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The Magical Faun Mk II (for woodwind and piano)


Alex Weidmann
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Hi everyone.

I've posted this piece before; but have since expanded the work greatly, with lots of new material.

Think I should perhaps add more bassoon, to ground the piece with some sort of bass line?

The score is very basic and provisional, and has numerous errors; but it still looks nicer than the unedited MuseScore version.

The instrumental parts are not labelled, but from top to bottom they are: piano, clarinet, flute, oboe and bassoon.

 

N.B. Have added some revised versions of the piece and score lower down the thread.

Edited by Alex Weidmann
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Hi @Alex Weidmann 

I enjoy this expanded version very much, as the harmonic color is really nice in it. It gives me a Japanese feeling for the first and last section with the use of that Db. I love the middle section in F sharp minor as well! Very snowy for me.

It's just about the scoring issue. It's quite difficult to read the score since it's cut with different parts 😅.

I think the key signature of the middle section should be changed to F sharp minor, instead of using D natural and D flat.

I see in some part the clarinet use a bass clef. A clarinet never uses a bass clef though and should be used with treble clef.

Even though the instruments never appear together, I love the thinness of the piece as it's quite Japanese for me!

I really hope you would add more parts for the bassoon! It's a beautiful instrument and it fits here!

Nice job!

Henry

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I am indeed using the Japanese scale in the opening and closing cadenzas. Well spotted Henry!

Have also used various Kletzmer and blues scales.

One of my ideas for the piece was to experiment with different types of scales, and find ways to combine them. 

 

Will definitely make a better score at some point, once I've finalised the piece.

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Orchestration needs to be maintained in your score -regardless of whether you compose for chamber ensemble or orchestra. Parts in the master score need to follow typical orchestrational processes. The parts need to br scored in this order: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and then piano (with a grand staff). This helps immensely to relay your thoughts more clearly. 

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11 hours ago, jawoodruff said:

Orchestration needs to be maintained in your score -regardless of whether you compose for chamber ensemble or orchestra. Parts in the master score need to follow typical orchestrational processes. The parts need to br scored in this order: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and then piano (with a grand staff). This helps immensely to relay your thoughts more clearly. 

 

Ok, just for you I've made a slightly better score.

Obviously there are still major issues with the piano part, and some of the quintuplets in the woodwinds have quantisation errors.

Interestingly MuseScore has selected a completely different key signature for the piece (which it did automatically).

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1 hour ago, Alex Weidmann said:

Ok, just for you I've made a slightly better score.

Yes I find the score better now, at least the order is right and the parts are not cut! There can be improvements like the parts for the piano since it contains 1, 2 or 3 parts in different times. I would keep it constant with 2 parts and moments like b.100-109 can be written in 2 rather than 3 parts. Sometimes there are flutes playing as well though I expect there's only one. Keep going!

Henry

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3 hours ago, Alex Weidmann said:

Ok, just for you I've made a slightly better score.

Obviously there are still major issues with the piano part, and some of the quintuplets in the woodwinds have quantisation errors.

Interestingly MuseScore has selected a completely different key signature for the piece (which it did automatically).

 

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Having the flute play multiple notes is a tricky technique that very few flautists can do. I'd look having the clarinet or oboe take the bottom note in these passages. Also, bassoon don't typically use treble when the c clef (alto clef) is more common. 

I agree with Henry, the piece definitely had an oriental flare to it. 

I'm more concerned with the notation... at times you have wayyyy to many barlines. Use the 8va for these. Also, try to consider that the winds do have clear cut ranges... scalar material for them can be done, but it's best to keep within the timbral range unless you want the change in color that comes with the range difference. Also be mindful of their breaks. 

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I actually envisaged a woodwind sextet with two flutes and two clarinets, so they could play divisi for the passages in question.

Sorry should've mentioned that before.

Thanks for pointing out the treble clefs in the bassoon part.

I actually thought bassoon uses tenor and bass clefs, rather than alto and bass; but guess I was misinformed.

Haven't got round to thinking about breathing gaps yet.

The flautists and clarinettists could always share out the passages between them, which might help.

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2 minutes ago, Alex Weidmann said:

I actually envisaged a woodwind sextet with two flutes and two clarinets, so they could play divisi for the passages in question.

Sorry should've mentioned that before.

Thanks for pointing out the treble clefs in the bassoon part.

