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#2068788 - 04/22/13 04:49 PM New Composition in the works
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Hello. I've just joined the forum last week. I wanted to share something that I have been working on the past month. I started composing about a year ago and I finally got the guts to try a piano sonata. This is just the first movement. I haven't even decided on the other two movements yet. I have included a midi file that is played out of Sibelius. It sounds fine for a demo but the harmonies and transitions work much better on a real piano, even on my little cheap parlor grand. Please feel free try it out and let me know what your experience is if you wish. Thanks so much!
pdf:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/93161902/Sonata%20no_1.pdf

mp3:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/93161902/Sonata_no1.MP3

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#2068798 - 04/22/13 05:07 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Ok Mark,

Had a listen while watching the score.

A few comments follow. Some positive, others negative, other's unexpected!

THE COMPOSITION...

is stunning for someone who's being composing for a year or a bit more. It's obvious that you know your way around the piano and thus this composition makes perfect sense.

I will admit that there were a few times that I felt it lasted almost too long, but not quite after all. The form, if you were aiming for a sonata form, is a bit lost amongst the many different things going on...

THE PRODUCTION

It's certainly not bad, but I can see how it would benefit from a living human being performing. Try to get that.

There's not much I can say, except that I still don't like the playback methods of sibelius... :-/

THE SCORE
Up until now, I've been positive, so you must've been wondering where the negative will come: Well... here they are.

The score is a big mess. Unless there's a hidden agenta, with modes and stuff that I didn't not notice (after all I spent about 8 minutes on the score), your spelling of the notes is quite bad. You don't go G#BbCD, but AbBbCD instead... There are many instances that this is happening.

Duration of notes is also a bit weird here and there.

MANY misplaced things in the score and elements that are clashing.

Overall the score needs A LOT of work, but I think it might be a good idea to keep working on the other movements, rather than changing the score.

Also, one word of advice (that I figured out too late): If you think there's hope that you works may be published, don't give out the score all that easily. It may backfire.

While this has not happened to me, and eventually I was supported exactly for my works that were online, etc, I still think that I'd like to have kept a few scores out of the internet 'liberation' movement (everything free, public domain, blah blah)...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2068813 - 04/22/13 05:33 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Nikolas]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Yeah, the score needs some work. That is for sure. I still need to learn more about Sibelius. It does a lot of things automatically that seem a bit weird. It doesn't really seem like it is set up for piano. They have something where you turn the magnetic on and off, but either way, it puts things in a odd places and are often difficult to fix.

I don't expect to publish anything for about 10 years. Maybe by then I will be a bit better. I'm still having a hard time finding a composition teacher that can give me the instruction I need. The ones available mostly compose music that sounds like it came out of the sound effects department of a motion picture studio.

I don't think your comments are negative at all. In fact, it was the most constructive comment I've gotten. So I appreciate it. I sent it to a guy who was supposed to be teaching me, but he never responded, so I'm on the look out for someone else.


thanks again.


Edited by Mark Gordon (04/22/13 05:57 PM)

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#2068820 - 04/22/13 05:50 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 511
Loc: Germany
Interesting. My first summary about the music would be: Debussy meets Shostakovich.

I like Shostakovich, but Debussy is not really my cup of tea. So I don't know if I will try it out. Not to mention the technical difficultiees that seem to be beyond my abilities. I'm just an amateur and intend to stay so.

About the score: I have never worked with Sibelius, but I know that there are possibilities to to enharmonic transformations more or less easily. The shortcuts vary from program to program. As Nikolas said: The uses of sharps and flats in your score is a bit messed up; but the problem is the music notation software. They just don't know how to make music.

But anyway: Keep up the work, and good luck with the other movements. smile
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2068824 - 04/22/13 05:56 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: patH]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
thanks for the look. I have been getting confused with some of the things that come up when I enter the notes via keyboard. Even though some things looked strange I thought, maybe the programmers knew more than I did, so I just went with what the program gave me. It probably won't be too hard to go through and edit. I will just need to find a teacher somewhere that can help me get on the right path.

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#2068837 - 04/22/13 06:33 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Hey Mark, I agree you are off to a great start. Keep up the good work. A couple things I would suggest you look at besides score adjustments.

