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Symphony no. 4 WIP

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I know I haven't finished symphony 2 or 3, but I was just so inspired by the material, I had to work on it.

This is probably my most traditional (especially in structure) symphony so far, probably due to my analysing Beethoven symphonies and sonatas, reading sonata theory, and studying Fux's treatise on counterpoint. The movements are a sonata form first, followed by a scherzo, then the slow movement. There's a program, but it doesn't affect the music much, (introduction and exposition as well as the overall character of the inner movements are as far as the program goes).

A rundown of the program: A few years ago, I found on my garage floor an abandoned, injured baby mouse. I wanted to rescue it, but my mom refused to do anything about it, and I was so distraught. I had never felt this way, knowing that I had the power to help the little creature, but being too afraid to go against my mother. I eventually disobeyed her, and I called a local animal rescue group. I sat with the mouse for hours to keep him company until she arrived. She took care of him and sent me update pictures until it was time for him to be released. She gave the mouse to me since I had found him, which I'm grateful for. I released him by an apple tree, and I sometimes regretted not keeping him, but I know he was probably content in the wild and my mother would not have approved anyway. The whole experience affected me deeply, even though looking back people have been in much more extreme animal rescue situations. And maybe my music is a bit melodramatic for this, but I sketched the intro and exposition immediately afterward, so the emotion was still fresh and raw.

Specific program notes: The introductory crash represents my surprise when I first found him. The English Horn melody is the mouse, and the first and second theme are sad and then angered, because I was first sad for the mouse would likely die, and then angry because I was restricted from helping. The rest is absolute music and just develops the material. The middle movements are lighter because they represent the period where he was being taken care of.

I have no idea what to do for the fourth movement, so I'll probably leave it for now and work on my other music.

Also, sorry for the somewhat low-quality audio, I don't have too many opportunities to MuseScore 4, (it's on my parents' computer, my laptop can't handle it).

(This is an expansion from a previous version linked here.)


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Hey Jonathon,

I will review it movement by movement (to earn more experience points LoL).

I see that you have expand those fast sections of the overture, but I feel like they are more like repetitions than really developing them since the phrases are quite similar to each other. The modulation would be from D minor to G minor without other keys or harmonic chords, and the texture remains similar. Maybe you can change some of the instrumentation and textures in those phrases, and add more harmonics chords between them! 

That oboe solo in the development section is beautiful. The dynamic building from b.115 onward is nice, maybe you can add strings tremolo there too even you have saved it for later passages. But weirdly even if the dynamic is loud there, I feel like the pace is less moving forward there, probably because of the slow tempo.

The horn section reminds me of your seven sorrows, but the building of tension is better here. That crescendo starting from b.168 to b.188 is freakingly beautiful, but I think after that you should go straight to a fast section, since I feel like the slow tempo is really minimizing the tension built up. 

The fast section after is also successful in the tension building and with similar things as in the previous fast section. The ending in D major ends surprisingly in a bare G-D chord that maybe kind of hints of the program or something?

I think the movement really has some beautiful moments. Maybe adding more fast sections will make it more exciting! I will review the remaining movements when I have time.


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Hi Jonathon,

For the 2nd movement, I really like the energy as a Scherzo. The opening clarinet melody for me is attractive too. In b.56 and 57 oboe you can simply use F# major notes rather than ones from G flat major. 

I think for the middle section you can simply change the key signature to C# minor to prevent those accidentals! For me I feel like it acts as good contrasting section even though the relationship between the two sections are not too apparent. I think after all those slow sections in the first movement, I would prefer the 2nd movement to be fast from the beginning to the end to kind of refresh the listener's mind, and also provide a greater contrast to the first movement.

For the F# major key I think of what Cecil Forsyth in his Orchestration book said, "if one's favourite orchestral key is F# major one deserves to suffer." I think he is telling a joke right??!! At least I enjoy this movement!



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Hi Composaboi,

This is quite beautiful. I can clearly feel the anguish and torment in Mvt 1, brisk repose in Mvt 2 and compassion in Mvt 3. As Henry mentioned, I think you could possibly bring even more imaginative orchestral techniques and harmonies to develop your themes. I'd check out the "Omnibus" progression and expand your string palette with scores by sensei korsakov. 

Again, congratulations on this new work. Sometimes, I wish I had the grit and tenacity to accomplish something this large-scale but that is a question for another time.



Edited by Setthavat
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