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#1150029 - 01/29/06 07:25 PM How do you develop theme(s)?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I can write very short pieces of music (less than 20 measures), but I have trouble developing my motifs into large works. For example, I can write an A A B A kind of piece, where I have a short phrase, repeat it, throw in something different (and short), and repeat again the initial phrase. Very short, and it doesn't really go anywhere.


Any thoughts on how to develop music?
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Sam

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#1150030 - 01/29/06 08:14 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
This is where I often find myself at a serious loss. My ear helps a bit, but in the end, no training really sucks....
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1150031 - 01/29/06 08:16 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I analyzed a little bit of a dance by Bartók last night, and found out he did something kind of neat: the piece is basically in AB form, or rather A A' B B'. In the beginning, he basically repeats the same melody twice, but he does 2 things: (1) he changes the left hand part, and (2) he adds a few notes here or there to mix up the rhythm a little bit in the right hand.

So I've used a similar idea in the composition that I'm working on, which is fine, and it sounds good, but now what do I do!! \:D
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Sam

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#1150032 - 01/29/06 08:27 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
I can write very short pieces of music (less than 20 measures), but I have trouble developing my motifs into large works. For example, I can write an A A B A kind of piece, where I have a short phrase, repeat it, throw in something different (and short), and repeat again the initial phrase. Very short, and it doesn't really go anywhere.


Any thoughts on how to develop music? [/b]
Pianojerome,

Variations, embellishments, rhythmic changes, modal changes, etc. is the key to developing a piece of music.

Example:

“Romance”

http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/Romancepg1.pdf

http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/Romancepg2.pdf

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1150033 - 01/29/06 08:38 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
the simplest way to develop a theme is to repeat it, but in vairous ways. for example, move the theme 5th above, and then you got a 2nd phrase; or simply repeat the theme in another key (following circle of 5th for example). variation is anther way, which means that you can use some common variation techniques to repeat the theme in different way: shorten/enlarge its rhythms (from 8th to 16th or 8th to 4th for example), or put some passing notes/embellishments between the main theme lines, or add some new 'head' or 'tail' to the theme, etc....

i'm not good at this, but at least i read some of those stuff from books.

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#1150034 - 01/31/06 06:35 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
I agree with Johnny- Boy 100%

Signa - Repitition can become monotonous and shouldn't be used in the actual developing of a theme. Variation is key to developing though.

Changing harmony can help, rhythm var., modulations, ornaments, changing the instruments that play the theme/ motif (if in chamber music or orchestral music).

Study Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky's symphonies and concerti. They are perfect exapmles of how to develop a motif or theme.

Sam, please post your music sometime, I'd love to hear it!

good luck!

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#1150035 - 01/31/06 11:19 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
Steve Chandler Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2758
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
In my experience every piece is different. Your motives, themes, harmonies and rhythms will have characteristics that make certain types of variation, repetition, motivic development, modulation, textural changes, whatever appropriate. What really helped me was composing themes and variations, because after the first 4 or 5 (or 6 or 7) you run out of obvious ideas. That's when things get interesting and you have to be creative. Take a simple thematic idea and resolve to compose 20 variations. You'll either come up with a whole bunch of ideas you wouldn't have dreamed of before or you'll realize maybe composition isn't for you. Hint, the simpler the idea the greater the potential for variation.

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#1150036 - 01/31/06 11:25 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Thanks. I'm doing a bit of variation with my current composition. It's quite remarkable how I can use essentially the same theme five times in a row, and yet it doesn't seem like I'm using the same theme five times in a row - each time is different. I change the left hand, I add some notes/rhythms, I switch between modes, etc.
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Sam

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#1150037 - 02/01/06 03:51 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 830
Loc: Virginia Beach,VA
In Mozart's Piano Sonata in G Major, K.283 in measure 36 he states a little passage. But, then he goes to repeat it again leaves the right hand exactly the same, instead of 1/4 notes in the left he makes the chords repeated 8th notes. Changes the feel of it just by variating that one thing. Makes the piece a lot more intetresting too.

So, what are you currently working on?

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#1150038 - 02/01/06 07:07 PM Re: How do you develop theme(s)?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by PianoBeast10489:
So, what are you currently working on? [/b]
I'm writing a *tonal* 12-tone piece (bimodal - lydian+phrygian) for my musicology class. The assignment is to "compose an original work inspired by any 20th-century composer or genre," and then I have to write an essay also explaining the 20th century influences. (The class is about 20th Century American/European music)

I got this idea of polymodality, and specifically the lydian+phrygian combination, from a lecture about Bartok - evidently, he hated 12-tone music because it was atonal, but he realized the value of being able to use all 12 tones, so he often used this combination of lydian+phrygian to compose tonal 12-tone music. Well, at least I think that's pretty cool, so I'm doing the same sort of thing here.

I've even entitled my composition "Polymodality." \:D

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~samzerin/misc/polymodality.aiff


(I'm reluctant to post the score and ask for critique, because this is an assignment for school, but I'm happy to post a midi so that you can hear what I'm working on. \:\) )
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Sam

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