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 Post subject: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Happy New Year. I have practiced a piece that I wrote, a short Sonatina in F Major. It is mainly diatonic 8) Comments on the performance, the composition would be appreciated. Hope you can enjoy.

The recording was made on an upright piano in a practice room at a piano shop so there is some background noise, and the recorder is not as good as I would have liked. And I'm a little out of shape as a player... :oops:

But I hope you can look past these things! :lol:

Here is the recording and score:

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Sonatina_in_F.pdf [43.08 KiB]
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Sonatina_in_F.MP3 [2.55 MiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:43 am 
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Quote:
It is mainly diatonic
Thank goodness for that! :wink:

This piece has a charming simplicity to it, like something Haydn could have tossed off in a jiffy, or a very young Mozart could have written.

But what is going on? This walks like a minuet, and quacks like a minuet, and so unless something cleverly subtle is just whooshing over my head, it is a minuet, even though it doesn't look like one in the score, which you confusingly notate in 4/4 (except for one bar of 5/4 and one of 3/4).

The way you play it, by which I mean the way you appear to be placing the meter accents, suggests that despite visual appearance the piece is really in 3/4 time throughout, without exception.

To me it looks like we have a 12-bar A section which is repeated, followed by an 8-bar B section, also repeated. I'm referring here to bars of 3/4, of course. Then there is a short linking passage to a da capo, with the A section played one more time, so there is a fine implied in the last bar of that section.

Normally I would expect this kind of piece to be written with the usual repeat marks and DC instruction (to make the structure clear), but you have just written out all the repeats explicitly.

Three things seem a little out of character (well, in relation to the character I'm wanting to imagine):

(1) The four repeated quavers in the left hand at (notated) beat 4 of bar 7 and beat 1 of bar 8 jar a little: they over-emphasize the faster pulse, and using two crotchets instead would (to my subjective taste) fit better (retaining the quavers in the right hand of course). Similarly of course in the two other places, which correspond to the A section's repeat and the da capo.

(2) The B section's first time through begins with beat 1 of notated bar 20, and the second time through begins at beat 1 of bar 26. These two repeated parts are identical in the right hand, but the left hand is a bit different. Is this intentional? It kind of thwarts my parsing of the structure! OK, we could always call it a non-repeated 16-bar B section instead...

(3) The very first two notes of the piece seem superfluous. Here's why I think so:

There is an informal rule, often adhered to in the era in which I feel this style is at home, namely that every piece should consist of a whole number of bars. Either all the bars should be complete, or the first and last bars may be incomplete, but if so, then they must both be incomplete in such a way that they complement each other, adding up to a complete bar. So in this 3/4 bar piece, the first bar could have two beats (the four-quaver ascending sequence F-G-A-Bb leading to the C which begins the first complete bar) and the last bar (before the DC) would have just one beat (the C octave at beat 2 of notated bar 35). Alternatively, you could also omit the F-G at the beginning, making the first incomplete bar a 1-beat bar (just the A-Bb quavers in the soprano paralleling the F-G in the alto), and then the last bar would be two beats (the first beat as above, the second beat consisting of the F-G quavers) immediately followed by the DC mark. If you really wanted to retain the first two notes F-E, then the first bar of the piece would be complete (beat 1: F-E, beat 2: F-G, beat 3: A-Bb), but then the last bar would also have to be complete (beat 1: C, beat 2: F-G, beat 3: A-Bb), and then instead of a DC there would have to be a DS, with the segno being at the beginning of the piece's "real" second bar (i.e. between beats 1 and 2 of notated bar 2).


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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:46 am 
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Like rainer mentioned, it seems more a pleasing minuet than a sonatina. Yeah, it seems really strange for it to have a 4/4 when it is everywhere a 3/4 piece (the 5/4 bar seems rather superfluous when a fermata could do).

In addition to the above comment, I think you could spice it up a teeny-weeny bit in my taste by changing the melody of bar 24 to A-Bb-C-D-Eb-A-Bb, since A-Bb-C-Bb-A----Bb seems a bit lame the second time you use it. The transition from the B section to A section in b 33-35 could also use a G somewhere; the V of V that makes the move from V to I more natural; it sound a bit Satie-like the way you have it now!


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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:20 am 
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Quite a charming little minuet, with some things to be improved as pointed out by others. Reminded me also of young Mozart. It would serve well as the middle movement of a 3-part Sonatina, but doesn't really merit that name on its own. With respect to the playing I noticed you play the RH staccato/detached, and the LH legatissimo. Is that intentional ? It does not seem to suit the piece and the recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:21 am 
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techneut wrote:
Quite a charming little minuet, with some things to be improved as pointed out by others. Reminded me also of young Mozart. It would serve well as the middle movement of a 3-part Sonatina, but doesn't really deserve that name on its own. With respect to the playing I noticed you play the RH staccato/detached, and the LH legatissimo. Is that intentional ? It does not seem to suit the piece and the recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:54 pm 
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@ Rainer, Jonathan and Chris,

Thanks for your comments.

