This will be a very long post… then again, learning is a long process.
Composition works (Side project):
Suite Op. 1, No. 1 “Gaspar”.
So far, I have written … compositions for this suite for means of practice. These are the very first, I have ever written. As aforementioned, I intend to write a good one-hundred movements/pieces within this suite. It will be a collection of different experiments in genre, form, meters, and key. That asides…
…Eventually, when the suite is complete. It should form a story of some kind. Therefore, one could label it programme music. The strict rule, is that I include a viola (Gaspar) in each composition.
*No.1. Theme Stated. In G flat Major. 3/4 meter.
*Variation I. no.1. opus 1. In C Minor. 3/4 meter.
Alt Title: To tell him.
*Variation II. no.1. opus 2. In A Major. 3/4 meter.
Alt Title: Whilst circumstances allow it!
*Berceuse Rondeau no.2. opus 1. In E flat Major. 6/8 meter.
Alt Title: Perhaps one day still.
“Berceuse Rondeau.” E Flat Major with the Enharmonic of C Minor. Between bars, you’ve the arpeggio in the viola switching from both scale families, respectively. A 6/8 meter, as our Berceuses are composed in. I wrote this with the intention of it being a lullaby, in criticism to the 2nd variation of the original theme. However, this rondeau, isn’t a variation to the theme. instead, it is a companion piece. Also, with it being a rondeau… it can be played in a seamless fashion repeatedly.
“Does the moon’s light douse you awake too?
Sometimes, I forget…”
I decided to re-purpose the initial theme of the Berceuse, to compose something more structured. The clumsy melody of my first compositions irk me. This time, I took to studying the ‘A Major’ (my favorite) key. All notes within this piece, are from A Major scale and nothing else. Arpeggios, as well as an odd chord, is appended for experimental purposes. Then, from that second Berceuse I composed more variations.
E flat minor and E flat major are some of my favorite keys. I do prefer the somber ones, admittedly… that is, past the more cheery ones, such as your C Major. In reference of Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart’s “Ideas Towards An Aesthetic Of Music” (1784/85), he stated that both the aforementioned (EB minor/major) keys connote love, devotion, grief, mournfulness respectively. I choose my keys and meters accordingly, so as to experiment with demonstrating different moods.
I will do more experimentation with the future pieces to this suite, eventually… I still compose at a Kindergarten level. I compose through using the Ionian mode, past any other modes, which is still rather juvenile.
So far, for the Gaspar suite. There is a total of 14/100 compositions.
- Louise-Hector Berlioz.
On the excel spreadsheet, I was instructed to listen to Berlioz’s second movement within Symphonie Fantastique. I was then instructed to answer the question: “What meter is it in?”
Without looking at any associated music sheets, it’s obvious. A triple meter. Why? It sounds and feels like a Waltz, to be blunt. Also its subdivision sounds weak, medium, strong. Now, looking at the music sheet. I was correct. It is a 3/8 meter. And within each bar for the first sections, you’ve Demi-semi quavers. The beat, is set to sixty BPM equivalent to a dotted crotchet (4 and 1/2 beat). Therefore… for 3/8 time, there is one dotted crotchet per bar. Each beat, strangely feels as if it is split into three increments within (in this case, three quavers).
In comparison, the 3/4 has a beat which is not dotted. One beat does not feel equivalent to three… but instead two (two quavers). Interestingly enough, 3/8 are found within dances. Such as Waltzes and Mazurkas (yes, Chopin). This is a beautiful piece. I am certain that it was composed in E flat major/C Minor just as well, by looking at the music sheet. You’ve a set of three flats on the staves.
I experimented with a sketch of a composition I did. The name of it was inspired by Berlioz’ composition, rather than being written in reference to his:
The tempo, for each one is different in reference note value as per meter.
Your 6/8 meter has two beats to a bar, whilst your 3/8 has only one.
6/8 is compound duple time.
*Le Miroir Fantastique. no.5. opus 1. In E Major. 3/8.
