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Nocturne Argentea


Tónskáld
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Hello, all!

Here's my most recent composition. This is a more sonorous piano piece, less "dissonant" perhaps, though it's still based on the symmetrical scales of the prelude I posted recently. The title means "silver nocturne," and is intended to be liquid and smooth and placid, like rippling moonlight on a quiet lake. It will likely become incorporated as a "slow" movement into a larger work. The work features motivic, rather than thematic, development; you will notice the same motif weave in and out of the sections.

Please let me know what you think of this. I'd love feedback of any kind! (This is a live recording so I do apologize for some of the choppiness in advance.)

Happy listening!

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45 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

The title means "silver nocturne," and is intended to be liquid and smooth and placid, like rippling moonlight on a quiet lake.

That is quite an evocative description!  I think if you orchestrated this piece you could even further bring out the "silvery" color of this piece (and I think there's quite an interesting discussion of orchestral color that you recently participated in).  It was the high end of the piano which @caters referenced as being used to portray an icy atmosphere so it's ironic that you would use it here to depict silvery rippling moonlight on the surface of the lake.

Although, in the score you never venture above a mf in dynamics it felt like maybe on the whole the piece didn't have that "whispering" quality that I would expect of night music.  Of course, if you orchestrated this you would have much more versatility in making it sound that way I think.  To me there are many places in this piece that evoke a kind of slow windy-ness.  Thanks for sharing!

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11 minutes ago, PaperComposer said:

That is quite an evocative description!  I think if you orchestrated this piece you could even further bring out the "silvery" color of this piece (and I think there's quite an interesting discussion of orchestral color that you recently participated in).  It was the high end of the piano which @caters referenced as being used to portray an icy atmosphere so it's ironic that you would use it here to depict silvery rippling moonlight on the surface of the lake.

Although, in the score you never venture above a mf in dynamics it felt like maybe on the whole the piece didn't have that "whispering" quality that I would expect of night music.  Of course, if you orchestrated this you would have much more versatility in making it sound that way I think.  To me there are many places in this piece that evoke a kind of slow windy-ness.  Thanks for sharing!

 

I see you saw my post about my planets suite in the Composers Headquarters.

And @Tónskáld I like your nocturne. Interesting how it alternates between 4/4 and 5/4. I've never pulled off that kind of seamless time signature change(I have pulled off a 3/4 to 4/4 change though in my Nocturne dei Fiori). I can imagine alternating meter would be hard to pull off so seamlessly as you have in your nocturne, especially between 2 time signatures whose meter isn't even related like the 4/4 and 5/4 alternation going on in your nocturne.

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5 minutes ago, PaperComposer said:

That is quite an evocative description!  I think if you orchestrated this piece you could even further bring out the "silvery" color of this piece (and I think there's quite an interesting discussion of orchestral color that you recently participated in).  It was the high end of the piano which @caters referenced as being used to portray an icy atmosphere so it's ironic that you would use it here to depict silvery rippling moonlight on the surface of the lake.

Orchestrating a work for piano is always fun! Maybe I'll set about doing that after I'm done with this suite.

I employed the piano's high register here to render it more gossamer-like, delicate and winding (although it could also portray an icy atmosphere, yes).

8 minutes ago, PaperComposer said:

Although, in the score you never venture above a mf in dynamics it felt like maybe on the whole the piece didn't have that "whispering" quality that I would expect of night music.  Of course, if you orchestrated this you would have much more versatility in making it sound that way I think.  To me there are many places in this piece that evoke a kind of slow windy-ness.  Thanks for sharing!

Oh, I'm sorry it didn't evoke night images for you! But I'm glad you found the slow windy-ness. 🙂 

Thanks for taking the time to listen and review!

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4 minutes ago, caters said:

I see you saw my post about my planets suite in the Composers Headquarters.

And @Tónskáld I like your nocturne. Interesting how it alternates between 4/4 and 5/4. I've never pulled off that kind of seamless time signature change(I have pulled off a 3/4 to 4/4 change though in my Nocturne dei Fiori). I can imagine alternating meter would be hard to pull off so seamlessly as you have in your nocturne, especially between 2 time signatures whose meter isn't even related like the 4/4 and 5/4 alternation going on in your nocturne.

Oh, thank you! I'm glad you like it. 🙂 

Yes, the "loose" time signatures. Maybe I'm a terrible composer for saying this, but I don't like to bound myself by rhythms. There has to be some rhythmic structure, of course. I like my melodies to be more free-flowing and organic, so I prefer time signatures with uneven meters. 5/4 and 7/4 are my favorites. 🙂 

Thanks for taking the time to listen and provide feedback!

