Nice trick calling the ending open-ended But actually it is no ending, the piece just breaks off. I hate it when that happens - sometimes books are like that, it is really annoying.
I thought I had you fooled Chris, apparently not...
Well If you don't like pieces that do not have finite endings I wouldn't recommend you ever listen to 'the unanswered question' by Ives. You probably have already but in any case its ending is decidedly even less conclusive compared to my no.3. the composer creates a question and it never gets answered
Hi Eddy, thanks for the feedback!
First of all, Edwardsville or Carbondale? I used to teach at SIU-E.
I go to school at SIU Carbondale. I am kind of surprised as I have never went been to the Edwardsville campus before. I assume you taught music theory there? I was reading your bio and it didn't say what you taught there but that you taught theory pedagogy in Cincinnati after you lived Florida? Sounds like you have moved around a lot!
overall: you need to either add slur lines to indicate your desired phrasing, or punctuate with rests.
Bar 22: the Eb in bass goes to an E-natural. Replace the Eb with a D#. (Don't give me any software excuses!)
Bar 26: same idea
I agree there could be some slur lines to break apart the piece into sentences as a student studying speech learns reading a loud a paragraph. About the Eb that you think should be a D#, I'm curious, is this based off the theory rule that it's easier to read notes in an upward run that are sharp? (and easier to read flats descending?) Or is it for another reason? I won't give you any software excuses but I wish you could see how I put together pieces on my computer I start with a graphic note editor and only later my computer translates the block duration values into readable "musician" notation. I don't actually enter a piece note-by-note on a blank staff. I use to do that and boy was it a pain!
overall: the form being ABA (repeats do not affect form) you could dispense with the last A and write da capo al fine (see below)
Bar 1: The D# and A# in the bass need to be Eb and Bb to correspond to the music in the RH and the voice leading.
Last bar; it's not there! This needs an ending chord, which could serve as the fine referred to above.
I agree it would be more efficient to just write D.C. al fine. Efficient, and it would indubitably save me some ink
though I kind of like how it is now, how the last four measures fill the page, just from an aesthetic viewpoint.
The Eb and Bb could replace the d and a sharp, as it would still be a descending 5th, but I think it works as it is because aesthetically it indicates a descending motion, as with the no. 1. If you have two note heads on the same line in the same measure with accidentals on a later notehead it may be more economical, but IMO its harder for a performer to pick up and start playing.
I would like to learn chromatic voicing from you, though I am currently taking a beginning comp class. Don't know if I will be learning it in that class. I learned so much theory last year about voice leading and secondary function and I most of it I can identify but I would never write like that. So I don't think a lesson that I will not use will be worthwhile to either of us
PS: One more thing, elementary pieces are more approachable if you can give them a characterisitc title that can help the young ones. "Prelude" means something to us, but not to little ones.
Thought these pieces could likely be played by a many an ambitious sub ten year old beginner, I would like to leave them as preludes, though I realize none of the three can even come close to say Gershwin's set of three preludes or indeed, any of your interpretations that we are critiquing now by Rachmaninov. There are some easy pieces in Schumann's Kinderszenen but didn't someone here say Horowitz and Argerich had them in their repertoire, these two pianists who could probably have been tackling much more complicated literature, idk.
Thanks again for the feedback.
Scott-- Thanks for the feedback!
These are delightful. You have some good ideas and are organizing and combining them in considered ways.
Thanks, I was influenced a little by Prokofiev in the no. 1. I would say most of his pieces are the ones that are delightful and mine the cheap knock-off material that places second
Overall, the first one does work best for me as it is written. Some variety in your repetitions of ideas could be good but, for me, it is not a big issue due to the size and nature of these pieces. I can see some of my early level piano students enjoying this one.
The second one, to me, could stand some elaboration. Essentially, your initial musical thought is the first 12 measures (ends in your measure 11 due to the one measure repeat, which as Eddy says, don't do. The only reason to repeat a single measure is as a "Vamp until ready" in show music.) This represents the amount of time you actually take to fully establish tonic in a full cadence. Then you simply give us a coda type passage based on the very beginning. The breadth of this slow theme just needs more.
