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So, I have made some significant progress in composing my Romantic Dance Suite that I mentioned here:

A little of this progress is in the Polonaise, but most of the progress I have made is in the second dance, the Mazurka, of which I wrote down 40 bars in 1 hour. That's like the fastest I've ever composed a piece. Even my Minuet, another short dance, wasn't that fast in composition rate. So far I have this structure:

A |: B A : |

of a piece that I think will end up in this structure:

A |: B A : | |: C A : |

a simple Rondo Form typical of short Rondos and Rondo form pieces.

Even my A section can be broken down into 2 periods and 4 phrases, like this:

396430057_MazurkaAsectionBbMajor.thumb.PNG.10ee0e88e98f1816570731e6a9cb9000.PNG

If I do a Double, as I am considering doing(I would consider doing it for the Waltz too, but I'm not there yet), that would mean most likely Mazurka II being in the parallel minor, which means that the C section of Mazurka I probably shouldn't be in the parallel minor. I just feel that it needs the minor key contrast though. I guess the relative minor or the mediant minor will do. Or maybe the chromatic mediant of F# minor? I'm unsure which minor key to go with, just that I want a minor key contrast other than the parallel minor for the C section, as the Double would be in the parallel minor. I know what a Double is, it's a second dance, usually Baroque, that develops the same melodic material in a different way, the 2 most common Doubles I have seen are that of Diminution(Polonaise of Orchestral Suite no. 2 in B minor) and Parallel Minor(Bouree of Cello Suite no. 3 in G major).

Anyway, what do you think of my Mazurka thus far? And what about the key for the C section? As I said before, I'm unsure which minor key to have the C section in. How well do I do that V7/V -> V7 -> I move in Bar 24? Anything I can improve about that V7/V -> V7 -> I motion in Bar 24 or other parts of the Mazurka thus far(I'm thinking of adding some staccato in the dotted rhythms)? Does it feel as though the accent is on the weak beats, because that's important in distinguishing a Mazurka from a Waltz is the accent on weak beats? I will add dynamics later on, they always come after the notes and articulations in my compositional process.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's fine for a preliminary sketch. In terms of rhythms it's a bit monotonous, you always have a dotted rhythm in the 1st beat, and then it's either 1 or 2 long notes, so you end up with only 2 rhythmic templates for more than 21 measures. You could spice it up a bit like Chopin does, check what he does in his Op.7/1 (the piece this brought to my mind), he also has the dotted rhythm, but he adds more variety with some quavers, plus a few trills and grace notes. Sticking to very rigid rhythms is not ideal in most/most situations, since it hinders the essential tension-and-release dynamic.

 

In terms of harmony, it's a bit heavy-handed, in measures 3-4 the left hand should resolve the 7th, and a lighter voicing for de V7 could probably work better. In measures 5-6 that I to ii movement seems a bit sub-optimal, even if the parallel 5ths are not apparent, a root-position IV chord or a ii in 1st inversion (with an optional 7th) would probably work better. That D in the melody in meas. 7 doesn't fit the chord below very well, here a I6/4 would fit better, moving to a V7 in the next beat (an unresolved 13th would be rare in that style, and even with that, the V7 shouldn't have the 5th).

In general some of the bass motions seem a bit unidiomatic, those V7 chords in 1st inversion sound a bit weak sometimes, and in measures 15-16 the rules would unambiguously require a perfect authentic cadence. Finally, in those 7th chords in 1st inversion, the bass note (1st beat) shouldn't be repeated in the upper voices (beats 2-3 of the left hand).

 

Keep composing

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I would say your Mazurka, feels very waltz like,  the only thing that makes me think that this is a Mazurka and not a waltz is the characteristic dottet rythm that you use in every first beat. The accent in the second beat almost can't be feel. You could put a silence in the third Beat at the end of some phrases, that would help to state more clearly the rythm and phrasing ,as it is commonly used in Mazurka, also would help with the tensión-release dynamic.

About the rythm in your melody I think is too repetitive,  It is okay if you use only that rythm in the question, but for the answer phrase you should use a different rythm or some  embellisment like thrills, grace notes etc..

The B Part is mostly a harmonic variation of the A part, if that was your point It is okay, but if you tried to make the B part contrast with A part you didn't archieve It in my opinion, It sounds more like A Á A,  instead of A B A.

About the change in the 24 measure I think it is okay in the left Hand, just take in count that due to the Mazurka accents,  the E°-->F7 movement sounds a lot stronger than the F7-->Bb. And for the right Hand, I think the chromatic spproach of the melody would be better in the Bb instead of the A, that would help to balance the already strong movement of E°-->F7. So instead of doing Ab A C Bb, do C Ab A Bb Or Bb Ab A Bb.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Snake_Cake said:

In terms of harmony, it's a bit heavy-handed, in measures 3-4 the left hand should resolve the 7th, and a lighter voicing for de V7 could probably work better.

Does it really matter if the note the seventh resolves to is in the right or left hand? I mean, we aren't talking about the Classical Era, but the Romantic Era, and a lot of harmony rules get relaxed in the Romantic Era as the harmonies veer more and more from the simple triads and seventh chords. Plus, a big advantage to having the V7 in neighbor motion instead of the typical resolution to first inversion? If the pianist is to do pedaling, the neighbor motion one will be less muddy in the bass. Not that big of a deal since it is in the top area of the bass to begin with, but still something to consider.

59 minutes ago, Snake_Cake said:

In measures 5-6 that I to ii movement seems a bit sub-optimal, even if the parallel 5ths are not apparent, a root-position IV chord or a ii in 1st inversion (with an optional 7th) would probably work better.

I actually thought that motion to the ii chord, C minor would make things a bit more interesting. I tend to use I -> IV -> V7 -> I a lot in cadences and just in general, and that can get tiring, so using a ii chord instead of IV is better for that reason and the interest. Also, I don't see any parallel fifths between my I and ii chords.

1 hour ago, Snake_Cake said:

That D in the melody in meas. 7 doesn't fit the chord below very well, here a I6/4 would fit better, moving to a V7 in the next beat (an unresolved 13th would be rare in that style, and even with that, the V7 shouldn't have the 5th).

It would be an accented non-chord tone because of the accent on beat 2 and those are found everywhere in the Romantic era to add expression. A very common one is to have a note of the tonic over a dominant chord or to have a note of the dominant over a tonic chord, but those aren't the only two, they are just very common. And you keep mentioning omitting the fifth of the V7. Why? I find the full V7 to be more effective in terms of resolving to a triad.

1 hour ago, Snake_Cake said:

In general some of the bass motions seem a bit unidiomatic, those V7 chords in 1st inversion sound a bit weak sometimes, and in measures 15-16 the rules would unambiguously require a perfect authentic cadence.

Why not an Imperfect Authentic Cadence? I have an inverted IAC in those measures because of the dominant being inverted, the second strongest of all IACs in my opinion is the dominant inverted IAC, with the leading tone IAC being so strong that it feels like a PAC, even though it isn't. And V6/5 should be the strongest inversion because of the leading tone in the bass.

1 hour ago, Snake_Cake said:

Finally, in those 7th chords in 1st inversion, the bass note (1st beat) shouldn't be repeated in the upper voices (beats 2-3 of the left hand).

Huh? Why not? Like I said, I find the full V7 more effective in terms of resolution. And I see no problem with repeating the bass note in the upper voices as long as it resolves.

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Does it really matter if the note the seventh resolves to is in the right or left hand? I mean, we aren't talking about the Classical Era, but the Romantic Era, and a lot of harmony rules get relaxed in the Romantic Era as the harmonies veer more and more from the simple triads and seventh chords.

Nope, when it's so easy to resolve and you're using block chords, you should resolve them by default. The issue with that chord is what I said, but combined with the fact that that 4-note voicing is a bit muddy (you have so many notes, four, but yet "chose" not to resolve the 7th is quite jarring). If in the 2nd beat you have the 7th in the melody, then you could remove it from the left hand. Thus, in beats 2-3 a more idiomatic left hand could have the chords voiced as 1-3-7 and 1-3-5 (assuming the 1st beat has an F or a C).

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It would be an accented non-chord tone because of the accent on beat 2 and those are found everywhere in the Romantic era to add expression. A very common one is to have a note of the tonic over a dominant chord or to have a note of the dominant over a tonic chord, but those aren't the only two, they are just very common.

You have a 13th in the melody (that D), over a dominant chord. That needs to resolve by step, not by skip, it's non-negotiable, this kind of non-chord tones in this context must resolve unless they're échappés. 11th and 13th chords don't exist as any sort or remotely stable sonority in that period. This is true for any music of at least until 1-2 generations after Chopin died.

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And V6/5 should be the strongest inversion because of the leading tone in the bass.

This is exactly the opposite of how cadences work.

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Why not an Imperfect Authentic Cadence? I have an inverted IAC in those measures because of the dominant being inverted, the second strongest of all IACs in my opinion is the dominant inverted IAC, with the leading tone IAC being so strong that it feels like a PAC, even though it isn't.

The bass note needs to move from F to Bb, this is non-negotiable in that style, you need a strong cadence at structural moments. Using inverted chords is the opposite of what is needed here. Go analyze 10 Chopin mazurkas, locate every perfect cadence, and understand when they're used.

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Huh? Why not? Like I said, I find the full V7 more effective in terms of resolution. And I see no problem with repeating the bass note in the upper voices as long as it resolves.

Huh? Not doubling the leading-tone is one of the most basic rules of part-writing, esp. with so few voices available. On top of that, you're combining it with doubling the 3rd in a 1st inversion chord, which should be avoided except in a few cases like when the bass is the 1st or 4th degree. I have Chopin's complete album of mazurkas by my side, check out the second one and absorb the way he does it (how he voices a V7 in 1st inversion and when he uses it).

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