The middle section is crazy hard. The gestures are idiomatic, but I would take a closer look at how you execute them. Look at measure 77 and 78. The 14 tuplet is already very hard to play, but adding the seconds in there make it border line impossible. And at that speed, they would only sound like a mistake anyway. Then in measure 78 in the left had you repeat the E in the first beat. With runs like this, it is difficult to repeat notes and maintain the legato that you are looking for. For any of these fast runs, just try sitting at the piano and making up your own fingering for everything. If you can play through it without feeling awkward then it will likely be successful in performance. I would also suggest simplifying some of those runs just a bit, either range-wise or speed-wise because they are very difficult right now.

Again strong start though. Compositionally, I might suggest varying the rhythm in the opening section a bit too. You did some more variation of this later on, both with subdivisions and some time signature changes. I think they would add some interest to that beginning section.

Hope this is helpful.

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#2068852 - 04/22/13 07:09 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Charles Peck]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Thanks for your help Charles. I will definitely take a look.

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#2068857 - 04/22/13 07:21 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Charles Peck]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
measure 77, I personally didn't have trouble playing quickly because I just used my thumb to hit the C and D and then the other notes were just 2,3,4,5 and repeat ad nauseum. I will be curious to hear other pianists takes on that. Quite honestly, if I wasn't trying to get Sibelius to play it, I would have notated that as an appoggiatura, I never really intended that to be in a particular rhythm or tempo. I think maybe, I should just kill the octave E instead of repeating it. It really doesn't help the sound. Just a low E to the octave above would sound cleaner. Thanks very much for your help. Everyone's comment is invaluable to me.

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#2068869 - 04/22/13 07:42 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
I am not really a pianist, so I am just going off of how it looks on the score and sounds on the MIDI. If you think it can be done, by all means leave it in. I think the effect you are going for is the sweep though and it would seem to me that the seconds are a complication that doesn't necessarily add to the effect.

I would love to hear a live version though, please throw it up on youtube or something if/when you get a recording. Pianists always amaze with some of the virtuosity they can actually handle.

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#2068893 - 04/22/13 08:57 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Charles Peck]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
the funny thing is that it is that I thought it was the easiest of all the runs. there is one thing I noticed though as I was re examining it. It has a nice effect on my 4'8" parlor grand to start each part of the arpeggio with a two note cluster. However, once it gets to the last two notes of each section, the C and the D, I should probably drop the c as it doesn't really add any value or necessary rhythm to the sweep. It is afterall just an arpeggiation of the chord that follows and that one does not have the C and D on top because it would make a strange double cluster and kill the melody note. Also the C followed by the D and then the C and D together might make it sound more like a skip, like a skip in a record. So maybe another solution is just get rid of the C between the Bb and the D. I can play this piece (of course the easy parts) but I am just starting to try out the middle section. When it is played by a person, things just seem to work out much better. Hopefully, I can find a good pianist to try it. Things are kind of dry for talent around my area.

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#2068949 - 04/22/13 10:35 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Welcome.

I listened to your composition and read your post. It sounded like you were open to comments. Below are my take on this composition.

I was not convinced that there was a clear motive that returned as a main theme or A section. This creates a problem as there is a lack of unity throughout the piece.

If you are looking for study pieces, I recommend both Charles Peck's Metropolitan and Steve Chandler's Tender7. You can find both composer's music right on this site. Even better is both guys are alive and will answer your questions, unlike Debussy and Chopin.

In Steve Chandler's Tender7, you can hear the main theme jumping right at you from the very beginning. This section A returns in variations of A', A" and so on. There is a section B as well. Steve's piece is very coherent with great amount of unity.

In Charles Peck's Metropolitan, the 5th movement Midnight City, you can hear incredibly strong rhythmic motive jumping out in your face in the very beginning of the piece. This also returns to unify the piece. The piece is very coherent.

Best
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2068963 - 04/22/13 11:14 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Schubertslieder]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
this is something I'll actually have to disagree with. This piece is formed as a loose theme and variations. It is not sonata allegro form precisely, although there is a development section. The theme couldn't be clearer from the beginning and is actually used throughout every melodic line. I don't know how to be more unified than that. I did not want a complete recapitulation because I was more interested in finding ways to recreate the melody in different forms. I appreciate your comments though, it gives me another perspective. thanks

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#2068971 - 04/22/13 11:31 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Mark,

You need to keep in mind that my comments about the score were not really about the use of Sibelius, but about your own knowledge of music... There are many things that need to be notated in a different way.