I actually thought bassoon uses tenor and bass clefs, rather than alto and bass; but guess I was misinformed.

Haven't got round to thinking about breathing gaps yet.

The flautists and clarinettists could always share out the passages between them, which might help.

 

I'm a violist, so I'm partial to the c clef being called alto. It would be called tenor in this case though. Lol. And by break, I didn't mean breathing gaps. Winds have a break that occurs within their ranges -usually from middle to low. 

One other point is your use of single clef for piano. Since you have the pianist doing runs from low to high, score this for both hands with the grand staff. It'd save time with your notation. 

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11 minutes ago, jawoodruff said:

One other point is your use of single clef for piano. Since you have the pianist doing runs from low to high, score this for both hands with the grand staff. It'd save time with your notation. 

I'm a pianist myself: so I'll definitely sort out the piano part at some stage.

I wrote the piece in GarageBand using two separate piano tracks, then converted it to midi with Logic Pro: so that's why it's become a bit of a mess when I imported it into MuseScore!

Will do some more research on breaks, as I obviously don't know what I'm doing there. The only woodwind I've played is the recorder, and that was many years ago.

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7 minutes ago, Alex Weidmann said:

I'm a pianist myself: so I'll definitely sort out the piano part at some stage.

I wrote the piece in GarageBand using two separate piano tracks, then converted it to midi with Logic Pro: so that's why it's become a bit of a mess when I imported it into MuseScore!

Will do some more research on breaks, as I obviously don't know what I'm doing there. The only woodwind I've played is the recorder, and that was many years ago.

 

I hope you don't think I'm being nitpicky.... the piece has some good ideas. Seems you're tinkering with trying to find an inner voice -which is awesome!

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Actually tidying up the score can help organize our thoughts and ideas. Sometimes a messy score may hinder our inspirations and polishing of the music. Of course the most important thing is to have new inspirations and ideas, but sometimes if we don't have new inspirations we can take a little bit of time to polish the score to allow later inspirations!!

Henry

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Did some more work on the score.

Still need to sort out the ottava markings, and piano runs, as well the overlapping notes between right and left hands.

Edited by Alex Weidmann
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Have expanded this piece now with new material starting at 3'28".

I've extended Section D to create more of a contrast with the rest of the work, and added a lot more bassoon to Section E.

Also improved the score; though the new material isn't included yet. 

Hopefully it's moving in the right direction?

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Wow the score is much clearer now! I appreciate your effort. I think you have found great solution to the zither like passage of piano. I find the F sharp minor section clearer now! As a pianist I would like to see two staffs for piano though even if one hand is spared😅. Just habit I guess.

I love your expansion on Section D. Now the piece for me is like beautiful portraits of the beautiful orientic scenes with snowflakes and sakura. Really lovely music and I enjoy it very much, especially that F sharp minor passage. You know if the broken chords of the piano is put in other pieces, I will probably want to have it developed or enriched or something like that, but I find it perfect here. The atmosphere is so "right" here.

Great job! Thanks for sharing your progress and I greatly appreciate that, Alex.

Henry

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2 hours ago, Henry Ng Tsz Kiu said:

As a pianist I would like to see two staffs for piano though even if one hand is spared

That's a problem I've had with MuseScore. When I tell it to hide the empty staves, it won't seem to make an exception for the piano. Have tried various menu options; but they don't seem to work.

Also notice MuseScore has automatically put the B b clarinet part in a different key from the other instruments for the F sharp minor section. So I'm wondering if the clarinet key signature should be different for the rest of the piece?

I'm a novice when it comes to transposing instruments!

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6 hours ago, Alex Weidmann said:

Also notice MuseScore has automatically put the B b clarinet part in a different key from the other instruments for the F sharp minor section. So I'm wondering if the clarinet key signature should be different for the rest of the piece?

I'm a novice when it comes to transposing instruments!

Musescore can be glitchy with transposing instruments.  In the Ab major section of your score the Bb Clarinets' key signature should be Bb major.  Try messing around with it to see if you can get it to display right.  I know that in Musescore 3 there was a bug when switching to Clarinet in A where the key signature didn't want to change along with the instrument change and I had to play around with it for it to display properly.  I don't remember what I did though.

