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Symphony n.1 in DM (my first Symphony)


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Here is my first symphony. I wrote it last month in the style of second half of XVIII centuries. 
I analize some Haydn and Mozart early symphonies to grab some ideas and make it coherent with that period, regarding form, time signatures, tempos and so on. 

It has four movements: 

  • Adagio-Allegro (4/4)
  • Andante (2/4)
  • Minuet (3/4)
  • Presto (3/8)

Duration: 20-21 minutes

Adagio-Allegro 

  • Introduction in Dm->Am->Dm (Adagio).
  • Allegro in sonata form theme A in DM theme B in AM.
  • Development: first section based in theme A, second section based on a combination of A and B.

Andante

  • With lyrical character and the melody and countermelodies moving all through the wind section.
  • It has a ternary ABA form. A in the subdominant key GM and B in Am, motif derivated from A, but contrasting in texture and key.

Minuet

  • Minuet in DM
  • Trio in GM
  • The trio section is the only part of a symphony I took from one of my previous compositions. 
  • I rearranged and adapted a Minuet for piano a wrote a few months ago and posted on the forum.

Presto

  • Rondo form AABA'CABDA
  • A in DM 
  • B in AM
  • A' in Dm
  • C in Dm
  • After C, A appears in de subdominant key (GM) and B on the tonic (DM).
  • D modulating DM->Dm->Am->Dm.
  • C and D section close with and inversion of the opining A motiv inverted and aumented played in unison. 
  • A in the tonic closes the movement.

The last movement is the one I found more difficult to write, because of the form. 

Any feedback either positive, negative or constructive are welcome. 

Edited by Guillem82
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Indeed very classical. I think you clearly obtained a very classical symphony therefore accomplished your goal, it reminded me to the London symphonies of Joseph Haydn.

Movement 1

I loved the dark introduction in minor keys. The contrast from the introduction into the first theme is clear and very well accomplished. Love the development section especially when it becomes dark. The coda is simple as it would be in that period.

Movement 2

As you mentioned very lyrical, I liked how you gave importance to the woodwinds (even though when I listen to Haydn and early Mozart symphonies I always feel that the strings have the important part and the woodwinds are mere decoration). I do not criticize you because of using the woodwinds, on the contrary , I love that you give an important role to the woodwinds. The B section would be more in the style of Haydn with the stings the main melody. Nice coda.

Movement 3

The minuet is perfect (for me) even though I prefer scherzos (but I understand you what to do in the early classical style so no scherzo). I liked how you use the brass instruments as they would use them in the time. The trio is beautiful (therefore I have not much to say except you've done a very good work). 

Movement 4

Movement 4 is my personal favorite. It reminded me a lot of Haydn. The main theme was easy to remember (typical to the A themes of rondos). One thing I always felt of early classical symphonies is that the last movement always feels like if it was rushing to end itself, and I had the same feeling in your last movement (again an accomplishment is creating a good early classical symphony)  The coda was amazing and very good. 

 

In general I think is an amazing symphony that accomplishes its mission: recreating a symphony in the early classical style. Its easy to digest and the movements flow very smoothly. Great piece Guillem! You should be proud.

Edited by Hendrik Meniere
Sorry I meant London symphonies not Paris
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@Hendrik Meniere, I'm happy you like that, and thank's a lot for the detailt comments for every movement.

It took me a lot of hours to get it finished and the last movement was the harder one, because last movements from Haydn and Mozart are the ones that changes the most between their first to last symphonies. In the first symphonies finale is extremely short and quite simple in form. In last symphonies Finales are much longer and complex, and the counterpoint is breathtaking, specially in Mozart symphonies, which is totally out of my level. So I decided to write something in between their first and last symphonies. 

The last part I wrote was the introduction to the first movement. I didn't wrote it at first, because a lot of symphonies don't even have it, but I like the contrast of a dark slow introduction in the paralell minor, which makes the main theme even brighter when it comes, like in the introduction of Haydn's last symphony n.104, one of my favorite introductions ever. 

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@Guillem82 Haydn's symphony 104 is a masterpiece, and now that I listen to it again I can see clearly the influence. I love late works of Haydn and the introduction of his 104 symphony has a very similar mood to "The Creation" overture (the two works where written in the same period). The mood of the first theme in your sonata form reminded me to Haydn's morning symphony (nr.6).