And Charles is right, the middle section is dead hard. I also noticed that but failed to mention it in my previous post.

In any case, as you can see, you've gathered some attention. Which is good 'for a newbie'! laugh take care, keep composing and complete this fist sonata. The rest will come in slowly...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2068981 - 04/22/13 11:52 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Nikolas]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
I hear you loud and clear. I am looking for a composition teacher right now. Hopefully I will find one that can work with me in the near future.

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#2068994 - 04/23/13 12:10 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Thanks for reading my comment.

In a long piece such as this, rhythmic motive or melodic motive has to come back enough to familiarize the listeners so that listeners are not left to wonder about the main theme. One should not assume that listeners will search for or dig up the main theme as the music continues on in length.

I do not believe there is a development section in theme and variation as it means a theme is introduced and variations follow.

Both music terms you are using, development and recapitulation, are found in sonata form as explained below;
1) exposition
2) development
3) recapitulation
4) coda or codetta depending on the length of the piece.

Sorry my first reply was short. I hope this reply was a bit more clear.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2069005 - 04/23/13 12:28 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Schubertslieder]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Well thanks for clarifying. I'm pretty familiar with sonata form. I've played and analyzed a good number of them, mostly Beethoven and Mozart, a couple modern ones here and there. But on to your point. No, traditionally, there wouldn't be a development section in a theme and variations. You would have a theme and harmonic structure and just like jazz, you would stick with that structure but compose different melody, rhythm, etc over top of it. I started this piece with a composition teacher and he only saw up to page 3. He said that he felt the form was definitely a theme and variations and to continue on. I can't afford very many lessons right now so I just finished it after about a month and sent it to him via email. I haven't heard from him in the two weeks since I sent it to him. I hope I can make another appointment with him so he can go over it more thoroughly. Unless, of course, he heard it and hated it so much that he is avoiding contacting me...... hope not.

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#2069006 - 04/23/13 12:28 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Although I honestly do not know how to help, I simply ask that you listen to and contact both composers I mentioned on my first reply.
Let me know how that goes.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2069010 - 04/23/13 12:33 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
That must be frustrating for you. I am sorry to hear about that.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2069014 - 04/23/13 12:36 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Mark Gordon
I started this piece with a composition teacher and he only saw up to page 3. He said that he felt the form was definitely a theme and variations and to continue on. I can't afford very many lessons right now so I just finished it after about a month and sent it to him via email. I haven't heard from him in the two weeks since I sent it to him. I hope I can make another appointment with him so he can go over it more thoroughly. Unless, of course, he heard it and hated it so much that he is avoiding contacting me...... hope not.
I think that if he's simply ignoring you because he doesn't like a piece that means that he's a bad teacher! He's supposed to be there for you, exactly when you need him the most!

Now, about him being delaying his reply: Composers can be notably late in replying some times... Especially if they are in the middle of composing something themselves... So do send a follow up email and see how it turns out.

And, about the continuation of your lessons: I think that composition lessons (as every lesson) need a steady frequency of meetings with your professor. While it doesn't seem so important as with piano lessons, for example, it certainly is so! The "meeting once a month a teacher" for me is not sufficient. There's no time to learn about you, to organize the lessons specifically for you, to tailor the individual things you will be learning for your convenience, etc...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2069047 - 04/23/13 01:31 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Nikolas]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
thanks for all your advice. Every note or measure that I'm writing right now seems pretty daunting, and I'm sure that I'm easily getting lost in the details. I am probably being over ambitious with my beginning pieces, but then I tend to bite off more than I can chew often times. I did contact him by email early Monday evening so there still is a chance he might get back with me. I had a few lessons with him and we talked about broad themes. A lot of it was in response to my questions about how modern classical music is progressing and who I should check out. One disadvantage I had is that he is not a pianist and since I am interested in composing for piano, I really need someone who can closely advise my on that kind of writing. Such as, how to get the same sound in a more practical way. I also contacted one of the composition professors at one of my local colleges. He asked me to send some stuff via email after I asked if I might get an appointment with him. No response from him in over two weeks. I know these guys are busy and I am naturally shy and I'm afraid of irritating one of the professors. But at any rate, this forum is the most feedback I've gotten for my stuff since I started so I really appreciate the time everyone has taken. even if I might not understand the critique it is great to finally meet and talk with other musicians.