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On 1/15/2023 at 9:47 PM, PeterthePapercomPoser said:

I know that in Musescore 3 there was a bug when switching to Clarinet in A where the key signature didn't want to change along with the instrument change and I had to play around with it for it to display properly.  I don't remember what I did though.

Found the solution.

You have to hold down the control key when you drag a new key signature onto the score.

That way it only changes the key signature of one instrument, rather than the whole piece.

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Haven't read everyone's feedback, sorry if I echo someone else. 

For one, if you're going to edit your piece and post the updates, make sure you edit your original post letting us know you did that. I didn't click every new version you gave us, so you might already know this, but just in case you didn't I thought I'd mention it. I almost didn't see it 🙂

- As a pianist, it's odd for me to see sections with just one staff. Even if you only need say the treble clef, I'd still put the bass clef in with rests. 

- How come you have 2 notes playing in the flute at times (or maybe other winds)? I don't recall a single moment when you gave us wind harmonies, why not just have the flute and oboe play together. I feel like it was a wasted opportunity to not hear some ideas with the instruments blended. With the type of piece this is, I'd think having solo wind instruments would be more beneficial than whole instrument groups. 

- Remember that the piano is polyphonic, and although I actually really enjoyed the mystical thin texture you gave us, there were plenty of moments that didn't really feel characteristic to the instrument. You do give us sections of both hands played at the same time, but overall it felt like I could have played the part with one hand. 

- The rhythms could have used some work, especially in the long whole note sections. Would have been a good time to explore a bit of counterpoint under sustained melodic lines. Again, I felt like the winds were underutilized.

Just some random points, hopefully it helps you out a little. I really liked the language you used, and the harp-like vibes in the piano were really cool. Reminded me of traditional Japanese music. Like I said before, the sparse texture overall was VERY cool; I'm so used to people on this site cramming in a bunch of unnecessary notes in every measure of their works, and yours was a breath of fresh air. I'd love to hear any additions or edits you do with this piece in the future, I'm always a fan of hearing future versions in people's music to hear how it evolves and to see if they heeded the advice of others. There are loads of great composers here, be sure to at least consider some issues they had with your music. I've been on this site for years, and their advice has always benefitted me and I'm very grateful for it. 

Good luck with your music, and thanks for sharing!

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4 hours ago, Thatguy v2.0 said:

As a pianist, it's odd for me to see sections with just one staff. Even if you only need say the treble clef, I'd still put the bass clef in with rests. 

Thanks so much for listening and commenting. I'm a big fan of your work too btw!

Have been trying to find a solution to this problem for months now. 

I want to compactify the score by omitting empty staves; but can't seem to make an exception for the piano part.

Some of my other scores have the same issue.

There are some menu options in MuseScore that should resolve the problem; but they don't seem to work.

 

I made a new version of this piece yesterday (attached below).

Another composer told me my harmonies were a bit boring in Section C, so I've tried to switch them up a bit.

He didn't like that I was changing harmonies on the first note of every bar, and not straying far from the tonic.

Also made some small rhythmic variations to break up the semibreve passages a little, and tweaked the bassoon part to make it slightly more interesting.

 

Originally this was supposed to be for woodwind quartet and piano; but then I decided to make a sextet, with an extra flute and clarinet.

For those passages with divisi flutes and clarinets, I thought it sounded better tonally than mixing instruments. 

My latest thinking is to reduce it back to a quartet; but haven't got round to that yet.

 

Some of the piano runs are very difficult to play at tempo: so I decided to leave both hands free to cover all the notes.

There are certainly places where I could add a part for the left hand; but I made an aesthetic choice to keep the piano part very simple and sparse. 

 

This was my first proper piece for GarageBand, and I noticed you could change the scale type for the on screen keyboard.

So I thought it would be interesting to use scale changes instead of key changes to maintain interest.

I start in the Japanese scale, then go to a minor blues scale, then a Kletzmer scale, then minor blues again, and back to Japanese at the end.

Edited by Alex Weidmann
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4 hours ago, Thatguy v2.0 said:

Like I said before, the sparse texture overall was VERY cool; I'm so used to people on this site cramming in a bunch of unnecessary notes in every measure of their works, and yours was a breath of fresh air

LOL I guess I am one of them!😎

I love the piano chords more in section C, since it's more varied!

I love how you add more parts for the bassoon. It makes the texture thicker and supports the upper winds.

Thanks for your update!

Henry

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