Mentoring Program

Colors of the Wind

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Very rough right now... having trouble with the harmony/cello line and am looking for specific help with that line (including help with composing for strings in general)
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Not Sure
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: violin and cello
Key: D major
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 120
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: MMU AP Theory


#8 Jake Lester 2017-03-29 15:28
Hey Arianna,

Thanks for the update. To my ear, this version of the variation sounds more natural than the last. The subtle note changes you've made to it make it work better. The variation still sounds like it's in E-flat instead of A-flat major, but now it sounds like an intentional decision. Great job! It's so interesting how tiny changes can have such dramatic effects, huh?

#7 Arianna Belfield 2017-03-28 20:13
Here's the final of the 3rd variation. I tried my best to try the suggestion with the A flats you had mentioned. I think it sounds different now than before
#6 Jake Lester 2017-03-22 20:12
Hi Arianna,

Sorry I never responded to your last post! Thanks for the update. There are a few really neat moments in this variation where the writing sounds very grand and epic, such as beats 3 and 4 of measure two. It's a really sudden and cool effect!

One important thing - You've provided the key signature of Ab major, with four flats, but it doesn't really feel like we're in Ab. The note Ab is never really given much attention, but really it should feel like "home base" so to speak. To me, it almost feels like we're in the key of Eb, because of the importance you give to that note at the ends of the last two phrases of the variation. This might sound odd, but can you try experimenting with implementing the note Ab into different areas in this variation? Again, it should feel like our home base, and right now, it's sort of hard for me as a listener to figure out where home is. You might have to make some big alterations. Take a look back at your second variation, which is in E minor. Notice how the melody moves up from an E right away? In that movement, you established that home base right away, and from there, the note E comes up often, and in a prominent way. See if you can do that here.

This is a lot to take away, Arianna, so if anything needs clarification, just let me know and we'll figure it out together. Thanks!

#5 Arianna Belfield 2017-03-22 17:05

here is my 3rd variation rough draft... I used the key change idea you had suggested and worked with the harmony a little more to make it sound fuller but not busier. It needs more work but I'd love any feedback before I change anything else.
#4 Arianna Belfield 2017-03-15 19:42
Cool! Thank you for the feedback! I will definitely try one or multiple of those things for the third variation. For now here is my final version of my second variation. I couldn't find much to fix but I moved a couple notes around to make the parts a little more exciting, in my opinion. I was okay with the draft of this one so I wanted to keep it pretty much the same.
#3 Jake Lester 2017-03-13 12:48
Hey Arianna,

Thanks for the update! I like the decisions you made for the second variation. I think giving the cello the melody is a nice idea that contrasts the initial statement of the theme, and I like that this most recent variation is less rhythmically active than the first, which is another key difference between them.

My one critique is that though there are some key differences between this variation and the initial theme, the two still sound somewhat alike. However, for your next variation, there are some steps you could take to avoid this.

-Use a key signature that isn't in the initial theme. This will definitely help the variation to feel distinct.

-Use a different time signature, if appropriate. This will change the flow of the rhythm and create a new-feeling version of the theme.

-Don't be afraid to alter the melody in some way. It should still be reminiscent of the original in some way, but with theme and variation, you have license to change things drastically if you want to!

If you'd like a great example of these concepts, check out this piece -

You could also go back to your initial theme and this new variation and add dynamic contrast and articulations to make them feel even more unique from one another.

Thanks for a great update Arianna! Let me know if you have any questions!

#2 Arianna Belfield 2017-03-10 10:53
Sorry, I guess I misunderstood how to submit each variation etc and have been putting them as separate submission instead of comments. I've changed the harmony a lot and for this variation I specifically put the melody in the bass line and changed the violin to a solo instead of a large group to change the feel of the song. Here is the link to the most recent rough draft of a variation
#1 Jake Lester 2017-02-16 19:02
Hi Arianna,

My name's Jake and I'll be your mentor for this assignment. Nice work! I think the interaction between the violin and cello is really clever.

As far as improving upon the cello line, which it seems is your goal right now, I have a few suggestions. My first would be to create more space between the violin and cello lines. The violin part is written pretty low, and much of the cello part is somewhat high. Perhaps you could bring the violin part up an octave and lower parts of the cello line to create more contrast between the two (bearing in mind that the cello can't play lower than the C below the bass clef staff).

The cello line is also fairly busy rhythmically compared to the violin. As it stands right now, sometimes this business distracts from the violin's melody. Reducing this rhythmic business might help give you a cello line that you feel more comfortable with.

There are also a few moments where both instruments play the same notes in unison, such as measures 8-10. Instruments playing in unison like this is an effective way to give more prominence to a melody, but the downside is that in this case we don't get a harmony. I would take another look at the spots where the violin and cello have the same pitches and try to give the cello a different part instead.

Thanks for a great start, Arianna! Let me know if you have any more questions, or if I can further clarify anything for you. Looking forward to working with you!


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