Jump to content

Scherzo in D-flat Major for orchestra


Recommended Posts

It took me a few months, but I finally completed my most recent work for orchestra.

This piece is nominally in scherzo-trio form, with some slight modifications. Each scherzo is itself also binary in the manner of a sonata form exposition and recapitulation. The trio is actually a waltz, slowly built up from nothing via the gradual introduction of cliches. Though it seems to be unrelated to the scherzo at first, I bridge the gap with the transition back into the scherzo. The strict metric modulation to precisely half-tempo for the trio is critical. In the concluding fugato, both themes from the scherzo are combined simultaneously.

Score video: 

 

PDF
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! That's mature orchestral technique! I'm particularly afraid of composing a scherzo, because that fast tempo easily drives me off to no place and I easily get lost with its harmonic and melodic content, let alone an orchestral scherzo! Your romanze is also amazing as well! Great job!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I had to listen to this a few times to make sense of it. But once I did, this is quite musically complex and frankly, well done. I think the poor instrument sounds put me off initially, because I don't feel the instruments are well balanced enough. So I had to struggle to hear the different parts of the instrumentation. But once I got past that, this is actually a very well done composition.

I love the change up to the middle part, and at around 3:40, I think you go through 3 different key changes in a matter of 10 seconds. Pretty damn cool if you ask me. I feel the piece gets even more harmonically complex as it continues on, and you bring in some nice dissonance in the second half but you don't overdo it. It feels like just the right amount to me.

And now, to the audio output...

Now it could just be the sounds you are using, but I think that you need to work on your instrumentation balance. Strings are really underpowered, need more volume in general, and they make the piece sound garbled if you aren't listening intently enough. The winds and brass are just too overpowering. There's a part where you are using the cello at around 1 minute in, and I want to hear the cello play. It's struggling to satisfy my ear's needs there. The balancing act is definitely not an easy thing to do, and I myself sometimes have trouble with balancing, but this is definitely something to keep in mind.

Great job, love the work, and my favorite part was the transition to the middle section!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice scherzo!  I love the energy and vivaciousness.  I guess it's a personal choice for you to have this in 3/4 and not in 3/8 but I do believe that usually when a piece is fast enough to be conducted in one then 3/8 is more commonly used.  I love the sudden and laborious timpani at the end that brings the whole thing to a perfect conclusion!  The key changes are also really nice here.  I like how you went from Db major to C# minor to E major all of a sudden - making great use of parallel minor to relative major closely related modulations to actually get quite far away from your original key quite quickly!  Very clever.  Thanks for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, chopin said:

Strings are really underpowered, need more volume in general, and they make the piece sound garbled if you aren't listening intently enough. The winds and brass are just too overpowering. There's a part where you are using the cello at around 1 minute in, and I want to hear the cello play. It's struggling to satisfy my ear's needs there. The balancing act is definitely not an easy thing to do, and I myself sometimes have trouble with balancing, but this is definitely something to keep in mind.

 

The sounds are probably most of the balance problem, as the string patches I have access to with the prepackaged Garritan library that came with Finale have a rather weak attack. So adding staccato, or asking really fast sequences of notes to be played in general, puts a real dent in the apparent volume. What you're hearing is what is the result after I already tweaked the balance in the mixer to make the winds a little bit quieter.

In general I try to avoid writing such that the computer playback sounds optimal instead of such that a real orchestra would sound optimal. I admit I don't have a whole lot of experience writing for real orchestras though, so my inner ear may be off. I may very well be, to turn a phrase, "pulling a Schumann".

I'm only an amateur who is unlikely to ever have much played unless I perform it myself (which I have indeed done), so I can't say I'm particularly interested in spending good money to improve my sound library, nor in spending time creating more realistic mockups in third-party software. I spend enough time just writing the stuff in the first place. The Human Playback output is just "good enough" to get the point across, I suppose. At least it isn't Musescore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, PeterthePapercomPoser said:

Nice scherzo!  I love the energy and vivaciousness.  I guess it's a personal choice for you to have this in 3/4 and not in 3/8 but I do believe that usually when a piece is fast enough to be conducted in one then 3/8 is more commonly used.  I love the sudden and laborious timpani at the end that brings the whole thing to a perfect conclusion!  The key changes are also really nice here.  I like how you went from Db major to C# minor to E major all of a sudden - making great use of parallel minor to relative major closely related modulations to actually get quite far away from your original key quite quickly!  Very clever.  Thanks for sharing!

 

Thank you!

The decision to put it in 3/4 was a psychological one. I've been mildly interested in the psychology of notation and have tried to exploit it purposefully.

I relate it in my head to the Baroque technique of notating slow movements with really short note values to convey by means of the physical impossibility of playing it any faster that it was supposed to be slow. Likewise, conversely I use the absence of any short note values to convey the sense that the music is supposed to be flying by at high speed, as there are no short note values to slow you down.

The other main psychological notation decision I made was to begin the trio in Eb minor rather than the more "sensible" D# minor, which would have avoided the awkward jump over into sharps later on to avoid landing in theoretical key land. (Originally, I had even left everything in flats, and the middle section of the trio was subsequently notated in Bbb major! I of course realized this was needlessly obtuse and fixed it.) I still feel that Eb psychologically conveys a different, mainly darker feeling than D#, though, so I wanted to at least still start off in Eb and flip to sharps purely for convenience.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...