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I think this will be my last upload for a while, im reaching the limits of my current music theory knowledge and is about time I studied some more.

I also think I will play my own piano music from now on, this piece sounds so much more expressive played on the piano, I just don't have decent sound recording. The clicking of the keys is audible when I record myself. Perhaps I'll upload a snippet of me improvising and let me know if the sound quality is acceptable?

This piece has caused me so much trouble where I've not studied harmony and perhaps that will be evident in my chord progressions. I tried composing a longer piece but my understanding of form is lacking. I was pleased with the melody though.

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Nice job!  I felt like the exposition is a bit better musically conceived than the recapitulation however and especially in measure 30 I feel like something is off and you approach the ending cadence quite differently in m. 32 and it ends up being a 9 measure phrase.  I understand that you want to end on the tonic this time but maybe you could find a way to use sequences in a similar way to the exposition as that seemed to work pretty well there.

About that second recording you posted - it is quite beautiful!  I don't hear any bothersome clicking of the keys in your recording - just some interference, but nonetheless you have quite a beautiful piano tone and it projects nicely!

I do notice that the second piece uses quite a bit more space in it's conception although I enjoyed both.

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I enjoyed it! I know what you mean though, I am feeling the same lately. Composing takes so much time that it is hard to keep learning new music theory concepts :S. I am also considering focusing on learning piano and, as a bonus, just trying to compose a really simple "copy" of every piano piece I learn and maybe practice orquestration by orquestrating them in a simple way too, i dont know.

In any case, you are doing really well! You have been quite productive lately and all of your things were nice! I really like the melody of this piece! The piece is okay as it is but in the future, if you revisit it, I can imagine it transformed into a really really nice romantic style piano piece.

I agree with PaperComposer that the second audio is nice. I have tried to record myself sometimes in my piano and there I could hear the "click" like 10 times louder 😅 I think your rendition sounded quite nice. I have never tried to record anything in a proper way, but I can imagine if you use a nice microphone and take a little care for preparing a recording set-up, your piano recordings would sound really great!

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6 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

Nice job!  I felt like the exposition is a bit better musically conceived than the recapitulation however and especially in measure 30 I feel like something is off and you approach the ending cadence quite differently in m. 32 and it ends up being a 9 measure phrase.  I understand that you want to end on the tonic this time but maybe you could find a way to use sequences in a similar way to the exposition as that seemed to work pretty well there.

About that second recording you posted - it is quite beautiful!  I don't hear any bothersome clicking of the keys in your recording - just some interference, but nonetheless you have quite a beautiful piano tone and it projects nicely!

I do notice that the second piece uses quite a bit more space in it's conception although I enjoyed both.

 

Hi, Paper

Thank you for listening and commenting on my music. I've learnt so much from your comments and suggestions. I ended up composing the recap hurriedly because I felt frustrated with the piece. Usually I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours on a piece however after 4 days I lost my patience with this one. I think I will fix the recap to balance the exposition and upload a recording of me playing it soon.

Im glad you liked the second piece, its a fragment I was playing with and improvising, perhaps I will finish it if it has value. 

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6 hours ago, JorgeDavid said:

I enjoyed it! I know what you mean though, I am feeling the same lately. Composing takes so much time that it is hard to keep learning new music theory concepts :S. I am also considering focusing on learning piano and, as a bonus, just trying to compose a really simple "copy" of every piano piece I learn and maybe practice orquestration by orquestrating them in a simple way too, i dont know.

In any case, you are doing really well! You have been quite productive lately and all of your things were nice! I really like the melody of this piece! The piece is okay as it is but in the future, if you revisit it, I can imagine it transformed into a really really nice romantic style piano piece.

I agree with PaperComposer that the second audio is nice. I have tried to record myself sometimes in my piano and there I could hear the "click" like 10 times louder 😅 I think your rendition sounded quite nice. I have never tried to record anything in a proper way, but I can imagine if you use a nice microphone and take a little care for preparing a recording set-up, your piano recordings would sound really great!

 

Hi, Jorge

Thank you for listening and commenting on my music. Your words are encouraging which is needed when I constantly doubt myself.

What are you learning to play at the moment on the piano? I highly recommend the book, musical leisure hours by JCF Bach, its the book I learnt to play the piano with although I'm still technically a beginner. It is a book of mostly dance forms and they are fun to play and not ugly beginners pieces. They also taught me composition as they are exemplars of late baroque and early classical forms and they would lend themselves to your own variations or student-copies.

