I thought I would share a composition that I wrote for a class assignment two years ago, "A movement in sonata-allegro form and 18th-century style."
And now for the story:
Two years ago I was taking a class largely on 18th-century compositional styles and techniques, basically the only music theory class offered at this school. I was initially a good student and followed all the rules for the assignments, sticking to the style in question, but very soon I started to feel my creative freedom being restricted. I wanted to have fun composing music, not turn in drudgery assignment after drudgery assignment of following the rules. So I started to disregard the rules and frequently submitted assignments deviating far from the required style, much to the professor's vexation. For the midterm project we were supposed to write a piece in G major and rounded binary form, along with various other harmonic and structural requirements such as inserting an augmented sixth chord in the A section, writing at least a certain number of measures for the B section, and so on (which by the way I always adhered to). I turned in a "piece in G major, rounded binary form, and quasi-18th century style," the key word being "quasi." It was a clever little creation in my own evaluation, filled with little tricks that I very much enjoyed coming up with, but the professor obviously did not find this work to his liking. I ended up having to compose an entirely new piece, which I titled "Allegro boredo."
The final project involved the composition of a sonatina movement in a key of our own choice, in sonata-allegro form and again with certain other requirements. Now in my own time I had been working on a piano quartet in my own compositional style (which was certainly not anything close to 18th-century style), and as the project due date approached I had just finished the quartet. As it was in sonata-allegro form I decided to turn that in. At this point the professor seemed resigned over my continual defiance, and gave in by allowing me to submit the quartet provided that I could offer a complete harmonic analysis of the piece. As far as I remember I had less than a week to do this. As the week progressed it became apparent that there was no way on earth I was going to do this, as my compositional style went far beyond the confines of the analysis of 18th-century music which was what we had been learning about. Finally, late into the night before I was to meet with the professor I hastily put together a sonata movement in about 3-5 hours, went to sleep, overslept, and barely caught the professor the next morning. Having not had the expectation he seemed relieved to finally receive a work from me that conformed to the standards more than I ever had. I still had little regard for rules imposing limits on creativity; the meter change between the exposition and the development is thus one of the last remaining vestiges of my defiance against the rules. Nonetheless I decided that the word "quasi" was not necessary in the title "A movement in sonata-allegro form and 18th-century style."
Today, almost exactly two years later, when I attended the recital at which current students of the class had their works performed by the professor, I found that a handful of the compositions deviated quite far from the 18th-century style.