Mentoring Program


Composer Name: Aiyana Baldasty
It's hard feeling the way I feel now- I mean, it's hard feeling down in any way, shape, or form. I begin at peace with the darkness and the rain, my anxiety gradually growing. My brain just becomes so full of itself that it simply collapses into a never- ending spiral, yet I maintain a balance of eccentric emotion, going off and on, off, and on. This is the final subject gone over within my album, and yet the most chaotic and rather eerie. The human mind is scary, and it's up to us to face it. In this song, it portrays me outside on a cold, dark, and rainy night at peace with myself, yet demonstrating a chaotic balance of emotion beside it.
Grade Level: 8
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: This piece includes an SATB arrangement, along with a piano accomp. Possible percussion too?
Key: A flat
Meter Signature: 4/4, yet it will probably alternate within the notation
Tempo: Again, alternates. Starts moderately fast, goes into a pretty fast tempo, then suddenly stops and becomes slow.
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: Opus 33 Grades 6-8


#9 Matthew LaRocca 2018-02-20 12:12
Hi Aiyana,

Nice work!

I think the 2/4 bar will be perfect, but you need to start on a 4/4 bar in measure 18 (so there’s only ONE 2/4 bar -having a single shorter measure inserted into a phrase to move it forward is a very classic technique). But “real” should come on beat 3, not beat 1.

M. 11 - this harmony is really an E major chord, not an A minor chord as you have it. The notes should be E, G# and B. I would try moving the bass so it goes E - B in half notes, and changing the right hand notes to a combination of E, G# and B. This same harmony happens anytime you have the A-flat note (m. 15 etc.)

M. 26 - I think adding in some harmonies in the voices here would be really powerful! Everyone doesn’t have to sing the same note all the time, especially as you’re building to a climax. I think you should change your accompaniment in the piano here as well to help move the music forward.

I really like the harmonies you start to put in in m. 33, but the transition to the sixteenth notes in the piano seems very abrupt. Is there a way to smooth it out? Can the voices go “ooh” underneath the sixteenth notes on long held whole notes maybe? Or can you somehow lead into the low A in m. 38 with a descending melody line in the piano?

I love where you’re goin with the ending…I think the idea of slowing it down will work very, very well. What will the words be?

#8 Aiyana Baldasty 2018-02-19 10:06
I'll also fix the A flat thing too- apologies, I keep forgetting.
#7 Aiyana Baldasty 2018-02-19 10:06
Mr. LaRocca,

Great. I tried switching m.17 to 2/4 like you said.

I'll also work on the tempo when I get the chance, and I'll also let you know how it goes.

Any other improvements? I worked on the end of the song a little bit, and added some measures. What are your thoughts?


#6 Matthew LaRocca 2018-02-14 10:50
Hi Ayaina,

That all makes sense. I have two thoughts for you:

1. To change the tempo, try highlighting the entire section and then using the tempo button to add a new metronome mark. It should just change the measures that are highlighted. Let me know if that works.

2. With the turnaround in beat, I totally get what you are going for now, and love it. To make it more musical and easier to read for the performers, what you want to do is actually make a single measure of 2/4. Bar 17 would turn into a 2/4 bar, and then back to 4/4 where the voice comes in. It will give you the same feel or pushing and pulling, but this will let the musicians know how to play it properly.

And last, remember to change the A-flats to G-sharps in all the melody lines.

Awesome work, Ayaina!

#5 Aiyana Baldasty 2018-02-10 23:03
One question I had was about tempo. I'd like it to switch tempos (to a faster pace) when coming out of the piano solo into the second section of the song. I had tried changing it, but every time I tried, it somehow changed the tempo of the whole score OR made me renew the tempo for each individual measure. Do you possibly have any insight on this?
#4 Aiyana Baldasty 2018-02-10 22:56
I think the piano is fine without the high E too.

Anyways, I'm glad that you mentioned that about the second part of the verse coming in on beat three. It lets me know that the music is having the effect that I want it to have on listeners. This piece is intended to be rather uncomfortable, and capture the essence of the original emotion. The change in entrance at the measure represents the build and the sense of discomfort that I want to portray through the music- that was my main reasoning.
#3 Matthew LaRocca 2018-02-08 12:58
Sounds good, Aiyana! I like what you did with the piano already. Especially when the voices are in there, I don't think you miss the high E. We could find a way to add it back in the beginning, though, if you want.

While you keep working on it, I think you've moved the voice part in m. 17. "Am I really" sounds to me like it should start on beat 1, not beat 3. I think it did start on beat 1 in the previous version, and the music feels like that's what it wants to do. Give it a listen and see what you think.

Add a comment when you have some more revisions, and great work! Have fun!

#2 Aiyana Baldasty 2018-02-08 09:40
Mr. LaRocca,

Greetings! I really appreciate the feedback.

The piano part was one thing that I was curious about, and it looks like you answered my question! I did try taking out the high E, and it sounds fine, and I will try dropping some other things on the piano line too. I will also try to make transitions between the background piano part and the more solo- like part in the middle.

I'll also try to build the vocal part like you said when I have the time.

Again, thank you very much for the feedback!

#1 Matthew LaRocca 2018-02-07 08:14
Hi Aiyana,

What a great start! I love what you have so far. I really like your description as well, and I think you can really use that to guide your music. You’ve got such a poetic feel to it already, and music is the best way in the whole world to channel our emotions.

I like how you start off the music with the soft repeating chords. You need to change the notes in the piano though, as the chords are too spread out in the first section. The high E can’t be played from m. 7 on (the first 6 bars, the chords are slow enough that the pianist can “roll” the chords and hit all the notes not at the same time, but close enough). I would suggest dropping the high E from m. 7 on, and you may want to try moving the left hand down an octave as well. It could help with the overall feel you’re going for.

I wouldn’t change anything yet with the vocal line. But do you want it to be a single voice as it starts out? That way you have some room to build, and adding in a second voice at m. 17 or so can be very powerful.

You have a lot of instances with an A-flat, which you should really rewrite as a G#. In the key of A minor, two of the important chords you will use are A minor (A,C,E), and E major (E, G#, B). In the measures where you have an A-flat, the harmony is actually an E major chord (hence the G#). You may want to try rewriting the piano part to show this chord. The bass could switch to E -B. Try it out!

The build at m. 26 is very nice…I would think about adding in the soprano voice as well here. Make it big! You could also move the voices into harmony at m. 29, so there’s a strong ending to the first section. It would be an E major chord again.

Again, this is such a great start and a very cool piece. What’s next?


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