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2 minutes ago, Tónskáld said:

Oh, thank you! I'm glad you like it. 🙂 

Yes, the "loose" time signatures. Maybe I'm a terrible composer for saying this, but I don't like to bound myself by rhythms. There has to be some rhythmic structure, of course. I like my melodies to be more free-flowing and organic, so I prefer time signatures with uneven meters. 5/4 and 7/4 are my favorites. 🙂 

Thanks for taking the time to listen and provide feedback!

 

Well, I like free flowing and organic melodies too, but usually I'm able to get it all to fit in 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, 9/8, or occasionally 12/8 by having triplets in the melody(I've even used triplets as a more rhythmically exact version of a mordent after a dotted note, such as in my still incomplete Funeral March in F Minor). I've tried 5/4 and well, put it this way, it frustrates me when I try to write in it because I usually treat 5/4 as Simple Quintuple Meter(i.e. each quarter note is a beat in and of itself) and Musescore insists on a 3+2 pattern and so I end up having to unbeam a lot of notes and it's just time consuming. I mean, I can count 1,2,3,4,5 very fast in my head so playing in 5/4 is no problem, regardless of rhythm pattern(normal 4/4 + an extra beat, 3+2, 2+3, Alternating 3/4 and 2/4 rhythm written more concisely, or 5 simple beats, doesn't matter as far as playing in 5/4 goes), it's writing in 5/4 that brings a frustration similar to this:

Quote

Myself composing in 5/4: Musescore, why do you do this to me? I'm just trying to have each quarter note be it's own beat. And there you go beaming 12 sixteenth notes together.

Musescore: I'm set at 3+2, can't do Simple Quintuple Meter on my own, sorry.

Myself: Arrgh, I have to unbeam each 4 note group now. That's better. Now let me continue.

Musescore: Haha, very funny, I'm still in 3+2 you know.

Myself: Aah! That's it, if you won't even do a Simple Quintuple Meter, what's the point of writing in 5/4 anyway? I could probably get this across with 3/4 and 2/4 just as well and without the unbeaming notes frustration you put on me with 5/4.

And so I usually don't bother with 5/4, the one time signature that's both simple and irregular compound, but will write in 6/4 as that's definitely compound(still 2 interpretations, but that's a 3/4 vs 2/4, which I can rhythmically and dynamically exploit, essentially getting a 3:2 polymeter in a single time signature).

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7 minutes ago, caters said:

And so I usually don't bother with 5/4, the one time signature that's both simple and irregular compound, but will write in 6/4 as that's definitely compound(still 2 interpretations, but that's a 3/4 vs 2/4, which I can rhythmically and dynamically exploit, essentially getting a 3:2 polymeter in a single time signature).

True, I don't know that any human "naturally" hears or feels 5/4 meter. It's something I've had to work on over the years, usually by just forcing myself to compose pieces in that time signature. Once you have it, though, it's hard to go back to composing in even meters. They begin to feel too... well, even!

So if you're looking to write in 5/4 time, just do it and see what happens. Eventually you'll start to intuitively pick up on the patterns.

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Hello Jordan!

This piece is very evocative in the sense it set out to be, so kudos for that!

On 11/6/2020 at 12:51 AM, PaperComposer said:

Although, in the score you never venture above a mf in dynamics it felt like maybe on the whole the piece didn't have that "whispering" quality that I would expect of night music.

This is an interesting point, as you can see something quite similar in Debussy's "des pas sur la neige". The dynamic range on the piece is very shallow, and it tries to produce the image of walking on a snowy setting. I don't know if this limits the "nightyness" of the piece, however, as I think the interpreter of the piece has plenty of space to bring out the colors he/she desires.

Also about color, I like how there is constant interplay between sections with very consonant harmonies to some that are a bit more crunchy. It really puts into perspective how beautiful a simple, consonant passage might sound like.

M. 54 might need some cleaning. (funny that it happend on m 54, as the whole discussion in this post is about 5/4 time signatures)

Anyways, great nocturne : )

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3 hours ago, Jean Szulc said:

M. 54 might need some cleaning. (funny that it happend on m 54, as the whole discussion in this post is about 5/4 time signatures)

Thank you for catching that! I called myself looking through the score but I always miss something.

3 hours ago, Jean Szulc said:

Anyways, great nocturne : )

Your comments are always kind and very welcome. Thanks, friend!

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2 hours ago, SergeOfArniVillage said:

Lovely work. I really like how “placid” and smooth the 3rds and 4ths are in places like mss. 17 and 18, and how that contrasts with the little “pinpricks” of the more jagged harmonies like in mss. 28 and 29. It all flows really well.

Well, it is good to hear from you again, stranger! I'm very touched by your kind review.

Thank you!

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