*Le Miroir Fantastique. no.5. opus 1. In E Major. 6/8.
It’s rather interesting, to consider the notation and meters. They are very subtle changes, absolutely… but they change the overall composition, considerably. Not just that, but also the mood… it’s a very precarious and delicate process.
2. Claude Debussy.
Debussy, stated to be one (the other being Maurice Ravel) of the main forerunners of the Impressionistic movement in music. Interestingly enough, Debussy’s impressionistic work is late Debussy. Before then, his compositions were much more restrained through classical influence.
I was instructed to answer a question in regard to the following piece. That is paraphrasing online sources so that I may retain the information for my own use:
- What is impressionistic music, and what defines it?
Impressionistic music is characterized by music which focuses on both mood and atmospheres. Monet, the French painter is the forerunner of this movement. Composers labeled impressionists, are much-like impressionistic painters… music, however as the modality, is used to convey emotion past paint.
Impressionism differs to both baroque and romanticism, through its intention to detail. Impressionism, is very emotional based… however, there is always certain emphasis placed on features within music. Such as the timbre, harmonic usage, texture to name a few… there was also the introduction of new chord combinations. That of which could be described as ‘ambiguous’, and extended in nature. This movement also made of use modes. Modes are related to musical scale: the Dorian, Phyrigian, Lydian… and so on. Each mode conveys a set of melodic characteristics within music–this is perfect for the impressionistic composer.
NOTE: I have only learnt of the Ionian, in my being at Kindergarten level.
Impressionistic music, is often named in an extravagant and evocative way. I.E: Reflections On The Water, 1905. Interestingly enough, Impressionistic music links to programme music (extra-musicality). The aforementioned, being a type of art music (high art) which attempts to construct and of course… convey a musical narrative. The title, is often corollary to the music just as well… to tell the story. Hector Berlioz, I had mentioned some posts back… for example penned the “Symphonie Fantastique”, which is a work that is an example of programme music.
The diametric opposite to programme music, is absolute music–which isn’t about anything in particular. Programme music is not intended to be used as a supporting feature/accompaniment, along side another modality… I.E: Film, or Operatic stage performances, for instance. Instead, Programme music is considered a stand-alone narrative device. I call programmatic music, musical novella.
Then, I was also instructed to explore the world of ballet. Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (1940).
All Ballet music, by its nature is programmatic. In a masterful ballet (think Tchiakovsky) each note both connotes, and denotes the actions and mood of the performers on stage. However, strictly speaking. Ballet music, is not programmatic in a sense that it should be listed. Like your opera, or lieder (poetry set to classical music)… it is written as an accompaniment. A programmatic piece, is written as a musical novella of sorts–a stand-alone piece. In regard to this ballet, it is a dramatic piece of work–a “dramabalet”. Interestingly enough, it premiered in 1940–the delay was attributed to tensions in Soviet Russia, during that time. From this ballet, Prokofiev made use of the TENOR SAXOPHONE to add a unique sound to the orchestra. The saxophone is heard, from each movement and is most often emphasized in its solo demonstration. VIOLA D’AMORE is also played, among the ensemble. The VIOLA being a direct descendant from its 7-6 stringed progenitor. Ballet, strictly speaking of the musical convention, is simply a complement to the dance form/performance of the same name. During the 19th century, composers of “ballet music” were seen as ‘craftsmen’, which was seen as rather demeaning. However the form itself, began to gain respect during the 20th century. An audience, who enjoys their Ballet tends to prefer ROMANTICIST pieces past CLASSICAL.
The music is written to mimic the performance on stage, as your composers for the score of film are expected to do… just as well.
On the topic of composers…
If one must choose…
My favorite composer is Susumu Hirasawa. Hands… down!
Next week, I will be exploring Resphigi and Tchaikovsky.
In my wish to compose, and learn music theory. I now learn the piano concurrently with viola.
