Mentoring Program

Ballade Pathetique Op. 42

943 userid
First melody I've written in Western harmony. I primarily play piano and saxophone, but mostly as jazz, so this is a little off the beaten path for me. I originally played classical piano before learning jazz.
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Sibelius
Instrumentation: Solo Piano
Key: E minor
Meter Signature: 3/4
Tempo: Moderato
Status: Work in Progress
File 1: application/octet-streamDownload

Comments   

#9 Erik Nielsen 2017-11-17 08:29
Dear Christian,
Thanks for uploading your revised score. I got a little confused because the title looks as if I already commented on it! Anyway, this is a big improvement in the music in bars 18-41, especially in 26-41 where you take the piece in a new direction.
It seems to me that the bars I just mentioned answer a lot of your question about development, or at the very least prepare the way for a new section. Keep in mind that as long as you retain the waltz rhythm you'll have us listeners thinking that all the music is related to the original theme, so you have that going for you already. In terms of actual development, that is, incorporating some new melodic ideas into the piece, let me call your attention to bars 26-33 as a good starting point. For one thing, these bars go above the staff a bit and that's something to exploit. In addition, they use more of the iv (A minor) chord. That gives you an opening to actually tonicize A minor, that is, make it the tonal center of the new section without actually changing either the key or the key signature. Center the melody and harmony around A, and then you can use a D major chord (a new sound in this piece) and an E major (by adding G#) and voila! The piece has a new emphasis. It will also make a return to the original theme in the original key sound fresh.
Two other things you can do without too much effort are incorporate more eighth notes in the accompaniment, especially scalewise motion, and give the melody to the left hand some of the time. I felt as if you were going to do that in bars 34-41 but it didn't happen. However, that doesn't stop you from doing it when the piece goes on. In short, your new music has positioned you and the piece to move on successfully.
A few little details for your attention. 1. In bars 1-17 the music could use more root position B or B7. We get a lot of first inversion with the D# in the bass, but having a root position B major chord, as in bar 25 (though it needn't be in closed position like that) is important. 2. I think you've got an error in bar 9 in the left hand on beats 2 and 3. Don't you mean to have A and B rather than the dissonant G and A? 3. Similarly, in bar 17 in left hand the Gs on beats 2-3 make no sense to me. I'd make the first G an F# and just have a D# on beat 3 (the right hand already has a G) or (better yet) a B and D# so the chord is in root position. And I'd do the same thing on beat 3 of bar 21 in the left hand. 4. There's still a really large stretch in left hand in bars 31 and 39 on beats 2-3. If you want the low notes to stay down there just move the upper notes up an octave and put them in the right hand under the melodic note.
Okay, Christian, that's it for today. This is good work and solid progress. Please let me know if you have questions about anything I've written. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#8 Christian Richards 2017-11-16 14:23
Sorry about that, just uploaded the actual copy.
Quote
#7 Erik Nielsen 2017-11-15 12:46
Dear Christian,
Thanks for the note. Unfortunately, I don't see a new version in your Google Drive folder. Did you forget to upload it?

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#6 Christian Richards 2017-11-15 11:36
I submitted a revision to the piece, where I included all your comments from before and also made some unfinished modifications to the chord structure so it follows a more logical root movement. I wanted to ask about creating a development section in this piece, where I take the A form and either modulate or change the melody, or change it in a similar way, so that it has change while retaining the original theme of the piece.
Quote
#5 Erik Nielsen 2017-10-27 13:22
Dear Christian,
Thanks for posting the first revision of your piano piece. I note the changes you've made in the opening, as well as the music you've added. These are steps in the right direction. The title really fits the piece and once again I'll say that this waltz has great potential.
I am uploading a version of the score with comments on it. It's a lot easier than my trying to explain it all here. Keep in mind that you can move the comments around so they aren't in the way of the music if you need to see what I'm talking about.
The issues are mainly similar to last time, that is, the relationship between the melody and the bass line. You've incorporated more variety in the latter and that's good, it just needs some tweaking. You also added a few left hand eighth notes. It would be great to have more, especially when the right hand doesn't move a lot, as in bars 9-13 and in the second part, many of which have half notes in the right hand to begin the bar. Having eighths in at least some of those places would give more motion to the piece and vary the sound more.
As to the new material, I like that you've kept the same waltz-like material going, but especially in bars 24-28 the music doesn't have as strong a sense of direction and melodic shape as the first part. In bars 1-17 I have no questions about the melody, its direction or the quality of the phrases. However, in the second part, especially the final 5 bars, it's not clear to me what the goal of the melody is. Is it aiming to close out in E minor? Is it transitioning to a new section in a different key and/or with a different feel? This needs more thought. Once you have a clearer idea where you want the second section to end up, you ought to be able to adjust what you have to make sure the music meets your idea.

Please look at the score I've uploaded to your folder on Google Drive, Christian, and let me know if anything I've suggested is unclear. And do think about what I've written above about the second section as you continue to work on it. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#4 Christian Richards 2017-10-26 11:41
I made a new submission to Google drive with a revision. It contains edits I made, including your suggestions and comments from before, as well as some edits I made where I felt I could improve the piece. I also added on about 10 or so bars of a B section to the piece and am nearly at a minute.
Quote
#3 Erik Nielsen 2017-10-17 12:54
Dear Christian,
I forgot to mention that when you've posted a revision, please write me a comment here to tell me what you've done. I look forward to seeing your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
Quote
#2 Erik Nielsen 2017-10-11 14:00
Dear Christian,
Thanks for posting the first version of your work for piano and welcome to Music-COMP. I will be your primary mentor on this piece and I must say that the melody and overall atmosphere so far are very successful. This has a gentle rocking feel and generally speaking, the melody and harmony work well together.
That said, let me make a couple of suggestions and then talk about your own comment #1.
1. First, be careful about both the bass line and the harmony. Let me be more specific. I'm considering the bass line as the downbeat of each bar in left hand. If you look at the opening 16 full bars, the bass note (no matter what the harmony is) for 11 of those bars is E. If you want more variety, as implied by your comment about making the accompaniment less predictable, making the bass line more interesting is a good place to start. You can vary the harmony in a number of the bars by not using E minor so often. How about changing the final left hand eighth in bar 3 to an A and then putting G on the downbeat of bar 4 rather than E? In bar 11 you could harmonize with C major rather than E minor and in 12 with G rather than E minor. It would also help to use a B major or B7 chord in root position at least once, as it makes a stronger sound than the same chord in inversion. And remember that the dominant is the most powerful chord we have in traditional harmony as it leads to i.
2. Be careful how you think about and identify chords. In bars 10-12 you identify E minor as iv rather than i. Likewise, what you have in bars 8 and 16 is VI (beat 1) followed by ii, yet you've marked the bars as iv. Not identifying the chords correctly means to me that you're not thinking clearly about the harmony.
3. As for being less predictable in other ways, your opening bars where you fill in the left hand with eighth notes sound great, so you can do more of that. You can also use a half note for beats two and three sometimes, even tied over to the next bar if the harmony doesn't change. However, I'd caution you to give us the first 16 bars in a fairly straightforward manner without too much syncopation so that you can vary the idea more later and also so we get as clear an idea about the theme as possible at the beginning.
Christian, you have the beginnings of a fine piece with such a clear melody. Now if you can consider my suggestions as you keep working, you ought to be able to make progress. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik Nielsen
Senior Mentor
Quote
#1 Christian Richards 2017-10-10 11:10
I am working on making the accompaniment less predictable. I am looking for help in expanding the piece and making it into a two or three movement piece with varying styles, to keep it interesting and varied.
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh