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Cantata virtual choir


i(don't)suckatcomposing
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I hired people on Fiverr to sing my cantata, so here it is...

Let me know about what you think. I think it came out okay.. a mediocre rendition. But I'm very critical on myself, so what do you think?

 

 

Since I didn't list the order in the video:

1. Sinfonia

2. Verse 1

2. Recitative

3. Verse 2

4. Verse 3 (Soprano Solo)

5. Verse 4 (Bass Solo)

6. Chorale

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Hi Shaun, 

I listened to the whole work. clearly, this has been a considerable undertaking that you have committed to finalising with vocalists. I’m not very experienced at writing for words so I cannot offer any constructive criticism there however, for what it is worth, it appears to work.
 

Stylistically, this is quite idiosyncratic. I cannot fully determine what your stylistic objectives are because of this - do share this with us. Many of your cadences are highly embellished, for example, in a non traditional manner. There is a lot of music here to look at, and I must hit the pillow now. I would like to read more about what you wished to achieve here and for what purpose or occasion. That way I might be able to offer better criticism. 

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I was going for a cantata, in a similar way that Bach or Handel would've done it. Stylistically I was going for Baroque, but it seems that I go all over the place, some parts being more romantic while others being more baroque. I just compose at the moment, what I think sounds good. I was actually talking about verse 2 with my piano teacher, and he said that cadences are not really there, but I showed him where they were, and explained that they were not structured in a 4 or 8 bar sections. 

I don't really think of a program when I compose something, but this would most definitely fit in for Easter services. I think ultimately this was to get some experience with a virtual choir/choir in general. It seems that people think that this was "great", and honestly its probably the high-point of my composition life at the moment. But I know that this isn't exactly how I want it, I'm still trying to figure it out. It would probably help if I just focus on learning what I get in Tonal Harmony Class... I'm in Intermediate Harmony(3) right now.

I just got a new textbook, "Music in the Galant style". I'm taking some notes and hopefully I will get a more authentic baroque style. 

It's 1am, and I need to get to bed, I have school at 6am. I hope this is a starter.

 

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The principle theme for the sinfonia, along with the basso continuo, is well written. I would have liked to see more modulation, as mostly remains in the key of F minor and features a relatively small development. Also, as a classical guitarist, and I feel I have to say it... flat keys are unusual and I don't think I have seen a piece of music (until now!) written in F minor for guitar. This post explains the reasons for this:

I think the Theorbo would be a better fit for this reason, in a real life performance, and with the classical guitar not in existence in Bach's time... Just be expected to be shot if you asked a guitarist to play in F Minor or B flat minor!

I particularly enjoyed verse 1, which features some nice orchestration and the voice leading is ok. Just be mindful of consecutive 5ths between the bass and second violin. I have not looked through the rest of the score in detail - you might want to check this:

image.png.2677716678d8241c11b2347de3ff16dc.png

 

The voice parts are a little static for my taste, though that might be an effect you intend.

Of all the movements, verse 3 is my favorite. Contrast between the movements is important and this provides that contrast. The voice writing is quite Handelian and I think it is very good. My only criticism of this movement concerns orchestration, which I think was influenced by your phrase construction which are somewhat unorthodox. It just means opportunities for rests in the music would be somewhat more difficult to identity when approaching orchestration. The instrumental parts are thus continuous and a little uninteresting, if I may say so, due to the static texture. This is something you should look at refining whilst reading that book of Gjerdigen's, which focuses much on musical sentences and how they were constructed from a voice leading perspective.

That's all I can add at this point. As I say there is a lot of music so I don't really have the time to look at this in great detail. It is a really good effort though and you have done something at least I have seldom done: write for words. I will be interested to hear your future output once you have progressed with your new book. 

Best wishes

 

 

 

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Let me quickly mention some things, I originally wrote the Sinfonia in A minor. I consulted with my private lesson teacher who is a trumpet player suggested I kick the tune down a 3rd to F minor to make it more playable for the Trumpet. I didn't think about the guitar part until just recently. We got a new person in the college band, a guitar player, and I've learned that flat keys are awesome for brass, sucks for strings. 

For the consecutive 5ths, I thought the only problem was parallel and direct perfect 5ths. These are imperfect 5ths, I may be wrong. But the bigger issue with that section is probably the narrowly avoided parallels octaves between the Soprano and Bass.  

Thank you for your comments, I hope that book will improve my writing...

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I just recently learned guitar so I don't know if everything that I am about to say is completely correct but I think F minor is still a feasible key if you use a capo on the 1st fret.  Essentially you almost kind of transpose the whole guitar up a half step when you use the guitar capo on the 1st fret so all the fingerings one would usually use for E minor, A, etc. can now easily be used for F minor, Bb, etc.  Also if you need to have a leading tone down below an F minor chord (E natural) you can use drop D tuning where the low E string is tuned to a D and then use a capo to transpose that up a half step which makes that feasible as well.

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1 hour ago, PaperComposer said:

I just recently learned guitar so I don't know if everything that I am about to say is completely correct but I think F minor is still a feasible key if you use a capo on the 1st fret.  Essentially you almost kind of transpose the whole guitar up a half step when you use the guitar capo on the 1st fret so all the fingerings one would usually use for E minor, A, etc. can now easily be used for F minor, Bb, etc.  Also if you need to have a leading tone down below an F minor chord (E natural) you can use drop D tuning where the low E string is tuned to a D and then use a capo to transpose that up a half step which makes that feasible as well.

 

Yes, you are right. There are such ways the guitarist can adapt the guitar to the written music. However, in this context, You would need to transpose the entire ensemble accordingly. 
I read that the theorbo is more suitable for flat keys, which would be much more of a fit for a continuo part. I don’t have much experience with continuo writing myself, so I cannot offer any assistance with that. 
 

edit: not sure if I should b3 referring to the arch lute, which I have also seen used for continuo in some of Bach’s cantatas. This is one of his chorales by Bach Netherlands society... perhaps someone else on this forum can provide the historical record for instruments of the lute family during Bach’s time, their notation and transposition as is quite a specialised topic 

 

 

 

Edited by Markus Boyd
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  • 1 month later...

I sightread the sinfonia through on my guitar, its playable at the tempo but the last on chord on bar 9 and the last chord on bar 10 are not playable, if you cut the a flat in the last chord in the 9th bar then it would be playable, if you cut either the b flat or the a flat or the d flat in the last chord in bar 10 it would be playable

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