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Has a reoccuring theme passed around between different instruments
Grade Level: 7
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Oboe, Trumpet, Alto Sax, Drums
Key: C
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 120
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: Crossett Brook


#4 Matthew LaRocca 2017-04-27 15:11
Hi Ava,

Sorry I didn't get to you earlier! Those are great questions.

I do think that some more clear structure will be very beneficial to your piece. It’s a little difficult having your theme start at measure 13. The music that comes before it already sounds like a theme all by itself, so it is hard to hear the music at m. 13 as the main theme. I think you could do two things - restructure it so that your theme comes in first, or have a much different introduction that is a lot shorter.

I think a clear structure may be something along the lines of rondo form. I like how you have so much material - but it would make more sense to the listener to also repeat the theme some more. So if you theme was labeled as “A” you could make the structure like this:


Where you have the theme play first, and then you hear some of the middle parts you’re talking about, then have the theme, then something new and so on. But having the theme keep coming back will give the listener something to latch on to.

In the theme, I would slow things down a lot and check to make sure you have the right notes. There’s a clash in measure 13 between the alto and the oboe and measure 15 as well (the notes D and C are played at the same time, and then A and B). Make sure those are what you want. It could be good to aim towards finishing on C as well, to help establish the sense of home tone and key.

To label the drum part as a low tom, the easiest thing to do is to write above the part “low tom,” which will tell the performers what to play on that staff line.

The last thought I just had about your theme, maybe you could open the piece with just the saxophone playing the theme by itself. It would really set up the listener to identify that as the theme, and then the next time it would be more filled out with all the other instruments. That could be really fun.

I love what you’re doing, and let me know if you have any questions!

#3 Ava Thurston 2017-04-27 12:50
Hey Matt, I have two more revisions I'm going to make. I have two questions. Should I make any changes to the main theme? And how do I label the drum part to be a low tom?
#2 Ava Thurston 2017-04-25 12:38
Matt, thanks for the comments, my theme first comes in at measures 13 and 20 and then appears a couple other times. I was thinking of making my piece more structured instead of kind of all over the place like it is now. I was going to start with having two instruments play together, the trumpet and the oboe, and then the saxophone and the drums. Then have my theme come in, followed by a longer exchange between the sax and trumpet, then the theme, a more slower section, the theme again, and then an better ending. I'm still working on making the sax part lower, and also trying to start and end on c. I'm taking out some material too, and working more on making sure my piece is more structured.

I would like a suggestion on how I might structure the piece. Thanks again, -Ava
#1 Matthew LaRocca 2017-04-19 20:26
Hi Ava,

My name is Matt, and I'll be working with you on this piece. Wow, you've written so much and are off to a great start! I like all the different interconnecting lines you have between the instruments. This is going to be a fun piece.

There's a few things we should talk about.

-The' s in a different key, Eb. This means that you're seeing what the saxophone sounds like, not what the saxophone plays. (way different than the violin or oboe...) You can toggle between concert pitch (what you hear) and written pitch (what the saxophone actually sees and plays). The issue you're going to run into is a very, very high sax part. It's all playable as you have it now, but I think you would be better off writing lower notes for the sax. In concert pitch, stay between Eb below middle C, and Eb two above middle C.

-You've got so much material right now, I think it may be a good idea to take a step back and look at the big picture while focusing on the small details. Can you tell me where the recurring theme is? There's a lot of variation happening, and not a lot repetition that makes me think of a recurring theme. I think you can repeat things almost exactly the same in different instruments! It's good to hear things more than once.

-So if you could tell me where the main theme is, that would be super helpful.

-Last, and first four measures of the oboe do a great job setting up the key of C major. It starts on C, goes on a journey, and returns home to C. After that, however, the music doesn't feel as much in C major as it could. You should consider emphasizing the home tone more, having sections come together and ending on a C, or new themes starting on a C or G. This will help keep the music in the proper sense of key.

Great work, Ava, and I'm amazed at all the music you've already written. Any questions, just let me know!


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