Mentoring Program

Love

944 userid
This is the first melody I have ever written. I am a vocalist, and sing baritone mostly. I am thinking of putting to words. I appreciate your help with this.
Grade Level: 12
Software Used: Sibelius
Instrumentation: Voice and or piano
Key: C Major
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: Moderato
Status: Work in Progress
File 1: application/octet-streamDownload

Comments   

#14 Erik Nielsen 2017-12-13 11:46
Dear Blake,
Thanks for uploading the latest version of your song. Wow, you've done a lot of work. You've now added both a piano accompaniment and verses in the vocal line. That's real progress.
You've asked for help in two areas, as I understand it, the vocal part in terms of the text setting (i.e., which phrases work and which don't) and the piano accompaniment. Let me deal with the vocal part first.

There are actually three parts to dealing with the vocal line. One is where the syllables fall within bars (sometimes called scansion). Another is the contour of the line and pitch choices. And a third is how well the line works with the accompaniment. I'll deal with the first two and leave the third for when I deal with the accompaniment.
It seems to me that the following phrases work well, both in terms of pitch choices and scansion: bars 5-8, 21-24, 25-28, 29-32, 33-34, and anywhere any of these phrases repeats. Bars 9-12 scan well, but I think it's a mistake to have the phrase end identically (both the vocal note and accompaniment) to bar 8. In the next phrase, which also ends on C (this needs work as having too many phrases ending on the same note makes the music too predictable), bar 15 has an issue where "is" is unduly emphasized with a half note. I'd give the half note to "hear" and make "is" (a much less important word than "hear") a quarter note.

The following phrases really need work on scansion especially, but also some of the pitch choices: 17-20, 37-40, 41-47, 48-52 (just 48-49), 74-80. It's mainly things like emphasizing the wrong syllable, for example, beginning the word "never" on the fourth beat give a musical stress "ne-VER", certainly not what we'd say if we were speaking the word. So work on those phrases.

Let's move on to the accompaniment. The first 13 bars work basically well, both in terms of harmonic choices and the overall sound of the piano. The use of eighth notes in right hand vs. half notes in left is certainly acceptable. After that, however, there are problems. First, using half notes for the left hand throughout the song (except for bar 34) becomes monotonous. It gives a sameness to the accompaniment that doesn't match the mood shifts of the words at all. Second, sometimes the left hand note doesn't match up well with the vocal line because it's in a weak second inversion, such as in bars 13 (beats 3-4), 17-18, 32 and others. It also doesn't function well as a melodic bass line at times, such as in bars 1-4 or any bar or bars where the same note repeats. I suspect you're just sketching out the notes to get down a basic harmonic framework, but it's important to really think about how the piano can support the voice AND still be interesting on its own. And, of course, where there are just whole note triads moving in parallel motion from bar to bar, as in 14-19, more needs to be done. Finally, at the moment only a very narrow area of the piano is being used, from the F an octave and a fifth below middle C to the C an octave above middle C (with one F above that). Most of the music is in a two octave range. The piano has seven octaves plus a minor third. Do you have to use all of it during the song? No, but it will be more interesting if you use more than you have now.

Blake, despite all I've written, you have made a lot of progress with this song. If you can work on the areas I've mentioned, even a little at a time, you ought to be able to make more progress soon. Please let me know if anything I've written is unclear. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#13 Blake Hopkins 2017-12-12 08:24
Erik:

I have uploaded a new version as of today, Dec 12th. Let me know if you can not find it. I have worked on adding a B melody with lyrics, and have begun working on a piano accompaniment. I realize I still need work on matching lyrics to melody but would like your input on which phrases work and which ones do not. Also about the style of piano accompaniment. I am thinking of changing the style for the chorus section at like m.20. Any ideas for piano accompaniment would be appreciated.
Quote
#12 Erik Nielsen 2017-12-07 11:07
Dear Blake,
It's good to hear from you and to know you're still working on your piece. However, I can't find a new version of your piece in your folder in Google Drive. Did you upload the new version, and if so, where?

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#11 Blake Hopkins 2017-12-06 11:12
Good Afternoon Mr. Nielsen,

I've made a few changes to my composition.
Quote
#10 Erik Nielsen 2017-11-03 13:53
Dear Blake,
Thanks for posting the latest version of your song. You've made some very significant changes that have improved the piece a great deal! The most important is that you changed the piece from major to minor. The sound color of the music now fits the text much better. You've also adjusted the melody in some places and have also altered the ending. This is really making progress now.
I have some suggestions for you.
1. For me, the melody really ends in bar 14. I don't find either the words or the music for bars 15-16 contribute to the song, unless your idea is that these bars are the beginning of the next phrase, in which case I'll withhold any judgment until I've seen more.
2. The bass line in bars 1-5 has great potential, but by putting the chords in inversion in bars 4-5 the effect is lost. Note my suggestion for those two bars in the version I'm uploading to your folder.
3. Bar 9 will work better as a Bb7 chord since it moves directly to an Eb chord in bar 10. See my suggestion for left hand.
4. Since this is in minor now, save yourself a lot of trouble and use the proper key signature (see what I've done in the uploaded score).
5. Some of the words are placed in a funny way ("wo-a-man"?, for example). I've adjusted them to follow standard practice. Note also that it's best to use slurs when there are two or more notes on a single syllable.
Blake, as I wrote above, this is a big improvement. Please look at the score I've uploaded and compare it with yours to see the suggestions I've made. (What I've done with the words aren't suggestions, really, more like corrections, though you need to figure out whether you want two notes on "pain" or "and" in bar 7. I put the slur on "and" because that's how your words seemed to fit with the notes, but it's up to you.) Then give some real thought to bars 15-16 and think where you want the song to go next. We can deal with making the accompaniment more pianistic later. It's more important to get the words and melody in good shape first. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#9 Blake Hopkins 2017-11-03 11:24
I uploaded a new file. Please look and comment.
Quote
#8 Blake Hopkins 2017-11-03 10:26
Hi Mr.Nielsen, I changed it to minor.
Quote
#7 Erik Nielsen 2017-10-27 12:53
Dear Blake,
I think either you didn't notice that I had already commented on your 10-24 posting yesterday or you uploaded the same version yesterday as on Tuesday. In either case, the two versions are the same, so I have nothing new to add. Please look over my comments from yesterday and let me know if you have questions. And if you did upload the wrong version, please find the one you meant me to see that's different from the 10-24 version, upload it and I'll be happy to comment on it.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#6 Mary Jo West 2017-10-26 10:44
I have uploaded a new file with words or text to my music. Would you please look at what I have written and provide feedback? I have a new GOOGLE file saved.
Quote
#5 Erik Nielsen 2017-10-26 09:37
Dear Blake,
Thanks for posting the first revision of your song. It's good to see how much progress you've made by putting words to the music you already had and working on music for the chorus.
Let me see whether I can help you.
1. Regarding the words, I think the sentiment is fine. Lost love is certainly a common theme for songs. However, I have two fairly serious reservations at the moment. The first is that for me the music doesn't fit the mood of the words. The melody and harmony, though moderately slow, are rather upbeat in tone while the lyrics certainly aren't. Are there songs where the mood of the music and the mood of the words don't match? Yes, but that's often done for irony, and I don't think that's your aim. This is part of the problem I alerted you to in my first note, namely writing the words after the music and having the two not match.
The second reservation is with the words themselves. Have you read these aloud to yourself or anyone else? The first four bars work fairly well with the music rhythmically, but after that the phrases get longer and the word stresses don't match the rhythmic stresses of the music at times. See especially bars 11-14. In addition, bar 7 is missing a beat (there are only 3) and bar 14 makes no sense as it's missing a word or words. I'd advise working on this with someone who has a good poetic sense, a fellow student or teacher, so you can take the sentiments and craft them into stronger lyrics that suit the musical mood better. After all, unless I'm mistaken, you don't have much if any experience with song lyrics, so it makes sense to ask for help.
2. The idea of verse-chorus as a form makes a lot of sense. Now what you need to do is strengthen the words for the verse, come up with a strong chorus of lyrics, since we'll hear it several times, and make sure the music is successful as well. At the moment there aren't any words, so let's look at the music. It's not as melodically interesting as the verse and the harmony often doesn't move from bar to bar (notice bars 23-24, 29-30, 32-33 and 38-39 (once again there's an incorrect bar number with 32 instead of 39). Can you start working on the words first and then craft a melody that works with the lyrics? The idea of centering around F is a good one, but I think starting with the lyrics and making them as strong as possible will give you more chance of success matching them and the music in the chorus.

Blake, I congratulate you on your courage in taking on dealing with both words and music. Now if you can take into account what I've written, especially about getting some help with words (it's not cheating, by the way), you ought to be able to make progress. Please let me know if anything I've written is unclear. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh