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Violin Sonata Nr.1


Hendrik Meniere
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The first movement of my first violin sonata (it is supposed to be in sonata form) . Any feedback is welcomed!

Edited by Hendrik Meniere
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  • 2 months later...
Kickstarter Project for Music Jotter begins May 10th. Write music on the web or desktop computer.
Has Midi Scrubbing & Easy Tuplet Entry.
Get BIG discount as a Kickstarter supporter. No monthly subscription fees. Follow the campaign today!

First, I think it's very brave to attempt long-form pieces like this. It's very hard to do and it's a lot of hard work. That being said, I do have a few critiques.

 

First, the score itself and this is a minor thing but it's worth pointing out. Don't write pedal markings unless you want the pianist to do something special. That is to say, if the pedal is meant to be used as usual, don't write any pedal at all. For example, a lot of Beethoven has no pedal markings and yet it'd be really strange to find any pianist that would play Beethoven without using the sustain pedal. Reserve those pedal markings for when they're actually necessary because you want to do something different than usual, otherwise it's just clutter on the page. For example, your pedal markings for measure 5 until measure 56 are all the exact same (57 doesn't have a pedal marking at all, I'm assuming you don't want pedal there, no idea why.) If you just erase all of it, I'm sure any pianist worth their salt can figure out when to pedal all that properly.

 

Second, please don't do so many octaves on the violin like you do in measure 159 onwards. It's very difficult to play properly and it looks like you're just taking the piano doubling and copy-pasting it on the violin, specially for how long that section goes.

 

As for the overall structure, I think that the overall piece is too obviously cut into "blocks" and there's not a lot of development to tie the sections together. In fact, it seems like it's always new material and there's very little proper development going on. For instance, the whole section from measure 119 to 150, I think you're trying to use the beginning of the exposition as base, but the problem is that it's so stretched out that it feels like its own separate thing.

 

I think that it helps to understand what the "sonata" form developed into with Beethoven, as it was that concept that became really prevalent for the later composers. There's a number of reasons for this, but chief among them is that Beethoven focused a lot on economy of motives. He reused things constantly and that was the glue that tied the sections of the work together. So, for example, if your A theme is measure 9 till 16 (8 measures,) when the stuff in measure 25 appears, it seems like it could be the B theme, but it's unclear since it's very much in the same character. Then there's the bit after the allegretto, is that the B theme? Or its own thing?

 

If you observe Beethoven's earlier sonatas, for example, you can usually divide them into big "A B A" forms. So breaking it down is relatively easy, the exposition is in itself a 3 part form, with the B theme being usually the B "contrast" part of the A B A form, the repeat bar being the A reprise. After that, the development part of the sonata is the actual "main" part of it, where the material from the exposition will be worked on, so this would be the "B" part of the whole form. Naturally the reprise after the development is our A part again, where the reprise can (but doesn't have to) actually appear again in its entirety.

 

Because in your case the sections aren't really clearly defined, it seems like it's just going and going and I find it tends to drag on for way too long. You spared us the repetition after the exposition, but why is that repetition there at all? Out of tradition? To fill up time? It's already more than 10 minutes long without the repeat, but I don't think that runtime is earned honestly. In fact, I think you could probably cut some good 4 minutes out of this and still say the same thing (and it may be actually a lot better too with more focus and less repeating patterns.) The part I mentioned earlier, measures 119 to 150, for example, really doesn't go anywhere. You repeat that pattern for a while, then in measure 151 there's an ostinato figure that has not much to do with anything and so it on it goes.

 

Same applies, for example, for the whole bit from 209 to 241, it's really long and the idea outstays its welcome long before you're done with it. I think, like I said, if you trim a lot of these sections it would greatly help the piece be more focused. Speaking of which, that part (209 - 241) is supposed to still be part of the development, but it's very very static. Development usually has sequences, yeah, but it also needs to keep, you know, developing.

 

Anyway, these are my thoughts. I hope you continue to try your best and remember to always study up on other people's music when trying to tackle something this complicated. I know it helped me tremendously when I was writing my long-form pieces.

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Thank you for posting the piece. It has a lot of expressive gestures, quite emotional music without becoming sentimental, in my experience at least. I agree with the criticism of SSC: I miss an overall musical logic. That's why I feel it to fall apart (first time listening of course). This might be what you want but I don't know how much you are aware of this. To develop within certain bounds is not an easy task indeed so don't feel put down. It's indeed good to analyse music of others but it it is also good to think deeply on your own what this kind of musical 'logic' could be in your piece.

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