Mentoring Program

Wander Past Yonder

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Theme is the part in the beginning with the chords.. transitioning to the 16 note melody line ending at the first fermata.
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Piano
Key: Dorian? C?
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: vary s
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: MMU AP Theory


#4 Matthew LaRocca 2017-05-25 06:54
Hi Cam,

I’m so sorry this is getting to you after Wednesday! hopefully your submission went ok.

Lots to think about!

With the key, I like how you’re writing, actually. It doesn’t necessarily need a key per se…but keep things in a tonal center. That means that let’s say you think you tonal center is C (which is sort of how I hear it) - let yourself be free with accidentals and whatever you write, but use C as a home base. So you return to it, you feel is as the “key” but you’re no where near C major. Starting and ending major themes and cadences on C will help this.

I still think the theme in measure 6 can be made much simpler. It kind of comes out of nowhere, and is this very complex rhythm surrounded by much more straightforward music. It seems a little bit out of place to me.

I also think that you should try not to change tempo in the middle of the theme. Think of your theme as a compact, clear, and concise melody that you can. You should be able to sing it - that’s often the hallmark of a good, clear theme.

The chords that you changed are good, but you should still keep all the piano chords within the span of an octave. Measure 8, 9, 10 and more should all be changed.

M. 11 works very well, the melody and theme through there really works.

Where’s the first variation begin? Going forward, can you label the different parts? Theme, Variation 1, etc.

Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got coming next!

#3 Cameron Smith 2017-05-22 18:49
So the theme i'm thinking starts at 5. with the first measures being an intro. I went through most of the piece and changed some chords in measures 13-17. I think they sound a bit better. Also I went throughout the piece and made the chords simpler like you suggested and it does sound a lot better. I can try to add in another section related to measures 5+ because thats what Ill think Ill come back to as the "theme" in this piece.. the key i'm still not sure of.. I really like writing in a lot of accidentals and kinda just going all over the place. which I know might not sound good, but I just like to write music that is really different and doesn't really sound like something you have ever heard. Check it out again and tell me what you think.. Another submission is due wednesday so I will add a couple more things before then and make some changes if need be. thanks again for the helpful tips!
#2 Matthew LaRocca 2017-05-17 10:09
Hi Cameron,

You’ve got a ton of music! This is a great start. I’ve some questions, things to think about, and general piano writing tips for you.

Questions…can you tell me where the theme is? I am actually having a difficult time pinpointing if this is only the first theme, or if there’s a variation in there too. Remember, simplicity is a good thing! I would suggest keeping it all in one tempo (if this is just the first theme), and maybe tightening things up a little bit.

Also, what is your tonal center? You’re not really in a key, which is great. No need to be! But you should have an idea of the home tone, even in atonal music.

If you can, I would really suggest making your theme more distinct and clearer. Repeated motifs go a long way in a melody, and so does an emphasis on the home tone of the piece. You jump through a lot of different styles here…which may be the variations that are happening.

Last, I love the chords you’re using. The added tones to triads are really great. But in general, you should keep piano chords within an octave. Otherwise they have to roll them, and in places like measure 19 that’s actually impossible for a pianist to play. Re voice them so all chords are in the span of an octave.

Thinking of m. 8 and the harmony, it could be a case where a simple triad is all you need. If you remove top notes from the left hand of the piano, they you’re left with Fmajor to Fminor to C…which is a great chord progression.

Nice start, and you’ve got a lot of interesting things to work with. Let me know if you have any questions!

#1 Cameron Smith 2017-05-16 10:44
In measures 7-10 Im a bit lost on the base line.. I like the melody and changed the 16th note rune positioning a couple times. I think the first chords of the harmony in measure 8 is what needs work.. any ideas? thanks!

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