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Episode for Violin and Cello


jawoodruff
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This work was written for a call for works for violin and cello duo.

An episode is a form that I created a few years ago. The concept behind the form stems from my love of contrapuntal textures. For this form, which I've explored more within my piano writing, the concept is the weaving of contrapuntal textures and more homophonic explorations of the material -similar to the estampie model of the renaissance. This would be the first episode that I've composed outside of my piano works -so, to me, this work is an excellent embarking of the form to other genres! 

Anyways, I'll be revising this piece based off the performance -should it manifest!

Hope you enjoy.

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That's ridiculously good! So vivacious and the energy is unending. The rhythm is so energetic. There is no need or place for commentary since it's excellent: the pacing, structure, rhythm, idiomatic writing like the pizz. sections.

The structure is really tight with the 0-1-4 motive. It is almost saturated in each section. That motive D-C#-F almost reminds me the motto theme of Franck's Symphony in D minor.

The interactions between the strings are really well. Each has to carry thematic and motivic significance and provides thematic and rhythmic counter-theme to the others. It will be challenging but worthwhile for string players to play!

I only have one concern: I am afraid that the semiquaver pizzicato in bar 160-163 too quick to play for string players. But since I don't play strings, so that's only my personal concern.

It's really a blessing for us that you have found your password back to this forum!! So lucky to hear your works!

Edited by Henry Ng
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The beginning doesn't convince me too much, I guess it's just not my style, though the section starting at M23 does sound good to my ears! After the 4-5th time listened the beginning starts to sound familiar and I eventually liked it hehe.

Your handling of dynamics and contrasts is very nice, articulations seem precise (I'm not a violinist nor a cellist so I cannot tell for sure but they look very accurate to me), there's a strong feeling of structure due to (I suppose) some repeated motives and phrases here and there... Ah, and I truly loved the pizz.

Overall a nice piece that sounded better the more I listened to it, which sometimes is not the case. 

Thank you for sharing!
Kind regards,
Daniel–Ømicrón.

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Wonderful, wonderful. The variety of textures is great.

I can't imagine, however, that the first section (to Bar 22) would ever hang together if played be real instruments. I think there's too much going on rhythmically for the precision of harmony to be clear, and too much variety of harmony for the precision of rhythm to be clear. I wonder if it could start by sacrificing one of the elements to get the listener 'into' the music - maybe the harmonies developed over simpler rhythms?

My favourite part from from Bar 52, where you alternate the quartal-ish rhythmic cells with the music of the opening. I feel this is where the music really gets going, and carries on an excellent momentum towards the end.

As has been said above, this is a fantastic piece, and only gets better the further through you listen. Thank you so much for sharing!

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On 12/7/2022 at 5:49 AM, aMusicComposer said:

Wonderful, wonderful. The variety of textures is great.

I can't imagine, however, that the first section (to Bar 22) would ever hang together if played be real instruments. I think there's too much going on rhythmically for the precision of harmony to be clear, and too much variety of harmony for the precision of rhythm to be clear. I wonder if it could start by sacrificing one of the elements to get the listener 'into' the music - maybe the harmonies developed over simpler rhythms?

My favourite part from from Bar 52, where you alternate the quartal-ish rhythmic cells with the music of the opening. I feel this is where the music really gets going, and carries on an excellent momentum towards the end.

As has been said above, this is a fantastic piece, and only gets better the further through you listen. Thank you so much for sharing!

 

The harmony is fairly simple and straight forward in the opening. I might try it out and see if I can clean it up a little. 

I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. I know the harmonic language isn't everyone's cup of tea -it certainly wasn't mine when I first ventured into this arena. I'm so used to it now that it's difficult for me to sit excitedly at a score with very little but a key signature! Anyways, glad you enjoyed it.

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On 12/7/2022 at 1:05 AM, Henry Ng said:

That's ridiculously good! So vivacious and the energy is unending. The rhythm is so energetic. There is no need or place for commentary since it's excellent: the pacing, structure, rhythm, idiomatic writing like the pizz. sections.

The structure is really tight with the 0-1-4 motive. It is almost saturated in each section. That motive D-C#-F almost reminds me the motto theme of Franck's Symphony in D minor.

The interactions between the strings are really well. Each has to carry thematic and motivic significance and provides thematic and rhythmic counter-theme to the others. It will be challenging but worthwhile for string players to play!

I only have one concern: I am afraid that the semiquaver pizzicato in bar 160-163 too quick to play for string players. But since I don't play strings, so that's only my personal concern.