Personality traits for each instrument:https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/what-your-musical-instrument-says-about-you
Piano: “You keep reminding your shrink that harmony is a purely musical term and not one that can be used in the context of human relationships.”
(Pianists in THIS study, are seen to possess the most fluid intelligence whilst string instrumentalists are in the middle: https://hrcak.srce.hr/file/157042)
Viola: “You either suffer from unnaturally high self-esteem or extreme self-loathing.”
My piano arrived, by freight today. So now, I can begin learning on him… just as well, I will be referencing “Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course”-level one. Strangely enough, I received this book through my Nephew not wanting it anymore (he was learning piano and gave it up). It sat on my bookshelf for a year or so, due to my feeling that it should. So now, I learn from that book. I will also gather tutelage under a more experienced pianist, after a year or two of grasping the basics.
Although, in my hopes of eventually moving into composition I will become somewhat of a multi-instrumentalist… therefore, I still choose to play viola. My tutor, said just as well that he thinks viola suits my personality. Which is apparently warm, and gentle. His words, not mine.
Eventually, with piano and viola I will take to learning an instrument from brass and wood-wind, as well as percussion to ‘complete’ my repertoire of musical skill.
“…the piano is undoubtedly appreciated as an elite, extremely complex
and highly sophisticated instrument, and by this as a highly preferable choice” (https://hrcak.srce.hr/file/157042). –This article is fascinating.
Now… into it.
Step 1. Prelim exercises and how to sit at the piano:
Firstly, the hands. A lot of concert pianists take care with their hands. They are, after-all very precious. They give life to tones. Many concert pianists often soak their hands in warm water, before they are to play. This is especially important, if one is intending to practice/play for hours and hours, and I intend to get up to that point eventually. Also… all instrumentalists cut their nails.
One uses ALL of their digits of their hands to play. ALL of them.
And just like the viola, the fingers are referred to by number:
- Index finger
- Ring finger
Then, posture is taken into account. Posture will effect the way you play–and that goes for all instruments. The pianist must sit tall, with a straight back. That is why, they are observed to sit on the edge of a stool, past a chair with a backing. Also, they must…
Hang their arms loosely from their shoulders.
Lean head slightly forward.
Have elbows raised higher than the keys slightly.
Seated on a stool perpendicular in angle to the keyboard.
Have feet flat on the floor, with the right being slightly forward (for use of pedals).
Have their knees slightly under the keyboard.
Step 2. Playing:
In regard to the mechanization of the piano, I had learnt posts back that your traditional piano registers sound by way of hammers and strings. My piano is a Korg B2SP–a digital model, which is somewhat of a faithful reconstruction to traditional pianos around the world. With little space, I had purchased this with the intention of simulating an acoustic piano (grand piano). The keys are pressure sensitive to the touch, and the three pedals at ones feet simulate ‘lifting the dampeners’ for sustain. By way of dynamic/tones, one can play FORTE or PIANO in accordance to the WEIGHT applied to a key, through finger.
Then, one must memorize and name each key. The acoustic piano consists of 88 keys, with a range of 7 octaves. The range registering from 0 to 8. The lowest being A0 (27.5 HZ) to the highest, being C8 (4186 HZ). Bass to treble, goes from left to right. The left hand tends to the bass, whilst the right to the treble.
The manner in which hands are used, are also, very important. One curves their fingers inwards, so that they can make use of their thumb just as well. When all fingers are curved, they bend at the same length just as well!
The first piece I learn to play and practice is ‘Ode To Joy’ in treble staves with the right. Taking reference of the practice I’ve done on viola so far, I transfer it over for sight reading… using that as a preliminary basis. Then, after I will practice ‘Aura Lee’ in bass staves, using the left. Compartmentalizing tasks, then combining them together is the best way I learn. Kudos to Palmer, Manus and Lethco!
I must first spend the proceeding week perfecting the control of my fingers, whilst sight-reading.
And now, I go back to research again in-between practice for the entirety of the week.