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This is a great classical symphony!  I am just curious but do you intend to always compose in the classical style?  The symphony since then has undergone so much development - I am thinking you just want to take a gradual and well educated path towards writing more advanced symphonies?  There are many variations on the symphony that haven't even been explored by other symphonists.  Take for example Prokofiev's "Classical" Symphony instead of resorting to the traditional minuet and trio he wrote a gavotte.  Technically you could include any dance from the baroque dance suite such as a bourrée, sarabande, gigue, or courante just to name a few.  You could also include a programmatic context for your symphony like Beethoven's 6th etc.  There are so many possibilities!

I hope you don't interpret this as a put-down of your symphony - you did a tremendous job!  You've obviously put a lot of work and study into classical composition.  I just hope you don't limit yourself to some very specific rules you read or studied somewhere as the end-all of possibilities for composition in this genre.

The first movement is my favorite - I like the idea of having an introduction in the minor mode leading into the sonata-allegro form.  Very cool.  Thanks for the music and congratulations on this tremendous achievement!

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15 hours ago, JorgeDavid said:

wow... really really lovely symphony! I can totally feel how much care you have put into it! My favourite movement is also the last one, really nice job with that rondo form! 🙂 Congratulations!!

 

Thanks a lot for your feedback Jorge!

Saludos desde Barcelona.

Edited by Guillem82
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14 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

This is a great classical symphony!  I am just curious but do you intend to always compose in the classical style?  The symphony since then has undergone so much development - I am thinking you just want to take a gradual and well educated path towards writing more advanced symphonies?  There are many variations on the symphony that haven't even been explored by other symphonists.  Take for example Prokofiev's "Classical" Symphony instead of resorting to the traditional minuet and trio he wrote a gavotte.  Technically you could include any dance from the baroque dance suite such as a bourrée, sarabande, gigue, or courante just to name a few.  You could also include a programmatic context for your symphony like Beethoven's 6th etc.  There are so many possibilities!

I hope you don't interpret this as a put-down of your symphony - you did a tremendous job!  You've obviously put a lot of work and study into classical composition.  I just hope you don't limit yourself to some very specific rules you read or studied somewhere as the end-all of possibilities for composition in this genre.

The first movement is my favorite - I like the idea of having an introduction in the minor mode leading into the sonata-allegro form.  Very cool.  Thanks for the music and congratulations on this tremendous achievement!

 

@PaperComposer Thank's for you comments!

I appreciate your observation regarding style. You are right, symphonies have a lot of other possibilities, beyond the features of the classical era. I chose that style, because is the one I know the best and I'm more familiar with, and also one of my favorite styles in music. I also love later symphonies from Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms or Brückner, among others, but I think it's better to understand good the previous classical works before to dive into more complex forms and harmonies of the romantic era and later on. Maybe in the future I try with something more complex in a different style.

Very interesting what you say about Prokofiev's approach of replacing the minuet for another baroque dance, I didn't know that. Can you please recommend me a Prokofiev symphony to have a look at that? I don't know most of his works, just the Dance of the Knights from his Ballet Romeo and Juliet and Peter and the Wolf... 

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7 hours ago, Guillem82 said:

Very interesting what you say about Prokofiev's approach of replacing the minuet for another baroque dance, I didn't know that. Can you please recommend me a Prokofiev symphony to have a look at that? I don't know most of his works, just the Dance of the Knights from his Ballet Romeo and Juliet and Peter and the Wolf...

Sure!  His "Classical" Symphony is his Symphony No.1 which he supposedly wrote while riding on a train which for him was very inspirational.

Sergei Prokofiev - Symphony No. 1 - the Gavotte starts at 8:33

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On 9/3/2020 at 3:12 PM, bkho said:

Congratulations on your symphony!  A tremendous achievement.  An excellent example of the classical style, very Haydnesque.

 

Thanks for your comments!

I like Haydn Symphonies even more than Mozart's, so I'm happy to have captured the spirit of that.

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Im speechless! 

What an absolute joy! You know music is good when your feet tap and in you're imagination you become a conductor. 

Where did this come from? Did you discover a lost Haydn manuscript in someone's basement? Haha. Its a remarkable achievement to compose a symphony and this is wonderful! 

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14 hours ago, DarrenEngland said:

Im speechless! 

What an absolute joy! You know music is good when your feet tap and in you're imagination you become a conductor. 

Where did this come from? Did you discover a lost Haydn manuscript in someone's basement? Haha. Its a remarkable achievement to compose a symphony and this is wonderful! 