It's really a blessing for us that you have found your password back to this forum!! So lucky to hear your works!

 

Henry,

Thanks very much for the kind words! I hadn't thought of Franck's symphony -or any thematic relationship to it. Ironically, my last few compositions have started with a simple motif like this. You should definitely try this type of tactic for a few pieces -it's good to expand your compositional prowess. 

The semiquaver should be playable -the rendering doesn't quite do pizz. correctly. The repertoire is chock full of similar passages and even many that go well faster.

I'm glad you enjoyed the work. Thanks for listening!

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On 12/7/2022 at 1:22 AM, Omicronrg9 said:

The beginning doesn't convince me too much, I guess it's just not my style, though the section starting at M23 does sound good to my ears! After the 4-5th time listened the beginning starts to sound familiar and I eventually liked it hehe.

Your handling of dynamics and contrasts is very nice, articulations seem precise (I'm not a violinist nor a cellist so I cannot tell for sure but they look very accurate to me), there's a strong feeling of structure due to (I suppose) some repeated motives and phrases here and there... Ah, and I truly loved the pizz.

Overall a nice piece that sounded better the more I listened to it, which sometimes is not the case. 

Thank you for sharing!
Kind regards,
Daniel–Ømicrón.

 

Thanks for listening and the kind words. 

As I mentioned in another reply, the opening bars were the entire basis for the piece. This work wasn't an exercise but... my last few projects all seem to have started with very few initial ideas upon which I've expanded tremendously. There's still plenty that I can get out of this 3 note idea -I just wanted to keep the piece as concise as possible while at the same time keeping interest. 

Thanks for listening!

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1 hour ago, jawoodruff said:

You should definitely try this type of tactic for a few pieces -it's good to expand your compositional prowess

I did try this tactic in many of my works! The same motives are quite saturated in many of my compositions, since I really want the structure tight and organic. I conversely try sometime different right now to write something less motivic but at the same time (hoping to) keep the organic structure and flow, but that's harder!

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I love this piece. It' form is complete and, again, the modern contrapuntal techniques are quite good. Yes with some homophonic parts nicely worked with dynamics and accented notes.

It's very interesting what you commented on the form:

the concept is the weaving of contrapuntal textures and more homophonic explorations of the material -similar to the estampie model of the renaissance. 

I'm curious about this (and of course, it's a concept I "need" to explore. I know very little about the medieval stampie and its structure and I wonder if you can tell you pursue a similar organization (xx + yy + zz.....)

The same motives are quite saturated in many of my compositions, since I really want the structure tight and organic. I conversely try sometime different right now to write something less motivic but at the same time (hoping to) keep the organic structure and flow, but that's harder!

This is also interesting and it reminds me some forms developed in the XX century, for example the cagean boxes (John Cage) or the mosaic form.

Edited by Luis Hernández
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My concept of the Episode form is related to the estampie in a few ways.... the estampie is -as you mentioned- basically a cyclical simple binary form (AA, BB, CC, DD, etc.) where the second segment of each section is varied from the first. Instead of taking this particular form, I utilize an episodic free contrapuntal section to build upon the section's material itself. Meaning that the form becomes like this: AA' where A' is a contrapuntal episode based off the material of the A section. Expanding this into the full Episode form itself -and to allow for thematic/motivic contrast- you get AA' + BB' + etc. 

This leaves an overall formal construct that is pretty open as you can have as many variations as you see fit. You could have 8 different sections ABCDEFGH or you could have 3 ABC. Each section, though, would have to be followed by a contrapuntal episode. 

Another variety of this form would be what I've done here... instead of adding more thematic sections (CDE, for example), I keep the material scaled back to just the two main themes (motif 1: m 3, motif 2: m23). I also chose to have both motifs based loosely off each other. Meaning that one could argue that they are variations of each other. 

One thing I like about these early forms is that they are open in terms of harmonic usage. As you probably know, western harmonic theory wasn't set up or in practice for a vast majority of our tradition. Only within the last -what- 300 years? Up to the start of the Baroque period, harmony was a consequence of polyphonic textures becoming more and more complex -that harmonic function began to be considered within the compositional processes. These older forms reflect that as each section doesn't necessarily have a prescribed tonal region (as compared to sonata-allegro where the second theme is required to be either dominant or subdominant in nature). It leaves harmony as a process that is left to the composer's discretion to use. YAYY!

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