I have a digital piano, I think I could use the headphone jack of the piano to plug into a laptop microphone input to record directly in digital without interference or key clicking, ill look into it. 

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5 hours ago, Papageno said:

Hi, Jorge

Thank you for listening and commenting on my music. Your words are encouraging which is needed when I constantly doubt myself.

What are you learning to play at the moment on the piano? I highly recommend the book, musical leisure hours by JCF Bach, its the book I learnt to play the piano with although I'm still technically a beginner. It is a book of mostly dance forms and they are fun to play and not ugly beginners pieces. They also taught me composition as they are exemplars of late baroque and early classical forms and they would lend themselves to your own variations or student-copies.

I have a digital piano, I think I could use the headphone jack of the piano to plug into a laptop microphone input to record directly in digital without interference or key clicking, ill look into it. 

 

I have a book called "the piano handbook" by "Carl Humphries" which I plan to practice form beginning to end. I like how well explained things are, the audio files and how there are pieces from different styles and levels. But I use that book only as pedagogic material. When I get bored with those pieces (which is often 😅) and I just want to play what I want to, I print some Bach pieces and practice those (mostly easy minuets from the French Suites, which are not easy for me but still quite fun to practice). But I am still at a really low level. I spent around a year practicing quite hard but then I stopped for a few months... so I want to try to focus on practicing again for another year to see if I reach intermediate level at least :S. I will check out the JCF Bach book, it will probably have many nice and "easy-intermediate" pieces, which is what I need to keep practicing! I really want to learn piano because I feel it will help me compose. I compose main themes and important melodic parts only in my head and then I transcribe them, but when I need to "add" musical fillers to those main themes I think playing and improvising in the piano helps me come up with ideas so much faster.

Recording the piano directly from the headphone jack is a good idea! Also, if your digital piano has a usb port, you can probably connect it to a digital audio station and record directly from there, with any kind of midi feedback you need. However, I tried that before and got an awful delay in the sound. There must be a way to solve it but I guess I did not take enough time to find out how to do it yet 😅 Also, sometimes I find the midi sound a little bit "harsh" when it is not accompanied by some noise or the natural reverb from the room (for example, I think my digital piano sounds so much better when played through the speakers than through the earphones, but I guess that could be due to many things) so you might preffer to record the sound from your paino speakers with a mic, instead of recording directly from the headphone jack, that way the resulting sound might be more realistic. I guess the best thing is to try all those options out!

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You know, if you want to improve the way your form works you should think about how your themes are structured. By "theme" I mean the main melodic material as you would see it in the typical sonata form-type structures.

 

So, let's say you have a subject that's 4+4 bars. That's pretty typical in a lot of Vienna classic music. You'd have a pretty standard harmonic rhythm and a very typical T -> D, then D -> T cadence in bars 4 and 8 respectively. Alternatively, you can also modulate and use other structures, but I think if you're not sure what you're doing, sticking to symmetrical structures is a good idea at the start.

 

In your piece, there's no such structure, so it sounds like you're just randomly modulating into the dominant in measure 4 (and then it cadences further into G minor of all things. What's the connection between F major and G minor?) You intuitively (or not) actually made a very typical 4 bar phrase, but what happens then is weird. You'd be much better served to repeat those first four bars still in F major rather than modulating into C until later AFTER your thematic idea is complete, and then stick in C for a bit, maybe do A minor, or D minor, which are more flexible in this context. This is also why it sounds better to tack on that repeat bar at the end, but you could do without a repeat bar if you gave your theme and material a little more time.

 

You don't need complicated harmony to write something cool. Remember, it's not what you use, it's how you use it. That's why most of my critique is usually concentrated on form and time, since the material itself isn't usually a problem.

 

Another thing is that I think you're thinking more in terms of the movement of the voices in counterpoint than the actual harmony, which is why you can get away with the weird modulations sounding OK since you're only in two voices doing moderately competent voice leading. If you want to strengthen your ability to plan out harmony, write in more than just two voices. Use chords and more "accompaniment" figures. You do this more in the second part, but still it's predominantly only two voices.

 

 

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3 hours ago, SSC said:

You know, if you want to improve the way your form works you should think about how your themes are structured. By "theme" I mean the main melodic material as you would see it in the typical sonata form-type structures.