From what I see an hear, your theme is represented by the first 4 measures (question) ending on a half cadence. You take the next melodic idea, which seems like the answer at first, and telescope it into a third phrase through that repeated measure. That actually makes for a very interesting idea upon which to build.
Also, in this particularly (actually everything you write), get in the habit of indicating mood and tempo. Use the Italian, if you want, or do it in English and add metronome markings if you want. Just looking at the score, if I had not heard it played, I probably would have thought it to be somewhat march-like due to the time signature, 2/4, and the primarily quarter and eight note rhythm. If I were to be asked to write the rhythm as part of a dictation project, I probably would have considered the meter to be 4/4 and what you write as quarter notes to be half notes. There are no absolute rules, but there are some psychological, visual meanings to the time signatures and note values chosen. Music with a lot of "white notes" (half and whole notes) in time signatures like 3/2 or 4/2 have a tendency to seem to need to be slower. Those with black notes quarters, eigths, sixteenths, faster. Those with lots of 32nd notes have a quickly moving foreground while the feeling of background beat is usually at a slower pace. Of course I am sure that one can find any number of examples that would refute that.
I could rewrite the one bar repeats in another draft so that they would just be two measures along side eachother. The reason I put the measure in repeats was to emphasize it, but I realize now the same idea would be illustrated better with phrase markings. Didn't know about show music how they use a measure to kind of sync the band, that's pretty cool
The way I was trying to build no. 2 was to continually build anticipation for a resolution throughout the piece and throw off listeners expectations (if you weren't following along with the score
) till the last two measures when I mean for the piece to truly come to a close.
I agree that in standard tempo (my midi program defaults to 120bpm) a half note is drawn out, a quarter half as slow and an eighth half as slow,-- as it should be. But my argument is that when a performer picks up a piece of music, he or she might see what is indicated and decide to play something totally different. I think this is a good thing, personally I like this piece slow as can be, but some other performer might want to play it in 20 seconds. I would be interested in hearing it, and without an "adagio" marking, they might take the liberty of playing the piece andante or presto.
Now the infamous ending. I am going against the grain here and saying do not succumb to temptation and put a final "bump" anywhere! Because of the comments, you have hit upon a musical device that you can play with for musical effect and humor. This device is called expectation.
In this part of your tool kit you always have 3 choices. 1.) You can fulfill the listener's expectations. This is by far and wide the major part of music theory "When you hear a dominant seventh chord, a tonic should follow." 2.) You can delay that expectation. 3.) You can deny that expectation. Composers have done all three for centuries. It is a stock in trade in not only music but drama, comedy, and visual arts.
When I played around with your ending I discovered that there are (at least) three possible "solutions" that would create a sense of finality and satisfaction. First was simply a bass "stinger" on your final Ab -- meaning that that is the key your piece is actually composed in. Second, it could decend one final half-step to G (the Ab harmony acting as a substitute harmony for the D7 [called a "tritone substitute" in jazz]). Or third, it could ascend to A -- the Ab being enharmonically recognized as G# leading tone of A. Thus what you have done is allowed the listener to come up with his or her own final solution.
The thing to experiment with is trying to make the "non-ending" more intentional. Play with the listener's expectations. For example you could repeat that last measure after a pause, making them expect that final solution, do it again after another pause. Then stop. The listener will realize that you are not intending to give them any more. A wonderful example of a piece that doesn't end is the presto of Haydn's String Quartet op. 33 #2 (http://youtu.be/qmoA5fy_kvQ
What you have in these is the seed of your own "Kinderscenen" (though you would probably want to name it in English since German is not that common in Carbondale. )
Anyway, Riley, just some thoughts. Keep up the good work. I look forward to hearing and seeing more.
Yay! An advocate for the not-really-an-end ending!
I think if I was more joking and added a resolving chord a measure later my music would be seen as more of a joke than an actual serious piece, so maybe I should build an ending into the harmony, thanks for the suggestions. I listened to the Haydn String Quartet and see what you mean about delaying expectation. It was aptly named "the joke."
I don't know if I could label this "scenes from childhood" as the english translation of kinderszenen goes. I can't think of which title would fit which? Maybe blindmans buff could match no. 3
Thanks again for the feedback,