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The "Motif" challenge - for a YouTube premiere


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I realize we have a wrap of of a competition coming soon. But I will open this topic because it may take some time to get submissions for this challenge

This challenge is a little harder, but if you dig into your works, you may find they have motifs. A motif is a short musical idea. Not necessarily a melody, but it can be used to create melody. The point of this challenge would be for me to pick out your motifs on camera, and talk about what makes them motifs (I will have to vet submissions closely for this to work).

Motifs can be:

  1. Rhythmic
  2. Melodic (at least 2 notes or more)
  3. Dynamic (dynamics can be used to portray a motif)

Examples of motifs

  • Beethoven's famous 5th (da da da dun)
  • Theme to Darth Vader (leitmotif, character based)
  • If you ever watched LOST, each character has their own leitmotif
  • Indiana Jones is victorious (dun, da dun dunnnn)
  • MacGuyver is victorious or beat the bad guy (dun dun, dunnnnn)

Thus, leitmotifs are OK too in case any of you develop themes for video games or cinema. You can use submissions from The Tortoise and the Hare, and challengers of that competition are encouraged to do so since we may have some leitmotifs in those submissions. But it is not necessary and you can of course submit other works for this challenge.

Works that qualify will be at my discretion, and I may request help from the reviewers. So feel free to submit any work you feel most likely will qualify as a "motif" type of work.

If we don't have enough challengers, I will adapt this challenge. Let's see!

This challenge will be another YouTube premiere since the "What REALLY makes good melody" challenge was well received both on Young Composers, and on the broader spectrum of YouTube.

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Hey Mike,

I would like to submit my Clarinet Quintet in C minor for your challenge:

I'm sure this piece will be very motivic since the entire 1 hour piece is made up by 2 motives only: (I will hide it though)


These are quoted from my posts on the motives:

The Motives

The opening motive, I call "Despair Motive", serves as the seed of everything happened in this piece:


1060175064_DespairMotive.png.4da472ffd827f29ef0903c498a86cb57.png  (Transposed in B flat, will be Eb-D-C-B natural, [0134] in set, or DSCH motive)

The beginning of the 2nd subject in the first movement is what I call "Dream Motive", which will later be transformed to "Hope Motive" by changing its context, is the second most important motive in the piece:

99362408_DreamMotive.png.8ceb9532122454003ca30ea9606c5f95.png(Transposed in B flat, will be Bb-Ab-Gb-Db, [0247] in set, or minor version [0138].

But the two motives are quite similar to each of them, with the only big difference of the last note. I combine them for the later movements, for example in the 2nd subject of the 2nd movement:


Prime Subject of the Third Movement:


And the 1st theme of Fourth movement is directly borrowed from the subject of Third Movement, even more simplified:


Even the ending is the combination of them, although despair is accepted and dream transformed to hope:


And the graph for the subject appearence and treatment in the 3rd movement fugue haha:

I was very conscious on the usage of motives on this one since I really wanted to use them to tell a story and narrative.


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