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#1237774 - 07/26/09 06:38 PM Checking a Draft at the Piano
survivordan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 844
Loc: Ohio
I was wondering if, in the world of composing (as I am only dabbling in it, without classes or training) it is 'acceptable' to begin writing a piece away from the piano, then later checking it there and making neccessary corrections, then repeating. Yes or no?
_________________________
Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor

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#1237780 - 07/26/09 07:07 PM Re: Checking a Draft at the Piano [Re: survivordan]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yes.

There are absolutely no rules regarding how a person should go about composing.

Consider this - you ask if it's acceptable, but acceptable to whom?

The only contact a composer has with performers and audiences is through the score or, in the case of pianist-composers, through a performance.

For that reason, I believe that composition is to be judged on the basis of scores and performances. How you arrive at a score or performance is completely up to you.

On the other hand, you may indeed be the next Chopin, but if you produce poor scores or performances that fall flat, then I have a hard time taking you seriously. A composer who can't notate or perform well is like an artist who walks up to you and says "Hey...I've got this beautiful painting up in my head, let me describe it to you!!!"

Um, no thanks. wink
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1237858 - 07/26/09 09:38 PM Re: Checking a Draft at the Piano [Re: survivordan]
adamscottneal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 36
Loc: New Jersey
Totally acceptable!

I prefer to work at the piano, but what I prefer more is to work in a place where I am comfortable and relatively distraction-free. Last year, while doing my Master's, I enjoyed writing in my room, but I did not have my piano (I was about 4000 miles away from it). I wrote big sections of pieces before I would trek over to the music building to try things out on a practice room piano. I did not want to hole up in a practice room all day/night because A) it was quieter at home, B) I could make a cup of coffee whenever I wanted, and C) unlike the music building, my house was not haunted. smile
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#1240429 - 07/30/09 03:32 PM Re: Checking a Draft at the Piano [Re: adamscottneal]
musiccr8r Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 270
Loc: Denver
hmmm. I'd enjoy hearing what your (general you) process is for writing away from the piano. Aside from a fragment of melody I can't imagine doing that, myself. Maybe I'm just more of a kinesthetic composer, I like to know how something "feels" in my hands. Plus, I can't imagine all the permuations of harmony in my head or determine what those notes would be away from being able to test them out. It would take me centuries to come up with something away from the keyboard!

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#1240611 - 07/30/09 09:52 PM Re: Checking a Draft at the Piano [Re: musiccr8r]
adamscottneal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 36
Loc: New Jersey
I suppose I should start out by saying that the pieces I was referring to are not solo piano pieces (although one is a chamber piece that includes piano).

Scores:
http://www.adamscottneal.com/tanka.pdf <== Tanka (cello solo)
http://www.adamscottneal.com/figures.pdf <== Figures in Bas-Relief (chamber piece)

Both pieces are based on slowly moving harmonies that were determined beforehand. In fact, the first two movements of Figures feature one chord each, and the third movement features two. Tanka moves more rapidly, but each chord still lasts a few bars. I use these harmonies to create melodies.

Figures I've never actually checked on a piano because there is so much voice-crossing, and the piano doesn't exactly demonstrate the sustaining tones of wind and string instruments. The premiere performance fell through, so I still don't really know what it sounds like!

Tanka was fun to write - I had one piece of paper with my harmonies, and started sketching out the melody on another. I had a set structure (based on the Tanka poetic form), so I had a vague idea of how long each phrase should be. My relative pitch is pretty decent, so I was able to write intuitively within these harmonies. I think I wrote about 2/3 of it before I ever checked it on the piano, and I didn't have to change much at all! I do have a MIDI of this one so I have a better idea how it will sound (although there are some special effects you don't get with a MIDI cello).

Only one of countless approaches to composition, but I hope it answers your question!
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#1251728 - 08/19/09 12:07 AM Re: Checking a Draft at the Piano [Re: adamscottneal]
scherzetto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/09
Posts: 40
Loc: Canada
adamscottneal,

Just curious--which notation software did you use for the above scores? They look pretty good, and I really like your title pages.
_________________________
"Where words fail, music speaks." --Hans Christian Andersen

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#1252516 - 08/20/09 10:48 AM Re: Checking a Draft at the Piano [Re: scherzetto]
adamscottneal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 36
Loc: New Jersey
Hi scherzetto,

Thanks! I use Sibelius (3 to be exact. They are up to version 6 now, but I'm too poor to upgrade and 3 still works fine!)
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www.myspace.com/asnmusic <=== be my friend

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