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OK this is supposed to be in phrygian mode. Did I do this right?

It is for flute, English horn, bassoon, French horn and tuba. What do you think of my choice for the ensemble?

It is a lighthearted dance-able (hopefully) waltz. I was also working on modulation which I think I have done smoothly.

It is more complete than some of my other  pieces but it definitely needs more work. It's a bit messy in places and as is often the case the base lines could do with some work.

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Hello again.

There are a few youtube videos attempting to explain this mode, a few geared to popular music and guitar but one that included a passage in Phrygian is - 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaZLwBej49M

Another one explains it as dark or forelorn. It is used in some Mediterranean music - Spanish Flamenco for example.

The problem with the Phrygian like other modes aside from the Ionian (major scale) is that it has no leading note so a perfect cadence is impossible which doesn't mean you can't alter it to have a leading note like the Melodic and Harmonic minor scales. Like if you start it on, say E (EFGABCD-E) you could treat it like E minor for the purpose of a cadence, making its "dominant" B D# F#.

(I'm working with another awkward mode at the moment so I can sympathise! A right headache!)

Stanley King said:

I'm glad you enjoyed it Dane. Thanks for pointing out the lack of phrygian-ness. If you know of any good resource that demonstrates the modes well I would appreciate it. The other thing I battle with is developing a piece longer than 2 minutes or so without it getting boring through repetition. If you have any pointers on this, I would appreciate it.

Dane Aubrun said:

A great little piece. Happy, easy going. I think it's fun to write for unusual combinations of instruments and this works well in that in performance a group would get any balance issues sorted out. You've described how and why you scored it as it is and the combination works for me - two double-reed instruments, the flute able to carry its part in the register it's playing, and some controllable brass that doesn't drown the others out. The bassoon can be pretty lyrical in its middle to upper register.

However, did you mean it to be written in the Phrygian mode? Because it isn't really. That mode comes with problems in that there's no perfect cadence and your cadences are resoundingly dominant to tonic....which doesn't detract from this excellently uplifting work. 

Great. Easy to listen to.

This is beautiful.

I really like it a lot. I especially love the part starting at bar 119. What is the term for a part like this? It looks looks like a fugue start.

I don't feel that I have the experience to give any feedback but I do have a few questions.

I have barely any experience with playing or writing for wind instruments, besides having played the tenor saxophone for only two years.

At bar 73 I see the english horn playing off beat while the flute is playing on the beat. Would it not be better to start the english horn at the first beat with the flute and then go into the offbeat for an easier start for the english horn player as to avoid confusion or complications?

At bar 74 I see the flute playing 16th staccato. I was wondering how often one could write this without exhausting the player or if it easy to play. Same question goes for the english horn at bar 77 and the bassoon at bar 82. Does it also sound stable enough to play this 16th staccato run in mf?

These are genuine questions and I am sorry if they sound ignorant. I really like your composition a lot and I hope you don't think that this is criticism of any sort.

Thanks Marcel I am glad you like it.

Firstly ALL criticism is most welcome. Now to try and answer your questions...

The only consideration I tend to give the musicians is: is the note too high or too low? Even then I get it wrong as Stephen so kindly pointed out. With regard to bar 73 I would imagine that the English horn player would "bounce" off the flute player's note. I agree if it was a solo passage it would be difficult to play following a measure+  rest, but then I wouldn't have a measure+ rest in a solo piece.

This is a fairly fast piece (q=170) and the 16th notes are very short, but I imagine they are playable with triple tonging in measure 94 etc.

Marcel Müller said:

This is beautiful.

I really like it a lot. I especially love the part starting at bar 119. What is the term for a part like this? It looks looks like a fugue start.

I don't feel that I have the experience to give any feedback but I do have a few questions.

I have barely any experience with playing or writing for wind instruments, besides having played the tenor saxophone for only two years.

At bar 73 I see the english horn playing off beat while the flute is playing on the beat. Would it not be better to start the english horn at the first beat with the flute and then go into the offbeat for an easier start for the english horn player as to avoid confusion or complications?

At bar 74 I see the flute playing 16th staccato. I was wondering how often one could write this without exhausting the player or if it easy to play. Same question goes for the english horn at bar 77 and the bassoon at bar 82. Does it also sound stable enough to play this 16th staccato run in mf?

These are genuine questions and I am sorry if they sound ignorant. I really like your composition a lot and I hope you don't think that this is criticism of any sort.

Thanks a lot for your response.

I tend to be very shy in writing hard parts for woodwinds because I never know how far I can go. This really helps me out a lot.

Hope to hear more from you soon.

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