Mentoring Program

La Mariposa (butterfly)

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This piece is based off some of the melodies in a piece originally meant to be in a suite for Piano, Violin, and Viola titled, "Earth's Song," where each movement depicts a certain aspect of nature. As recommended by my previous mentor, I'm making the piece for a string trio of violin, viola, and cello, with the basic melody from my original piece. As this piece evolves into its completed form, I hope to create a piece that depicts the beauty of nature and to have a piece that evolves just like a butterfly.
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Violin, Viola, Cello
Key: B flat Major
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 80
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title

Comments   

#18 Erik Nielsen 2017-03-23 11:01
Dear Sophie,
Thanks for the response. I agree that any work you put in on this will help you, whether it's for Opus or not. And remember that you already have Springtime entered, so in terms of Opus entry you're covered. I look forward to our further work on La Mariposa.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#17 Sophie Wood 2017-03-22 19:57
Dear Erik,

Thanks for the reminder! I will try to work on the piece to the point that I can submit it on that date, however, I have some doubts that that will be a possibility. I'm pretty busy in the next two weeks and since I'm on the tennis team as well, it's difficult for me to find time to compose.

I'm looking forward to starting this, though! (even if it's not for Opus).

Thank you!

Sophie
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#16 Erik Nielsen 2017-03-22 15:02
Dear Sophie,
I know you're a senior and are extremely busy, but I just want to let you know that final versions of Opus 32 works are due by midnight next Thursday, March 30. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#15 Erik Nielsen 2017-03-14 16:44
Dear Sophie,
I just happened to see your note and can answer pretty quickly. Since you know what second inversions are, you probably also know that they are weak and unstable because the fifth of the chord is on the bottom and the chord "wants" (historically speaking, which is how we all hear music) to resolve to a root position chord with the same bass note. That's why they're avoided except in very special circumstances.
As for parallel fifths, fifths and octaves are acoustically very powerful intervals as, being at the bottom of the natural overtone series, their frequencies align, "locking" them together. That makes for a wonderful sound. However, when we have two voices, say violin and cello, that are a fifth apart, such as G in cello and D in violin either a fifth or a twelfth above, we want to have the two parts maintain their independence. Moving to another perfect fifth, say C in cello and G in violin, robs them of that independence because the lines don't sound separate, but rather like one line and an overtone above. That's why, in traditionally harmonic music, we avoid using two perfect fifths (or octaves) in a row. There are composers, such as Debussy and Bartok, who loved using parallel fifths because of their exotic sound, but usually avoided them when they wanted independent-sou nding lines. I hope this answers your question. If not, ask again and I'll try harder!

Best wishes,
Erik
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#14 Sophie Wood 2017-03-14 16:27
Dear Erik,

I'm curious about second inversions and parallel fifths. I know what second inversions are, but I'm confused about what a "parallel" fifth is. Should I avoid both in my music because they don't have particularly strong or clear sounds?

Thank you!

Sophie
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#13 Erik Nielsen 2017-03-13 16:06
Dear Sophie,
Thanks for the note. Here's what I think. Work as hard as you can, trying to finish by March 30. That's over two weeks from now. I know in the past you've been able to work quickly as needed. If you don't finish, we'll just keep working on the piece until you're done, but we'll know it's not eligible for Opus 32. You won't lose anything by mentally preparing yourself to finish the work by the deadline, but at least you'll know you have a fallback plan. That's pretty much what you wrote, but I think my emphasis on mentally keeping the Opus 32 goal in the forefront is perhaps a bit stronger. In any case, I look forward to seeing your next posting. Perhaps you'll get extra time tomorrow with the storm.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#12 Sophie Wood 2017-03-13 09:58
Dear Erik,

I haven't had time to work on my piece quite yet this week, but I will soon. I'm wondering about Opus 32. Since this was just started, I'm not sure if it will be ready for the due date. I think I'll have a goal to have it done by then, but if not, I think I'll just have this piece mentored normally.

What do you think of that?

Thank you!

Sophie
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#11 Erik Nielsen 2017-03-07 15:28
Dear Sophie,
Okay, here I am to talk about your piece. It's been almost a month since you first posted. I'm glad we're finally at work on this. I think there is great potential here for a highly expressive piece. I think your two themes have a lot going for them, both separately and together. Having two interlocking themes seems to be a facet of composition that really resonates with you.
There are a few things I'd suggest that I think will make what you have so far stronger. One is a bit more uneven rhythm. At a fairly slow tempo having a number of quarter notes or half notes in a row (see bars 2 and 4 from the first theme as well as bars 18 and 20 from the second theme to see what I mean) tends to make the melodic idea somewhat static. Just substituting a dotted quarter and eighth for two quarters can generate a tremendous amount more forward motion energy, so I'd say look to try to energize your rhythms a bit more. It won't make them any less lyrical, and in fact ought to make them more so.
Second, I think you're missing a big opportunity with both viola and cello by having them both play so consistently in their high registers. While the violin part is in a fine register for expressivity, I think you could probably move a lot of the viola and especially the cello down an octave and add a lot to the richness of the ensemble sound. As a cellist, surely you know that up as high as it is in bars 14-16 its sound is very intense, and I'm not sure that's the best way to get these particular musical ideas across. Also as a string player, I know I needn't remind you how poorly Noteflight represents how the viola and cello actually sound, but I'll just say it anyway.
The third area I'd bring to your attention is harmony. You're off to a great start with the descending line first in viola and then in cello. Later you reverse the direction. Both these ideas are great, but you can do more. For example, there's a great opportunity at the beginning of bar 7 for a wonderful G minor chord if you just keep the cello moving downward one step instead of back up to B flat. I think the piece is full of such opportunities to vary the harmony. Not only that, but please be careful about the use of second inversions (bars 15 and 23), parallel fifths or octaves (bars 21 and 15, 29, respectively) and a number of places with unresolved dissonances (bars 13, 26-27). If you can spend more time on the harmonic content of what you have already it will pay dividends.
Sophie, there's a lot of potential here, as I wrote earlier. Now if you can work on the areas I've mentioned it will not only make your opening stronger, it will also make moving ahead with new material have more meaning. Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to your next posting.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#10 Erik Nielsen 2017-03-06 11:00
Dear Sophie,
Yes, that sharing settings work now so I can see your piece! Yay! I don't have time to comment right now, but will either later today or early tomorrow.

Best wishes,
Erik
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#9 Sophie Wood 2017-03-05 14:25
Dear Erik,

I've worked on this piece more, so this is the new version. I tried incorporating two themes into the piece. The first theme shows up in the violin (which is then traded to the viola) in measures 1-12. The second theme first appears in the viola measures 17-20. The last part of the piece is still being worked on and I'm still trying to figure out how I'll connect the two themes.

https://ovuhsmusic.sites.noteflight.com/scores/view/b474f599dc3441ae2b618a68407d87e603fa79f8


Thank you!

Sophie
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