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#2069080 - 04/23/13 02:23 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
I took another look at the piece, hoping to provide a little more insight.

The confusion about the form is that you are treating the theme in the middle section as a "development", in that you are altering and modulating it frequently.

Check out this piece by Frederic Rzewski called "The People United Will Never Be Defeated". It is a stunning theme and variations and is stunningly performed by Marc-Andre Hamelin. It is about an hour long and I suggest listening to all of it. This piece uses much of the virtuosity that you have in your piece and I expect you could learn much from studying it if you haven't already.

There is a recording online that is split up between several youtube videos. I've posted the first link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsfJIJ7ZQ2c

Side note: I don't think you need to study with a composer who is a pianist. If they are an experienced composer they should know how to write for the piano.


Edited by Charles Peck (04/23/13 02:29 AM)

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#2069233 - 04/23/13 09:49 AM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2629
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Hi Mark,

The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone, whether professor or composition teacher or internet forum stranger, has an agenda. In other words we all have our point of view and our personal tastes. Your mission as composer is not to please us, but to please your own ear. However, an experienced composer can assist in making your music more effective. Everyone on this thread has contributed positively in their own way. It seems you've impressed us, that's a good thing.

I listened to your piece once and enjoyed what I heard. My impression is that this would require a very good pianist to perform it. As a composer of piano music who has some challenges when it comes to technique and has tried (with modest success) to interest pianists in playing his music I can tell you the harder the music, the fewer will play it. So there's a balancing act between making the music interesting and making it playable.

Regarding the music itself, while it was an enjoyable listening experience I didn't find the themes especially memorable so I wasn't identifying their returns and variations. Your harmonic ideas are very interesting, but I would seek ways to to make the initial theme more memorable. The suggestion to change up the rhythm is especially salient. It's very square at the beginning. Find a way to build up more tension within the theme by perhaps holding some notes longer. For example in bar 2, if the G# (really Ab) was a dotted quarter and the Bb, C, and D were sixteenths it becomes much more memorable. Just a bit of that goes a long way to breaking up the quarter/eighth note clompy rhythm which quickly becomes tedious. That may not fit with your conception of the piece in which case find some other way to change things up. Ironically, changing the rhythms makes the theme sound more fluid. Bringing those changes through the rest of the piece will make the themes more identifiable as the piece progresses. Hope that helps.

Hope that's helpful.

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#2069306 - 04/23/13 12:04 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Steve Chandler]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Thanks for the suggestion. I will try a few things to see if I can make it work. Or do you think, it would be a good idea, to just file this away and start something else. Maybe just chalk this up as a learning experience and just try again.
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Hi Mark,

The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone, whether professor or composition teacher or internet forum stranger, has an agenda. In other words we all have our point of view and our personal tastes. Your mission as composer is not to please us, but to please your own ear. However, an experienced composer can assist in making your music more effective. Everyone on this thread has contributed positively in their own way. It seems you've impressed us, that's a good thing.

I listened to your piece once and enjoyed what I heard. My impression is that this would require a very good pianist to perform it. As a composer of piano music who has some challenges when it comes to technique and has tried (with modest success) to interest pianists in playing his music I can tell you the harder the music, the fewer will play it. So there's a balancing act between making the music interesting and making it playable.

Regarding the music itself, while it was an enjoyable listening experience I didn't find the themes especially memorable so I wasn't identifying their returns and variations. Your harmonic ideas are very interesting, but I would seek ways to to make the initial theme more memorable. The suggestion to change up the rhythm is especially salient. It's very square at the beginning. Find a way to build up more tension within the theme by perhaps holding some notes longer. For example in bar 2, if the G# (really Ab) was a dotted quarter and the Bb, C, and D were sixteenths it becomes much more memorable. Just a bit of that goes a long way to breaking up the quarter/eighth note clompy rhythm which quickly becomes tedious. That may not fit with your conception of the piece in which case find some other way to change things up. Ironically, changing the rhythms makes the theme sound more fluid. Bringing those changes through the rest of the piece will make the themes more identifiable as the piece progresses. Hope that helps.

