up even more to create more interest. Maybe some more negative space paired with more variety in the dynamics and tempo. Harmonic variety is only one of many tools for creating interesting movement in a piece.

Not unpleasant to listen to though, and charming enough for what it is.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, U238 said:

The opening aesthetic is very banal and uninteresting

@U238 Absolutely agree with you on that one. I wrote a deliberately clichéd melody. You see, music is all about contrasts in my opinion. Perfect balance is achieved through perfectly contrasted sections, whether they choose to resolve or not. I wrote that opening to directly contrast and subvert the dance: an elegant waltz. I still dislike the melody I wrote in the opening (which is actually a good sign).

28 minutes ago, U238 said:

it still feels very flat in terms of general pacing and tone.

Well, again here it is all about contrasts. The work is balanced, in my humble opinion, due to the fact that most of its musical direction stems from its increasing use of dissonance and contrapuntal passages. Pace and tone is just one simple side of music that would affect the music for brief moments. As you can see, I did alter the tone and pace as per your critique towards the end (it would probably be a better rendition of that if it was performed by a human being). The return of the hackneyed melody towards the end is not so much of contrast per se, but of perhaps a sudden jarring change of musical direction, which would again throw the listener off.  However, there is only so much I can do in less than 4 minutes

28 minutes ago, U238 said:

Not unpleasant to listen to though, and charming enough for what it is.

All in all, this piece is not here to charm but instead is here to provide a glimpse into reality. The dark and unfortunate reality of life, hence why I chose to disfigure a commonly known dance associated with charm and beauty.

Thank you for your critique. It was very helpful.

Edited by Sahil Sidhu

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Great work here. You have a unique musical voice, I like your style of "classical with a twist". You have some noteworthy embellishments and harmonic turns that keep me interested.

That said, I felt suffocated by the sheer amount of notes you have, and the lack of rests. If I went through your score and just simply deleted some things to give some breathing room, I think that alone would be an improvement. Like I said, you kept me interested the whole way, and I DID like how near the end there were some spots you let the music breathe, but overall some variety with more sparse harmony and rests would be wonderful here. 

Again, I really like the uniqueness quality you have. That is one of the best traits you could possess to build your musical foundation on. Well done!

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@Thatguy v2.0 Thank you so much for your helpful criticisms! I am very glad that you liked the style. I must say, now that you pointed out the disappointing lack of rests, I am starting to feel like perhaps you are right. I have been looking through the work for places where I can implement your criticisms. I wouldn't take out a whole lot, since most of the driving energy stems from the lack of rests. However, I agree that to some extent, there needs to be less notes and more contemplation of what was just heard.

I am not sure if you will see this comment but if it is not too much to ask, can you give me an example of one or two bars where the notes overwhelm you. Just so that I can have a starting point to begin considering.

I thank you very much for your comments! They are invaluable for improvement!

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