Quote:
like something Haydn could have tossed off in a jiffy, or a very young Mozart could have written.


How nice to be likened to Hadyn or Mozart, thanks! :)

Quote:
it sound a bit Satie-like the way you have it now!


Satie, too! Thanks for that!

Quote:
so unless something cleverly subtle is just whooshing over my head, it is a minuet, even though it doesn't look like one in the score, which you confusingly notate in 4/4 (except for one bar of 5/4 and one of 3/4).


Well if the score doesn't say its a Minuet, then, by George, it ain't!

Do you like my logic? :wink:

Ok, but seriously, I could rename this as Minuet in F, but I think its important to establish what minuet form is:

- 3/4 (I agree this piece has the feel of the meter)

-Binary Form

-Minuet and Trio

-----

I think the first condition is met, this piece is no doubt in 3/4 and I should have used a fermata for the 5/4 measure

Binary form? I'm thinking this piece is closer to Ternary. If you have ever observed Schumann's "Important Event," from Kindereszen this is a prime example of Ternary form. it's A-B-A. Each section is repeated exactly once. The first A is exactly like the last A

Minuet and trio repeats the BA section and then fines after the da capo runs through the first A section. But I repeat the B section (a B prime section on the repeat) and then go back to the a section.

I was thinking this would be the 1st movement in a Sonatina. Sonatina form is generally 3 mvts.

1. Fast
2. Slow
3. Fast

But I play this under tempo, it could certainly be played faster.

And yes the legato left hand and staccato right hand was intentional, though I wish I made both hands legato. I also agree with Rainer eliminating the double note chords (keeping only the top notes) in 3rd beat of the piece would sound nicer than what i have down on the score. :oops:

Thanks again all for the critique :)

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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:23 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
Well if the score doesn't say its a Minuet, then, by George, it ain't!

Do you like my logic? :wink:

I like it lots :D
Can we turn that around to conclude that any piece is what your write above it, and only that ? Ah, the joys of Boolean logic :D

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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:30 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
I could rename this as Minuet in F, but I think its important to establish what minuet form is:
- 3/4 (I agree this piece has the feel of the meter)
-Binary Form
-Minuet and Trio
-----
I think the first condition is met, this piece is no doubt in 3/4
Well, if you agree that the piece "is no doubt in 3/4", then why did you write it in 4/4? If the time signature wasn't a mistake, I presume you must have had a reason to do it that way. I'd love to know the reason, I hope it's not a secret. I've tried to play it in 4/4 as written (i.e. emphasizing the first and third beats of each 4/4 bar as is customary), and I just can't do it. But playing it by emphasising every third beat, ignoring all the bar lines, works fine.
Quote:
and I should have used a fermata for the 5/4 measure
Only if you actually want a pause between the "minuet" and the "trio", but you don't seem to intend this. You play this transition in more or less strict time, which makes perfect sense to me. I guess the only reason you put in the 5/4 bar is because you wanted your "trio" or "B section" to start at the beginning of a bar (bar 20 in this case).

I think actually it would work nicely if the fifth beat of your 5/4 bar were to be a rest, so that the F-A-F chord only lasts two beats. It would give the opportunity for a "breath" before the next section, without breaking the continuity of the 3/4 rhythm.
Quote:
Minuet and trio repeats the BA section and then fines after the da capo runs through the first A section. But I repeat the B section (a B prime section on the repeat) and then go back to the a section.
Minuet and trio is usually A-A-B-B-C-C-D-D-A-B, where C-C-D-D is the trio. Rather closer to ternary than binary, I think.
If you shrink the B and D sections in the AABBCCDDAB recipe down to nothing, it becomes A-A-C-C-A, which is more or less the form of your piece, except that your C section is slightly different the second time, and extended by a linking section before returning to the 3rd A.

Still, I don't think it's all that important whether this strictly fits into one of a number of Minuet and Trio or Minuet-only moulds. The point is that it feels minuet-like, or perhaps waltz-like.
Quote:
I also agree with Rainer eliminating the double note chords (keeping only the top notes) in 3rd beat of the piece would sound nicer than what i have down on the score.
No, that's not what I meant. Please don't get rid of those nice parallel thirds F-A and G-Bb which lead into the repeated A-C thirds which follow (assuming by "beat 3 of the piece" you mean the 3rd crotchet (quarter-note) of the piece, i.e. beat 1 of your notated bar 2).

What I meant was that you could eliminate notes 1 and 2 of the piece (the F-E), and perhaps also notes 3 and 4 (F-G), in other words getting rid of either all or just the first half of your bar 1.

The thinking behind this is that minuets (or minuet-like pieces) often don't begin with a complete bar, but with a truncated partial bar, typically only one beat long (occasionally two), forming an upbeat (or two) into the first complete bar. If your piece were re-time-signatured into 3/4, then its first full bar might consist of beats 2-4 of your bar 2, and the two quaver chords would constitute the up-beat part-bar.

