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Adagio in E minor, what do you think of it so far?


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Here's a piece I've been working on the past few days, an Adagio in E Minor for solo piano. I've reached the C minor section(that's where the momentum in the bass picks up to the point of me not marking the pedal so it doesn't get muddy). I was aiming for that "stable but not so stable" kind of feeling in the A minor section that starts at bar 40. I've thought of adding a second voice to the right hand starting in bar 17 where the E minor melody is taken up an octave, but I'm not certain if it should be above the original melody, below it, or a mixture of both, I just know that I think it needs a second voice there. There's a chromatic lament bass starting in bar 28 and then the melody comes back in bar 32. Bars 48-58 seem almost chorale-like to me, like I should turn the right hand melody into a string of chords. What do you think of the piece so far?

I haven't put in the dynamics yet, but that's because dynamics are one of the last things I add to my compositions followed only by slurs. Notes and articulations come first. I can hear the dynamic arc within the piece and that arc is what I go by when it comes time to add the dynamics. One thing I'm wondering in terms of the pedaling is if I should mark that the pedal is to be absent in bar 62. I mean, I know that sometimes, even without a pedal sempre marking, the pianist will continue pedaling where it isn't marked and bar 62 isn't really suited for pedaling because of the C minor scale in the bass. And come to think of it, how would I mark that the pedal is to be absent?

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I thought it was ok, I would like more form. It feels like its meandering forever. 

If you want the program to play the music correctly, you will have to add all the dynamics and pedals... If you want the real Pianist to play it correctly, you can add "simile" after a while then the pianist will continue the pattern without it being on the page. For the measure that pedaling wont work, I'm not sure. I think if you put the pedals back the next measure, then the musician would figure it out. I'm not totally sure. 

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5 hours ago, i(don't)suckatcomposing said:

I thought it was ok, I would like more form. It feels like its meandering forever.

That's kind of the point of my Adagio, that it meanders between multiple emotional landscapes and multiple keys with more distant relations. I feel this meandering naturally happening whenever I improvise in E minor. So far I have ended up with this key/emotion arc:

E minor, Melancholic drama -> A minor/C major(second part of it, the more chorale-like section emphasizes C major more, but not entirely), more stability, less melancholy, but not like permanent stability, prepares for next section with the shared diminished seventh chord between A minor and C minor -> C minor, completely unstable, adrenaline rush(sixteenth note momentum), wants to move towards stability(Kind of like the Pathetique Sonata first movement exposition or the Pathetique Sonata third movement emotionally speaking)

5 hours ago, i(don't)suckatcomposing said:

If you want the program to play the music correctly, you will have to add all the dynamics and pedals...

I know that, and I will, dynamics are one of the last things for me to add when I'm composing.

5 hours ago, i(don't)suckatcomposing said:

If you want the real Pianist to play it correctly, you can add "simile" after a while then the pianist will continue the pattern without it being on the page.

I know that too, and I can achieve the appearance of the real piano score and the playback of Musescore with 2 simple things, making the pedal markings past a certain point invisible by pressing V, and Ctrl + E to type in simile as expression text

6 hours ago, i(don't)suckatcomposing said:

For the measure that pedaling wont work, I'm not sure. I think if you put the pedals back the next measure, then the musician would figure it out. I'm not totally sure.

See, I'm not so sure that I will be able to use the pedal at all for the C minor section. The momentum picks up as it goes into the C minor section, to a point where I'd be worried that pedaling would only muddy it up.

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It works well enough. It does seem to have a lack of form, but if that's what you're going for then that's that. 

On 12/20/2020 at 12:05 AM, caters said:

the pianist will continue pedaling where it isn't marked and bar 62 isn't really suited for pedaling because of the C minor scale in the bass. And come to think of it, how would I mark that the pedal is to be absent?

If you really want the pedal to be marked as absent, write "non ped". However, any pianist worth their salt will now when and when not to pedal. You don't need to write every single line in. Debussy never wrote pedal markings, largely because it changes between player and piano.

I think the piece could do with a little more contrast, as it all feels the same. Perhaps this is what you could continue it with.

aMC

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Like the others said, it lacks in form, however you could make the piece feel more united if you use some common motives, or common chord progression beetween the modulations. This is a resource used in pieces without from like fantasias or impromptu.

The piece feels a little repetitive at some points, even when you are modulating that effect of "wandering off" is not completly archieved, so I would suggest more contrast beetwen the sections.

On 12/19/2020 at 4:05 PM, caters said:

I've thought of adding a second voice to the right hand starting in bar 17 where the E minor melody is taken up an octave, but I'm not certain if it should be above the original melody, below it, or a mixture of both

That depends of the role that the melody has, a second melody above it will probably overshadow it. if you only want to complement it, put it below.

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33 minutes ago, Tortualex said:

even when you are modulating that effect of "wandering off" is not completly archieved, so I would suggest more contrast beetwen the sections.

The C minor section is definitely going to have significant contrast to the E minor and A minor sections. But you're saying that even the A minor section should have more contrast? I thought the inclusion of the chorale-like section emphasizing C major more, the more constant eighth notes, and more staccato notes was sufficient. Maybe it will be once I harmonize the melody of bars 48-58, turning it into chords.

45 minutes ago, Tortualex said:

That depends of the role that the melody has, a second melody above it will probably overshadow it. if you only want to complement it, put it below.

I was only planning on adding a complementary voice, not overshadowing it and making the original melody the countermelody, so I'll put the second voice below and make it the countermelody. I'm good with 2 voices of melody and countermelody. When a third melody is brought into the mix is when it gets much harder for me to 1) avoid parallels and 2) avoid dissonance where it doesn't belong.

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What you have here, at least in the opening motif, are basic chord progressions with a melodic idea. With respect - and I have to say it as no one else will - those melodic ideas are generally not coherent. However, after having a brief look at it, you are heading in the right direction. ]

Before you go any further, my advice would be to review your current material (particularly the opening subject) and find ways to develop. This will help you to develop this into an interesting piece of music.

To illustrate, I have done just that on your opening theme, following your progressions. I did this by simply rewriting the melody above your bass, with a focus on its interaction with the lower part. I then added a third voice that enabled contrary motion in places along with a more complete harmony. It could be tweaked further but I haven't the time as I need to go to bed now!

Edited by Markus Boyd
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