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Dear Friends.

Mariza Costa-Cabral, Michael Lofting and I (the "committee") are starting a theme and variations for any of the members who would like to participate. (Credits go to Gregorio X who first came up with this idea in an earlier such project.)

The theme is from J.S. Bach's cantata "wachet auf".

[PDF score]

[mp3 sample of theme]

We will be knitting these variations together and will post the result here. Members can submit as many variations as they please but there are some rules to help us with the knitting.

1. Variations should end back in Eb preferably on the dominant so that the next variation can be added.

2. Piano must be part of the ensemble in addition to any other "common" instruments.
These are piccolo, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani, cymbals, triangle, tuba, violin, viola, 'cello and double bass.

3. Variation length should be in keeping with the original's.

4. The committee have the right not to accept an entry (sad as it would be to reject someone's).

5. As we are to stitch these together, we need to have at least a score pdf in common notation, better would be xml or midi. Pdf score to be non-transposed to help with the knitting.

6. Entries to be in by December 13th 5:00pm US EST. But the sooner we get them the sooner we can get to work. Edit: Entries should be submitted by posting them as replies to this discussion. private message to Michael, Mariza, or myself (if you are not yet a Friend of one of us on this forum, please send a Friend request to one of us, and we will add you). Alternatively, entries can be submitted via email (email address to be announced).

We will endeavour to be flexible but participants who break these rules may be subject to rule 4.

We want this to be a joyous thing, showcasing the talented, creative bunch that we are.

Off you go!

EDIT: Per request by the "committee", discussion has been closed. It will be reopened after we have further updates about the video Bob is making.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi HS,

Sounds like a great idea! 

I have a few questions.  "2. Piano must be part of the ensemble in addition to any other "common" instruments"… Does this mean that the piano part given in the pdf must be used in addition to adding other instruments?..  And if that is true, are there to be two themes playing at the same time?  (Bach does do this, btw, much in this cantata.. ) Or are you saying that the 'new' piano part cannot stand by itself w/o other instruments?  

Can there be a score without a piano part at all?… 

Here is a beautiful rendering of the full cantata  with score by Harnoncourt...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sj-NKqR0tw

This is truly a masterpiece, and worthy of much study..

gregorio

The opening of this cantata is a wonderful thing.

As for rule 2. the piano is not there to churn out the same notes but to provide continuity, give the final piece a sense of being a single piece. How you use the piano is up to you. You can use a solo piano or a piano with any combination of the instruments listed.

After some discussion the "committee" has agreed that you can post your variation(s) directly to this discussion. This is not a contest after all so anonymity is not required. Would also inspire others.

We would also ask that if you are in you reply here.

Doesn't commit you....... much.

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your response.  Still I am wondering if there could be a score without a piano part at all?

I have been fiddling around with this…  (though i must admit feeling a bit intimidated by what has already been done with the theme :)   

I'll keep stirring the cauldron; perhaps something will come.. So i guess i'm 'in'.

Thank you.

gregorio

HS, this is way outta my league, but I love a challenge that makes me try to improve,

whether I succeed is not the real issue, so count me in. I do think the time frame is a bit

short tho' ... I will try :>&       RS

My contribution (solo piano)  :D

Sorry, here's the PDF

Attachments:

John Driscoll,

Thank you very much for your contribution!

I was surprised by how different your variation was from the original theme.  Can you say a few words about the relationships between the theme and your variation? 

I did like, however.

Mariza

Thanks, Mariza.  I didn't mean to make it so obscure.  Basically the notes that exist melodically have been turned into harmony (i.e., instead of existing one after each other in a melody & bass, the pitches now occur simultaneously, more or less at the half-measure count).  

So, for example, the notes that make up the pick-up and first half of measure 1 (Bb-Eb-F-G/Eb bass) have been combined into a chord (with octave shifting) that takes the temporal space of the 1st half of measure 1.  In the second half of the measure, the pitches change and the harmony does accordingly (again with flexibility about registers and octave doubling).  

That is the basic organizing principle of the variation, though obviously it is not followed too rigidly (we are writing music after all!).

I see!  Makes sense!  Thank you indeed for explaining.



DriscollMusick said:

Thanks, Mariza.  I didn't mean to make it so obscure.  Basically the notes that exist melodically have been turned into harmony (i.e., instead of existing one after each other in a melody & bass, the pitches now occur simultaneously, more or less at the half-measure count).  

So, for example, the notes that make up the pick-up and first half of measure 1 (Bb-Eb-F-G/Eb bass) have been combined into a chord (with octave shifting) that takes the temporal space of the 1st half of measure 1.  In the second half of the measure, the pitches change and the harmony does accordingly (again with flexibility about registers and octave doubling).  

That is the basic organizing principle of the variation, though obviously it is not followed too rigidly (we are writing music after all!).

I like JD's variation.

Despite the complexity of what was done I can still hear the original in my mind.

My first attempt.

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