 

So, let's say you have a subject that's 4+4 bars. That's pretty typical in a lot of Vienna classic music. You'd have a pretty standard harmonic rhythm and a very typical T -> D, then D -> T cadence in bars 4 and 8 respectively. Alternatively, you can also modulate and use other structures, but I think if you're not sure what you're doing, sticking to symmetrical structures is a good idea at the start.

 

In your piece, there's no such structure, so it sounds like you're just randomly modulating into the dominant in measure 4 (and then it cadences further into G minor of all things. What's the connection between F major and G minor?) You intuitively (or not) actually made a very typical 4 bar phrase, but what happens then is weird. You'd be much better served to repeat those first four bars still in F major rather than modulating into C until later AFTER your thematic idea is complete, and then stick in C for a bit, maybe do A minor, or D minor, which are more flexible in this context. This is also why it sounds better to tack on that repeat bar at the end, but you could do without a repeat bar if you gave your theme and material a little more time.

 

You don't need complicated harmony to write something cool. Remember, it's not what you use, it's how you use it. That's why most of my critique is usually concentrated on form and time, since the material itself isn't usually a problem.

 

Another thing is that I think you're thinking more in terms of the movement of the voices in counterpoint than the actual harmony, which is why you can get away with the weird modulations sounding OK since you're only in two voices doing moderately competent voice leading. If you want to strengthen your ability to plan out harmony, write in more than just two voices. Use chords and more "accompaniment" figures. You do this more in the second part, but still it's predominantly only two voices.

 

 

 

Hi SSC

Thank you for listening to my piece and for your suggestions and explanations. 

The motif of my theme is simple and that's why I used tonicisations to add harmonic variety to it. Measure 4 is an echo of measure 3 and its a sequence that flirts with the dominant. Perhaps because it ends the phrase that's why it seems odd not to continue in that key, im undecided.

Bars 5 through 8 are whats called a 'fonte' which is a common schema used in the classical style. More common in the galant era and more often at the beginning of a second section using a snippet of the main theme. I've used it out of context I guess which could explain why it sounds weird. Im glad you pointed the tonicisations out, I wouldn't have questioned them otherwise. It may be subjective whether the tonicisations worked in the theme but I suspect you could be right.

I get what you are saying about using periods, I've composed a dozen minuets using periods that follow the standard pattern. Perhaps the theme would sound more in style in period form. 

I agree with your point about using more variety rather than just the two voices. This is something I will be working on next. 

Thanks again for your feedback. Your comments always make me question my decisions even if I don't agree at first and thats exactly why I solicited your review. 

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2 minutes ago, Papageno said:

The motif of my theme is simple and that's why I used tonicisations to add harmonic variety to it.

The whole point of the galant style "revolution" was a very heavy focus on cadences. The Vienna classic stuff that comes after is even more cadence-focused. I'd say that's kind of the main stylistic point, that it's cadence-oriented. So, if you're using secondary dominant chords, they need to be in the context of a cadence for it to be in that style. So, sure, you can do T (DD) D T or more typically T (DD7/b5) D T, but that stuff needs to go in the context of a cadence and cadences are what control structure. That's why it seems "older" to do the thing you're doing, which is vary the harmonies outside of the main cadences.

 

Notably the biggest exception to this is modulations, which can happen outside of cadences through development sections (sequencing and division of motifs.) Even so, you'd be hard pressed to find modulations that don't include a proper cadence.

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6 minutes ago, SSC said:

The whole point of the galant style "revolution" was a very heavy focus on cadences. The Vienna classic stuff that comes after is even more cadence-focused. I'd say that's kind of the main stylistic point, that it's cadence-oriented. So, if you're using secondary dominant chords, they need to be in the context of a cadence for it to be in that style. So, sure, you can do T (DD) D T or more typically T (DD7/b5) D T, but that stuff needs to go in the context of a cadence and cadences are what control structure. That's why it seems "older" to do the thing you're doing, which is vary the harmonies outside of the main cadences.

 

Notably the biggest exception to this is modulations, which can happen outside of cadences through development sections (sequencing and division of motifs.) Even so, you'd be hard pressed to find modulations that don't include a proper cadence.

 

Aha, now I see what you mean. That makes sense! Now I see why the tonicisations aren't working! I'll bear that in mind next time I use secondary dominants. Really useful info, thanks again SSC.

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