Mentoring Program

The Lonely Pirate

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This piece was meant to sound like a pirate sailing his ship in the ocean. He is alone and in need of a companion. His life is very sad and lonely, until one day he sees another ship near by (the key change). He finally has hope for a friend until they sail right past him (back into minor).
Grade Level: 9
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet
Key: F, D
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 60 bpm
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title

Comments   

#3 Zachary Sheets 2017-04-03 14:57
Dear Gabriella,

As you've probably heard by now, unfortunately your piece was not selected for performance in the Opus 32 concert. The decision of which pieces to program gets harder and harder every year, and this spring was no exception—I hope you're not discouraged, as you've clearly got a lot of musical talent. There are a lot of inventive, well-done, and effective features to your music, so, please, keep composing and keep making music! I hope to see you back to do more work on the Music-COMP site in the future!

All best,

~Zach
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#2 Zachary Sheets 2017-03-17 16:40
Dear Gabriella,

Thanks for posting your piece for Opus 32—I'm glad we got your sharing settings resolved so that we can begin working together. My name is Zach, and I'll be working with you as your mentor for this piece. You've already done a lot of very good work, and much of what you have is working very successfully already. I love your change of modal harmony to bVIII and bVI in the D-major section, as well as the viola countermelody in bar 11. And, in general I find the melodic ideas well done and quite effective.

There are two places where you might want to adjust the countermelody slightly to make sure that all the instruments fit together harmonically—a few times you wind up with a bit of a clash that doesn't sound so intentional. I'm talking about bar 5, beat 4 (E and G in the clar/vla against the D minor accompaniment pattern in the piano); and bar 8, beat 2-3 (the A's in the clarinet—they strike my ear a little strangely in a bar of C major). I might save the pitch A until the last beat, to make it clearer how you move from C major to A dominant on the last beat of bar 8. Either way, the D in the flute on beat 2 of bar confuses my ear a bit, too.

I like the clarinet syncopations at the end of bar 9, but I feel like they need to lead us somewhere in bar 10! Something rhythmically active like that at the end of a bar usually tends to lead our ear forward, so when all the instruments except the piano drop out on the downbeat of 10, it feels a bit as though the bottom has dropped out of the sound. Could you find a way to lead the clarinet along all the way to the key change on the downbeat of 11? I think that would help stitch together this transition.

Finally, Ella, I have two suggestions about your piano writing.

Is there a reason you haven't included bass clef and made a grand staff? Right now you just have the treble clef line (the one played with the right hand), so you only have access to middle and high notes. If you add the bass clef staff below it, I think you'll find you have a much wider palette of colors. As Ms. Weigand commented in your noteflight score, I think we could benefit from have a little bit more in the low register. Having some bass notes would give more variety and help you punctuate important moments or harmonic changes. Let me or your teacher at Harwood know if you need help configuring noteflight to add the other piano staff.

Second, I think you're getting a little too stuck with the repeated pattern that you currently have in the piano part. I love that your ideas are focused at that you rely on just a handful of strong melodies and accompaniment patterns, but in the case of the piano part in the first 16 bars, my sense is that you repeat the pattern a little too literally. Can you find little ways keep the clarity of the harmony, but maybe change the contour or the shape of the pattern? Or perhaps sometimes instead of being all skips in thirds, you could fill in step-wise motion? Or you could mix in some quarter notes or gaps in the pattern, like you do in bar 14? There are lots of possibilities, and just a few changes will go a long way.

Great, Ella—keep up the good work! Watch out for the one or two harmonic crunches I mentioned, and think about the clarinet part in the transition from 9 through 11. And, as far as the piano goes, consider incorporating some bass notes in the bass clef staff, and see if you can give your piano pattern in the first 16 bars a bit more flexibility and freedom. Looking forward to your next revision! Best,

~Z
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#1 Sandi MacLeod 2017-02-24 09:23
Hi Ella,

So glad to see your post and thanks for the clear description of your intent for this work. Now, there's just one problem and it's that the score isn't Shared, so mentors won't be able to view it. Here's how to fix it.

1. Open your Noteflight Score.
2. Click on the Connect icon.
3. Change Sharing to "All site members" may view this score.
4. SAVE.
5. Post a comment that you've fixed the Sharing and you'll hear from a mentor soon.
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