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Ellen's Composition with B Section

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ABA
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Sibelius
Instrumentation: Piano
Key: Ab Major
Meter Signature: 3/4
Tempo: Moderato
Status: Work in Progress
File 1: application/octet-streamDownload

Comments   

#11 Erik Nielsen 2017-02-14 17:26
Dear Ellen,
Thanks for closing the loop by posting the final version of your piano piece. Wow, this certainly took a different route in the middle! It's gone from fast and furious to much more lyrical, though both in F minor and both effective. I think it's a good demonstration that there is often more than one good solution to a problem.
I only have a few little things to point out. First, your dynamic mark in bar 30 "mpf" confuses me. What do you mean by it? Second, it looks as if you have a small piano roll symbol under the second half of beat 2 of bar 77 in left hand. Do you mean that to be there? It doesn't make sense to me. Finally, in bar 108 you have a p marked on the downbeat but it's in the middle of a decrescendo. Do you mean it to go at the end of the decrescendo? Whatever you want, please make sure to deal with this so your intentions are clear.
Other than that I think you're all set, Ellen. This is a lovely piece and you deserve to feel proud both of the work you've put into it and the final result. Congratulations . I'll comment on your percussion piece tomorrow.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#10 Hyoin Rhee 2017-02-13 08:06
Hello!

Happy Monday :D! I worked on completely finishing my first piece and changed the middle part so this piece is musically coherent. Could you please have a look at it? And for my second one, I changed it to a percussion solo piece with piano accompaniment but now I'm stuck in the last variation. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can write the accompaniment part for the last variation and the second to last variation?

Thank you!
Ellen
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#9 Erik Nielsen 2016-12-08 12:03
Dear Ellen,
Thanks for posting the latest version of your piece. This is definitely very, very close to finished. You've improved all the areas I noted last time. Good work!

Let me try to answer your questions and then get to three other items. Dynamics: yes, add them as you want the piece to be played (don't EVER make dynamics decisions based on computer playback; it's notoriously inexpressive). The more dynamic marks you add for things you want, the clearer your instructions to the player will be. That includes putting dynamics at the beginning and end of almost all crescendi and decrescendi (although one place you don't need them is in the middle and end of a "hairpin" such as you have in bars 9-11, unless the dynamic level you reach in the middle is very important to specify and/or the dynamic at the end is different from what came before the swell). The piece also needs an opening dynamic!
Fingering numbers: absolutely unnecessary. Let the player figure them out, unless you're good enough as a pianist to suggest a very specific fingering for a particular passage.
Okay, my little items. First, 114 is not a standard metronome tempo. I'd advise either 112 or 116, both of which are standard. Second, I miss the running eighths that are missing in left hand on beat 3 of bars 77-90. The rests leave a gap that I find unsatisfying. It's up to you, of course, but I would like those eighths to keep up the momentum. Finally, the ending seems just a little abrupt. You could hold the final note in both hands by tying them over for an extra bar or something else to extend the ending a little.

Okay, Ellen, that's it. The piece is very, very close to finished. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next (final?) posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#8 Hyoin Rhee 2016-12-06 21:08
Hello!!!

I worked on my composition and I think I am almost done with this piece! I followed your suggestions and made small changes in B section + transition. Also, I changed some notes in the 2nd voice in the last section to 1st voice unless I wanted there to be a 2nd voice line to make it clear that some notes are supposed to be played by left hand. Now my question is, how should I add dynamics? I feel like there is no set rule for expressions. Should I just put in dynamics in a way that I want this piece to be played/interpre ted? What about numbers for fingering (especially for the accompaniment for B section)? Is it necessary to write such things or not really?

Thank you soooo much!!!
Ellen
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#7 Erik Nielsen 2016-11-29 12:46
Dear Ellen,
Thanks for posting the latest revision of your piece. This has really made progress. You are about to enter the home stretch with a few adjustments to what you have now. I think answering your questions will be the best way for me to get to the issues I see remaining.
1. "What do you think of the second A section?" I actually like it a lot. It's close enough to the original as to be instantly recognizable while having enough difference with the little right hand countermelody and the very different left hand so that it's not at all a carbon copy of the original statement. This is good work. The only thing I'd suggest is that unless the right hand has two different rhythms going on at the same time, as in bars 84-86, it's better to just add the new note as an interval within the same voice. That is, in bars 81-83 and 89-90, I'd change the dotted quarter in voice 1 to a quarter and then have two eighths for the end of the bar, but both in the same voice. (So, for example, the final beat of bar 81-83 will be C-D flat as eighths, then C-A flat, then B flat-D flat, respectively.) Yes, I know it won't show the original melody as clearly, rather putting the added notes into the same single line, but it will sound the same as what you have now, but be much less confusing to look at. Likewise, in bars 87-88 and 92-94 make the final quarter a single note with two pitches on the same stem, rather than having two voices (with opposite-facing stems) for just that one beat.
2. "And the added B section? I think B section got a little boring after I made it longer. How can I make the melody better?" I like the B section for the most part, but I agree that you cover the same ground several times in bars 62-72. There are three four-bar phrases that end the same way. You have a few choices. You can cut out at least one of them, you can modify the ending of at least one of them so it ends on something other than i (F minor) or do some combination (i.e., cut out bars 66-69, change the cadence in bars 64-65 so it doesn't lead to and end on F minor, as one example). I'd also suggest that if you keep bars 62-64 you add octaves to the right hand (below the current notes, not above them). That way it won't sound as thin as it does now.
One more thing. I know bars 73-80 are meant as a transition, but at the moment they are much more powerful and blunt than the delicate recapitulation that follows. They would fit as is with your opening thematic statement, since it has a thicker left hand, but it gives the feeling of slamming into the recapitulation rather than getting us there smoothly. One possible solution to this is to make a decrescendo in bars 77-80 and also modify the left hand for part or all of those four bars so it starts to gradually become an arpeggio. That will lead to bar 80 more smoothly than what you have now. You really don't need to change notes or chords in left hand, just start to break up the chords into arpeggios more and more frequently in 77-80.

