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Hello all!

Here I go with a second minuet. There is no trio section for this one (yet?). I really try to focus on writing simpler and shorter so that I don't get lost in over ambitious ideas

This one has a bit more of a contrapuntal texture. The part A is supposed to be in Bach style (but part B not so much, I just built it upon a melody I was humming).

Again, feel free to share with me all criticism that comes to mind! 

Thanks in advance ūüôā

 

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minuet_#2.mp3

 

Edited by Coxi
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Hi Coxi.  Isn't this Minuet in E major?  It starts and ends in E major and the key signature is E major but your title says "Minuet in B"?  Also there are a few melodic tritones in your melody - it's not a hard and fast rule to avoid them since Bach himself broke it a few times (measures 2 beat 2, and meas. 8 beats 1 and 2 and measures 18 and 24 too).  Besides that it was a quaint little minuet!

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Oh I'm sorry it used to be a minuet in B but I changed in the middle of uploading haha! I will edit if I can

I will have a look at those tritones tomorrow and see if I can find an easy workaround for that. Thanks for telling me, I tend to miss them too easily indeed! Thank you very much for the comment !

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  • Coxi changed the title to Minuet in E

Hi Coxi.

Before I get to commenting on your piece I'd like to ask, what method of composition do use?

Some decide on the harmony first then create a melody to fit the harmony. Some work out a rhythm, create the melody, then harmonise it. Others compose bar by bar, creating the melody and harmony at once. Some improvise at an instrument and create the music before writing it down. I dare say some composers use all the above. All approaches have their merits however I believe focusing on melody first, perfecting it, and then adding the bass only once the melody is finished suits the composition of a minuet.

I begin a minuet composition by humming, whistling or by improvising a motif at the piano. I might create a few motifs before i pick one. Then i develop the motif into a melody. I play back the melody and listen for its weaknesses and make many alterations until the melody is good enough. Then i decide what harmony to use. I mostly use one chord per bar and decided which chords are possible given the melody and experiment to see what works. At this stage I don't create a bass melody, I just place minims and crotchets on the bass staff to just hear the harmony. At times I must make changes to the melody if a good chord progression becomes apparent but it rarely causes any issues.

Once I've decided on the harmony I then use mostly crotchets to create the bass melody using a combination of scale lines and broken chords. I often mute the treble clef on my notation software to listen to the bass melody and make sure it makes sense by itself. I believe this formulaic approach facilitates better melody writing and just makes composing easier and helps develop the individual compositional skills.

In summary:

1. Create a few motifs in the same key
2. Choose a motif
3. Develope motif into a melody
4. Play back and refine melody
5. Identify possible chords that harmonise the melody
6. Create super simple bass to try out the chord choices
7. Develop the bass into its own melody

I hope this is helpful. When i started composing I used all the compositional approaches but found the formulaic approach helped in composing more in the limited free time that I have. I dont think I would compose larger pieces in this fashion but minuet composition for beginners are compositional exercises that I believe benefit from a logical approach.

Looking at the first bar of your piece I notice you begin on the fifth scale degree and proceed by step to the leading tone and then leap down a 4th before leaping up to the tonic thats on a weak beat. The melody outlines V7 in the first two beats before the tonic is heard. I think if you want to begin on the 5th then moving down by step would outline the tonic chord and become a stronger beginning.

The second bar has three chords, V, II, and I. This progression is an error since V can only proceed to I or VI in the classical style and not II which is a subdominant chord. I'll stop my analysis there because I think if you isolate your melody your ear will pick up on any odd sounds.

I'll include a mp3 and score with the first bars of your melody side by side with my suggestions.

I believe your melody is good in that theres a good balance between unity and variety and it follows a good contour. Perhaps using schemata framework would help you in your melody construction. Mozart used schemata throughout his career in fact one schemata is named after his final symphony.

Guillem recommended me this website which has a good summary of schemata:

http://openmusictheory.com/schemataSummary.html

I would also recommend the theory book written by Riepel in the 18th century. It is the book owned by Leopold Mozart and most likely used to teach his son composition and has found its way more recently into some university courses. The book teaches how to compose minuets in the Galant style and demonstrates that once you've mastered the minuet, the sonata isn't far behind. I've cut and pasted a snippet from the book where he talks about rhythm in the minuet and how some rhythms are not suited to the style. You can get the book for free on this website:

https://www.pdfdrive.com/joseph-riepiels-theory-of-metric-and-tonal-order-phrase-and-form-e158190404.html

Please compose more minuets! I really enjoy listening to them.

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Hi, thank you for your comment!

I'm using minuets pretty much as a formal exercise only, cause I don't enjoy the format much haha. Therefore, the method I use varies each time and is very "exercise-like". For this one, I put a 1 minute timer, and forced myself to come up with a minimalistic tune by noodling on a keyboard. I then put at the bass, and worked with the constraint to keep it unchanged and tried to build upon it. Some of the stuff you pointed out stems from that!

I like your melodic suggestion for the 1st bar, but it doesn't fit the bass that I forced upon myself ūüėõ¬†I could however kinda shift the original line so that it outlines a I chord from a 3rd to a 5th, but I'm not sure I like the sound of it at all (starting on an imperfect consonance sounds¬†weak). But I'll keep your tip in mind for a time when I compose from melody primarily.

 

In the second bar, I get your point and you're probably right. The way I was seeing it however is a V - I6 movement with a sort of "passing chord" in between (the purely passing character being¬†suggested by the stepwise scalar motion inside each of the first bars). Actually, the move was more or less inspired from Fux counterpoint treatise (I was just out of some species counterpoint when I started this), where this happens freely (the cantus firmus actually kinda suggests this motion in several examples). But fux is not really in a tonal context, even though you could infer tones, so I'm not sure this makes sense here. I tried to find similar examples in the last pieces of Bach I¬†worked with. I did find some¬†instances when a similar "passing bass" is inserted during an inversion of a V chord, but this "passing bass" is not clear in terms of chord implication (it comes with a¬†7th interval on top which is generally considered a non-chord tone in 2-parts Bach style according to my textbook). So I'm indeed unsure whether this 2nd measure makes sense in a tonal context. Actually, you can¬†hear that this¬† inserted chord¬†delays the resolution, I just can't really decide if that's necessarily a bad thing!¬†It is somewhat¬†tricky to have a harmonic progression that makes sense in the long run¬†sense with my constraint of a very linear bass ūüėõ

 

Thanks for passing by!

Edited by Coxi
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