Hope that's helpful.


Edited by Mark Gordon (04/23/13 12:04 PM)

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#2069307 - 04/23/13 12:05 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Charles Peck]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Thanks Charles, I'll check it out.
Originally Posted By: Charles Peck
I took another look at the piece, hoping to provide a little more insight.

The confusion about the form is that you are treating the theme in the middle section as a "development", in that you are altering and modulating it frequently.

Check out this piece by Frederic Rzewski called "The People United Will Never Be Defeated". It is a stunning theme and variations and is stunningly performed by Marc-Andre Hamelin. It is about an hour long and I suggest listening to all of it. This piece uses much of the virtuosity that you have in your piece and I expect you could learn much from studying it if you haven't already.

There is a recording online that is split up between several youtube videos. I've posted the first link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsfJIJ7ZQ2c

Side note: I don't think you need to study with a composer who is a pianist. If they are an experienced composer they should know how to write for the piano.

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#2069318 - 04/23/13 12:17 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Steve, i am going to make a quick recording of the main theme with me playing it. I had the computer playing it on the other recording. If you have time, let me know if it makes a difference. I just can't find a way to fix it without starting the piece from scratch. It seemed to make sense to me when I play it, but I know that the computer makes it very robotic and monotonous sounding. thanks again.

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#2069359 - 04/23/13 01:37 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Steve, here is a live play of the first section. I don't think it makes that much difference but I thought I might as well post a live play of at least the first section. I think I am going to abandon this piece and just try for something that is more on my level. I think I just got a little too ambitious when I had no business doing so. I don't have the musical knowledge or the training to attempt anything this large so I probably should just try some simple compositional exercises for a while. I will be looking for some things on the web to perhaps give me a little more foundation. Thanks again for your help.


https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/93161902/Piano%20sonata.mp3

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#2069363 - 04/23/13 01:55 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Just want to help improve this piece.

I believe repetition creates unity and strength in music. Even within a few measures, repeated notes create strength and unity.

With notes so far spread out in the beginning of this piece, a place where most clarity and strength needs to be, it is hard to tell where the interest is.

Simply by repeating a couple of grounding notes in the beginning would bring interest to this piece.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2069400 - 04/23/13 03:19 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
I don't think I would be so quick to abandon it. I think you could actually learn a good bit by going through and making adjustments to this piece. Even if you don't end up using it, there are some valuable lessons in there.

Work on the notation, experiment with ways of highlighting the theme more and bring the technical aspects to a more playable level. I'm sure going through these things will serve you in future pieces. Good luck.

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#2069407 - 04/23/13 03:31 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
I think that I may see the biggest problem with this piece and that it was a mistake to shoehorn the label sonata onto it when I did not create it with a sonata form in mind. My goal was to take a 4 bar simple rhythm and try to practice retrogrades, playing with the motif and changing modes. I originally titled it Etude and I should have kept it that way. I don't know when I got the wild idea that I should put two more movements to it and call it a sonata. I guess I was sort of putting lipstick on a pig so to speak. So, lessons learned, next time I start designing something that looks like a buick, I probably would be better off not calling it a mercedes.

I finally had the "aha" moment when questions were raised about the strength of the main theme and I remembered that I had in no way planned for a sonata form and if I did, I would have certainly planned differently. So in conclusion, thanks for waking me up to that. If it is okay, I am going to start something else and upload as it is in development. I've been very happy with the number of responses and the time everyone has taken. So, I will just return this to its original title and move on to the next one.

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#2069411 - 04/23/13 03:40 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Charles Peck]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Sorry Charles, didn't see your post before I put mine up. I need a little bit of space from the piece but hopefully I can resurrect it sometime in the future. I am not quite sure, due to my inexperience, how I would change the main theme without breaking the rest of the piece. Everything is sort of based the one motif, and this is actually the most regular rhythmic melody or plain melody that I've written to date. I'll have to think about it for a while or come back to it once I feel that my foundations are stronger. I'm just not sure if it is worth saving. This probably comes from my experience as a visual artist where if you make a bad painting, just put it in the closet and try again. Then later on you can look back at it and say "gee, what was I thinking?" It may be a little different with music though.