Ellen, you've made a really big step forward with this revision. Now if my suggestions in answer to your questions are clear, see what you can do with them. Please do let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#6 Hyoin Rhee 2016-11-26 13:37
Hi!

Thank you for making suggestions!
Now I am trying to end the piece. What do you think of the second A section? And the added B section? I think B section got a little boring after I made it longer. How can I make the melody better?

Thank you!
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#5 Erik Nielsen 2016-11-11 10:58
Dear Ellen,
Thanks for uploading the latest version of your piece and for your comments. I think that both the introduction and especially the B section are improvements that are moving the piece in the right direction.
Regarding the intro, I think the issue is that it never leaves I (A flat), so that makes the beginning of the waltz theme an anticlimax. In the version I'm uploading you'll see that I changed the chord in bar 4 to a vi chord (F minor) and then at the end of the bar I moved the right hand up one note for each of the eighth notes (including the downbeat of the next bar) and then made the harmony V (E flat) rather than I. That will prepare the theme and end the intro better.
As for the B section, it's very exciting except for the middle, where the low, long notes in the right hand aren't very dramatic. So I've added an upper octave to all of them in that section to give it more power. See what you think. Remember that these are just suggestions.
Ellen, this is really coming along. I'll be interested to see what you do with the return to the A section. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#4 Hyoin Rhee 2016-11-10 19:26
Hello!

I uploaded my revision on drive folder today. I'm not sure what to do with the introduction! I tried using thirds but it sounded a little weird, so I left it the same for now. I made some changes in B section because I really didn't like the waltz accompaniment, and I wanted my piece to have drastic changes in style after modulation. Do you think it works nicely? Also, I need to continue working on the returning A section after B section. I think I will make some little changes to the melody and add ornaments.

Thank you!
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#3 Erik Nielsen 2016-10-31 20:14
Dear Ellen,
Thanks for posting. Once again we have a technical problem, which is that you only seem to be able to post a revision with Sibelius if you treat it as a new file. That's no good, not that it's your fault at all. What I'm doing and I'd urge you to do is post from now on using this file (i.e., Ellen's Composition with B section) and put your Sibelius file on Google Drive (I'm writing to your teacher about it tomorrow).
In answer to your question, in general I think your B section works, but we've heard so much "oom-pah-pah" accompaniment that the running eighth notes are a welcome change. I'd suggest keeping that up throughout the section. I've taken the liberty of marking up the score and will post it on Google Drive. Here's the link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1SycWTi5V3-UXgxV1NpSUpieTg?usp=sharing.
I hope you can open the link and see the score. This is a workaround for now, but it's the best we can do. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#2 Erik Nielsen 2016-10-31 19:47
ORIGINAL COMMENT FROM FIRST POSTING
Dear Hyoin Rhee (or do you prefer Ellen),
Thanks for posting the first version of your solo piano piece. In general, what you have so far works very well and I find it quite charming. I'm a sucker for waltzes anyway, and yours has a very touching melody and shows a strong harmonic sense.
Let me answer your question first. Yes, the modulation to F minor (I'm assuming you mean in bar 36) is simple but effective. I'm debating whether the unison line on the final two beats is better than using harmony in the left hand, but for now, suffice it to say that the general idea of it works just fine.
I really only have two things to look at. One is spelling. The F# in bars 18 and 26 are really G flats (within this overall key scheme) and the E naturals in bars 20 and 28 are really F flats. Keep in mind that F# leads up to G while G flat (like your situation) leads down to F.
My other comment is to note that your piece flows very smoothly from the beginning all the way into the modulation. That's a really long time without coming to any sort of rest. While I like what you've done, there can be such a thing as too much flow. What would it be like if you changed the melody in bar 16 to a dotted quarter note on C and then wrote three eighth notes for the end of the bar: D flat, E flat, F? Even that little pause could make a difference. Oh, and using those two closed position chords (D flat at the end of 16 and A flat at the beginning of 17) is a bit blocky, but if you just got rid of the E flat at the top of the A flat chord (you already have it in right hand), that would work better.
Ellen, this is a great start. Keep up the good work and let me know if you have questions.
Best wishes,
Erik Nielsen
Senior Mentor
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