I noticed that in bar 34, you print E-D-C-B-C-B-C-D, but you play E-D-C-B-C-D-C-D, i.e. the second printed B you play as a D. Which version is correct?
This linking section reminds me of a bit from one of the popular Strauss waltzes, by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:00 am 
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@ Chris

Quote:
I like it lots
Can we turn that around to conclude that any piece is what your write above it, and only that ? Ah, the joys of Boolean logic


:lol: according to wikipedia this argument of yours is a fallacy of logic, but I think it is much more practical as a joke :P

Quote:
Well, if you agree that the piece "is no doubt in 3/4", then why did you write it in 4/4? If the time signature wasn't a mistake, I presume you must have had a reason to do it that way. I'd love to know the reason, I hope it's not a secret. I've tried to play it in 4/4 as written (i.e. emphasizing the first and third beats of each 4/4 bar as is customary), and I just can't do it. But playing it by emphasising every third beat, ignoring all the bar lines, works fine.


No secret, I just have more to learn as a composer... :oops:

When I'm composing I usually just have ideas in my head about a melody and a harmonic accompiament, so when I notate it in my computer I confess I don't think about "traditional emphasis of beats for given meters" and my composing program doesn't read it any different, it just plays the piece back in metronomic time, regardless of the time sig.. Indeed it didn't help this specific piece at all that it wasn't written at a piano. And thanks for trying it out.

Quote:
Still, I don't think it's all that important whether this strictly fits into one of a number of Minuet and Trio or Minuet-only moulds. The point is that it feels minuet-like, or perhaps waltz-like.


I can conceive of that, some pieces they sound like others, though they only partially carry the form. Or the opposite, an odd idiom in a traditional form. There's an idea, somebody compose an atonal piece in Minuet form :lol:

Quote:
I noticed that in bar 34, you print E-D-C-B-C-B-C-D, but you play E-D-C-B-C-D-C-D, i.e. the second printed B you play as a D. Which version is correct?


The written score. I also played the quavers like crochets... I was going for the "classical restraint" style, not the "romantic style," well maybe some lyrical expression in the B section. The four staccato quavers is a homage to CPE Bach in his March in D Major :)


See measures 8 and 9:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Marches_%26_polonaises_for_keyboard,_H.1_(Bach,_Carl_Philipp_Emanuel)

And re: the Strauss Waltz do you mean the Blue Danube?

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 Post subject: Re: Sonatina in F Major
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:34 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
when I notate it in my computer I confess I don't think about "traditional emphasis of beats for given meters"
You mean your artistic creativity exists on a higher plane and can't be bothered with down-to-earth trivia like meter. Some poets are like that... :)
Quote:
and my composing program doesn't read it any different, it just plays the piece back in metronomic time, regardless of the time sig..
Such luxuries (composing programs which give you instant feedback of roughly what it'll sound like) shouldn't be allowed, especially to learners. They encourage you to tackle advanced stuff before you've mastered the basics.
Use a typesetting aid by all means, to make it easier to read for playing (and perhaps faster to write), but train your inner ear to "know" how it's going to sound before actually hearing it.

Funnily enough, the typesetting aid I sometimes use (just for fun and occasional arranging -- I don't compose), namely LilyPond (because it runs on Linux and because it is NOT driven by an interactive graphical interface -- I very much prefer its text-based input, it must be the programmer in me), also doesn't really care about time signature. If you don't tell it what time signhature you want, it uses 4/4. It just puts in bar lines every four crotchets (or whatever you've told it). You can also type in bar line symbols explicitly, but they aren't instructions, they're only for checking purposes to make sure your editing hasn't gone out of step.
Quote:
And thanks for trying it out.
It was a pleasure, I actually quite like it.
Quote:
The four staccato quavers is a homage to CPE Bach in his March in D Major :)
I see. I don't like them much there either. :P
Quote:
And re: the Strauss Waltz do you mean the Blue Danube?
I deliberately didn't say, not because it's a secret but because I couldn't remember. To make sure, I listened to the Blue Danube, but that wasn't it. So I racked my brain some more, and it turns out it's from Fledermaus. It occurs twice within the overture, at bar 126 (rehearsal figure 10) and again at bar 320 (rehearsal figure 14), in different keys, G major first, A major later. Both times the waltz is prefixed with a 4-bar introductory passage (i.e. from bars 122 and 316). It is this intro which your linking section reminded me of. See the 4th and 8th page (page numbers 241 and 245) of the piano reduction at http://imslp.org/wiki/File:PMLP06836-Die_Fledermaus_(Overture)_-_J._Strauss.pdf.
Traditionally one makes a cutoff for dramatic effect between the 4-bar intro and the start of the actual waltz itself (where in the piano reduction the left hand broken chords start). This break isn't shown in the reduction, but in the orchestral score on IMSLP there is a footnote at that point to say that this caesura is not authentic and ought to be rejected. But the battle between authenticity and later tradition is seldom won by the former, especially when playing to the gallery. :|


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