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#2069642 - 04/23/13 11:04 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Mark Gordon]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2629
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Mark,

I'm glad to see you were able to puzzle through things on your own. I have mixed feelings about whether to hone this one or move on. Both ideas have merit (how's that for not making up your mind for you after you've already made it up?). I believe there's merit in exploring these issues. I agree with much of what Charles says, but I also know that I've gone back to pieces after a few weeks (or years) and the interim allowed a degree of perspective that was valuable. I hope you do go back to this piece at some point, there are a lot of good ideas there.

OTOH, something new will present a new set of problems and perhaps it's time to seek a new challenge.

BTW, I listened to your recording and of course the human aspect made a significant difference, there were a few rhythmic things you did that helped it that perhaps were not as evident in the Sibelius rendition. Overall, I still think it could use a bit more and one or two dotted rhythms could add a degree of propulsion that would help.

The most important skill a composer can develop is a critical ear. It's very easy to fall in love with an idea. If your first thought is that it's perfect let that be a red flag, no idea is perfect. In my composing every moment of a piece of music is honed. That's what makes the process so arduous. That's probably not the way every composer works, but I've heard far too many pieces where a young composer put a lot of effort into not so great themes. Your piece had some great ideas, but they could be made better. Whether you explore that in a new work or in revising this one is up to you, either way will be a learning experience. That's what you need most is simply experience. It's like the old joke, How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice man, practice!

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#2069654 - 04/23/13 11:18 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Steve Chandler]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
I started looking at it a little more tonight. I think the first thing that I need to do is at least make what is there readable and playable. I really want to keep the sweeps in there but right now there are too many sections that would make it impossible to really play smoothly because the fingering would be too awkward. I'll upload it after in a week or so as I fix it. of course this is the really boring part of composition... proof reading.

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#2069666 - 04/23/13 11:28 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Steve Chandler]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Changing up rhythm is something I'm also conflicted on and will probably need some time away so I can hear it in a different light. At first I was somewhat attached to the kind of droning vanilla quality of the theme and thought about (as I was composing it) to keep it kind of static feeling so that the middle section could really stand out as a huge contrast. This is the plainest melody I have written so far, so I thought it would be a good challenge to so if I could polish the turd as they say. It really is kind of boring and soulless, but I kind of thought it might be interesting to turn it into something more by the varying rhythms and textures. So in essence I completely agree with you, but I'm wondering if I make they melody more rhythmic if it might change the strategy for it later in the piece. This is a genuine question, not a rhetorical one. I just don't know.

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#2070999 - 04/25/13 09:49 PM Re: New Composition in the works [Re: Steve Chandler]
Mark Gordon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 53
Well, Steve. I finally hear it in my head this evening. I didn't think it was possible to vary the rhythms much on the main theme without breaking the whole piece. but I think I found a couple of solutions. I'll post a couple of very quick variations (same notes, slightly altered rhythms) in the next day or so. I guess sometimes I have to tell my self it can't be done and then later I think, actually it can.


thanks

Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Mark,

I'm glad to see you were able to puzzle through things on your own. I have mixed feelings about whether to hone this one or move on. Both ideas have merit (how's that for not making up your mind for you after you've already made it up?). I believe there's merit in exploring these issues. I agree with much of what Charles says, but I also know that I've gone back to pieces after a few weeks (or years) and the interim allowed a degree of perspective that was valuable. I hope you do go back to this piece at some point, there are a lot of good ideas there.

OTOH, something new will present a new set of problems and perhaps it's time to seek a new challenge.

BTW, I listened to your recording and of course the human aspect made a significant difference, there were a few rhythmic things you did that helped it that perhaps were not as evident in the Sibelius rendition. Overall, I still think it could use a bit more and one or two dotted rhythms could add a degree of propulsion that would help.

The most important skill a composer can develop is a critical ear. It's very easy to fall in love with an idea. If your first thought is that it's perfect let that be a red flag, no idea is perfect. In my composing every moment of a piece of music is honed. That's what makes the process so arduous. That's probably not the way every composer works, but I've heard far too many pieces where a young composer put a lot of effort into not so great themes. Your piece had some great ideas, but they could be made better. Whether you explore that in a new work or in revising this one is up to you, either way will be a learning experience. That's what you need most is simply experience. It's like the old joke, How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice man, practice!

Top
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