 

@DarrenEngland I really appreciate your comments! To be honest with you I started with the first movement with the idea to write just a Allegro-Sonata movement, but not a Symphony. I find sonata a very difficult form because of the development section and my previous atemps wasn't that successful, but that time I found a nice development section, working perfectly with theme A and B.

Then I thought to continue writing a three movement Symphony, and as I spent more and more hours the musical ideas where flowing nicely one after another. Finally I decided to write a minuet with trio as a 3rd movement to complete that.

But for that Symphony I had to concentrate a lot in form. In short compositions I don't care much on form, just leave ideas flow till I get a nice piece, but this time I had to analyze many classical works to grab ideas and have a basic skeleton form before start writing. That's a new approach for me, but I've learnt a lot with that Symphony and also had a lot of fun.

Of course, Haydn was my main source of inspiration, but I didn't find any manuscript in my basement...otherwise I would be rich, hahaha.

I have a question to the composers of the forum.Do you start composing with a previous form in mind? Or just leave ideas flow and the form comes by itself? Or once you have a first music idea and then you think which form can fit the best before further developing?

Writing that I have seen many approaches are possible and just curious about your experience :)

 

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1 hour ago, Guillem82 said:

I have a question to the composers of the forum.Do you start composing with a previous form in mind? Or just leave ideas flow and the form comes by itself? Or once you have a first music idea and then you think which form can fit the best before further developing?

Mostly I have a form in mind since I've tasked myself with composing dance forms but I do sometimes compose in a more improvised manner to get ideas. I generally begin jotting down a number of motifs in a chosen key. Then i choose a motif to develop into a melody. I complete the melody then decide on possible chord progressions and write the bass, usually simple root position minums and crochets which I use to outline possibilities, changing root position to first inversion where it suits the bass line. I then embellish the bass to suit the overall piece. Then I listen to the piece a number of times and make changes until, at least to my ears, the piece sounds convincing as the form I set out to compose.

I find using a formulaic approach helps to keep momentum. I like to stay mostly within my compositional comfort zone but also to make a deliberate effort to try out ideas as long as I can avoid too much frustration. I've made the mistake of wrestling with complexity beyond my knowledge and experience to realise that its bears little fruit, so no accidental symphonies from me just yet. 🙂

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8 hours ago, Guillem82 said:

I have a question to the composers of the forum.Do you start composing with a previous form in mind? Or just leave ideas flow and the form comes by itself? Or once you have a first music idea and then you think which form can fit the best before further developing?

Well - I think exposure to many various forms on this forum has personally helped me very much to choose a form for my material.  I don't think I would have written my Piano Quartet in G# minor as a sonata form if I hadn't had the opportunity to look at some sonatas on here.  However, my usual habit when writing short themes is to use them in a theme and variations (which is I guess more of a process than a form) which is useful as those can also be movements in a sonata.

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Awesome job! It's really great to hear people composing new music in a classical style. I don't really have anything negative to say about it, I think it's really good. The only truly constructive advice I would give is to maybe spend some time making the score look a little cleaner. I would suggest notating the triplets as an eighth note-sixteenth note triplet (Mvt.I - the bassoon and violin in m.2, and throughout the introduction for example) and to also spend some time putting slurs where appropriate - I'm not sure you expect the strings to bow every note throughout the whole symphony? And for the winds to articulate every note?

The rest of my comments are purely subjective for each movement:

  • Movement I
    • I really like the slow intro to contrast with the Allegro of the remainder of the movement. The only thing I thought was a little weak was the development section. You do a good job of manipulating your themes, but it kind of feels like the whole section wanders around before ending on a big chord at m.98. Other than that I really liked this movement
  • Movement II
    • My personal favorite movement. The way you contrasted your A and B theme by switching the strings from pizzicato to bowed was very effective. Well done!
  • Movement III
    • A nice minuet, not much to say here, good job.
  • Movement IV
    • I liked it overall, but I was kind of expecting a bigger ending. I might be biased toward the more grand finales of symphonies from the later romantic period though. If you were going for a more classical approach that makes sense.

Small nit-picky details aside, I really enjoyed the symphony. It's refreshing to hear people continue to develop this style of music. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on this monumental achievement!

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Very nice Guillem, excellent effort here. There is a lot of music here to look at to critique, though it sounds great. I know of a few early symphonies of Haydn, and of course Mozart and can see your choice of orchestration is consistent at least for the minuet. 
 

I am now tempted to try the same myself, though no doubt would take me a long time!

Best

Markus

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On 9/5/2020 at 3:39 AM, Guillem82 said:

I have a question to the composers of the forum.Do you start composing with a previous form in mind? Or just leave ideas flow and the form comes by itself? Or once you have a first music idea and then you think which form can fit the best before further developing?

I mostly let the music flow and whatever form it's in is what it's in. I mean, for something like a Sonata, I do make sure to have a movement in Sonata Form and a movement in Rondo form, but I don't like force the music into that form, it just naturally becomes that form. When I wrote my first orchestral piece ever, March of Iwo Jima, I wasn't even taking into consideration the form as I was writing it, just developing the motives and it naturally came to be in Sonata-Rondo form. As you can probably tell from listening to that piece, I'm influenced by Beethoven to a great extent.

 

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On 9/10/2020 at 12:24 AM, gmm said:

Awesome job! It's really great to hear people composing new music in a classical style. I don't really have anything negative to say about it, I think it's really good. The only truly constructive advice I would give is to maybe spend some time making the score look a little cleaner. I would suggest notating the triplets as an eighth note-sixteenth note triplet (Mvt.I - the bassoon and violin in m.2, and throughout the introduction for example) and to also spend some time putting slurs where appropriate - I'm not sure you expect the strings to bow every note throughout the whole symphony? And for the winds to articulate every note?

The rest of my comments are purely subjective for each movement:

  • Movement I
    • I really like the slow intro to contrast with the Allegro of the remainder of the movement. The only thing I thought was a little weak was the development section. You do a good job of manipulating your themes, but it kind of feels like the whole section wanders around before ending on a big chord at m.98. Other than that I really liked this movement
  • Movement II
    • My personal favorite movement. The way you contrasted your A and B theme by switching the strings from pizzicato to bowed was very effective. Well done!
  • Movement III
    • A nice minuet, not much to say here, good job.
  • Movement IV
    • I liked it overall, but I was kind of expecting a bigger ending. I might be biased toward the more grand finales of symphonies from the later romantic period though. If you were going for a more classical approach that makes sense.

Small nit-picky details aside, I really enjoyed the symphony. It's refreshing to hear people continue to develop this style of music. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on this monumental achievement!

 

Hi @gmmThanks so much for the detailt comments, really helpful! 

You are right I have to clean up the score a bit, putting silence and slurs when appropiate. 

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19 hours ago, Markus Boyd said:

Very nice Guillem, excellent effort here. There is a lot of music here to look at to critique, though it sounds great. I know of a few early symphonies of Haydn, and of course Mozart and can see your choice of orchestration is consistent at least for the minuet. 
 

I am now tempted to try the same myself, though no doubt would take me a long time!

Best

Markus

 

Thanks @Markus BoydIndeed it was a nice project I spent a lot of hours with last month, but I learnt a lot and had a lot of fun with that. I had to analyze a few works paying special atention to form and orchestration to write it according with the style and period, so I also gain some fluency in orchestral writing. 

I really encorage you give try, I'm sure you have the skills for that. I didn't think I was able to finish it myself in a month, but once I had the main motifs for each movement I was just a matter of putting hours on that and let ideas flow convincingly. 

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Just now, Guillem82 said:

Thanks @Markus BoydIndeed it was a nice project I spent a lot of hours with last month, but I learnt a lot and had a lot of fun with that. I had to analyze a few works paying special atention to form and orchestration to write it according with the style and period, so I also gain some fluency in orchestral writing. 

I really encorage you give a try, I'm sure you have the skills for that. I didn't think I was able to finish it myself in a month, but once I had the main motifs for each movement I was just a matter of putting hours on that and let ideas flow convincingly. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, caters said:

I mostly let the music flow and whatever form it's in is what it's in. I mean, for something like a Sonata, I do make sure to have a movement in Sonata Form and a movement in Rondo form, but I don't like force the music into that form, it just naturally becomes that form. When I wrote my first orchestral piece ever, March of Iwo Jima, I wasn't even taking into consideration the form as I was writing it, just developing the motives and it naturally came to be in Sonata-Rondo form. As you can probably tell from listening to that piece, I'm influenced by Beethoven to a great extent.

I agree with you @catersI usually let the form comes by itself, but 90% of the times my pieces end up to have the same structure ABA, and I think sometimes is also good to start with a existent form in mind, when you write something bigger, or out of ABA structure. 

 

 

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