Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

In preparation for this piece I looked over the three Minuets that anyone who has ever learned an instrument has played, Beethoven's Minuet in G, Bach's Minuet in G, and Boccherini's Minuet in A. Of the three, which is the best? Boccherini of course, because he uses maj./min. changes and much syncopation.

The minuet is a social dance for two people of French origin usually in three and at a moderate tempo. Minuet refers to the small and dainty steps. Boccherini's structure is typical. Approximately AABBCCDDAA, where each section is 8 measures long and is repeated. I used the structure ABCDEADECBA where each section is 16 measures long and if a section is played in major first it is latter repeated in minor. So the only section which is repeated unchanged is A, which appears first and last in major and in the middle in minor.

All comments are welcome. Do the pedal marking for harp make sense? 

Views: 263

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Lawrence,

I will gladly look over your harp pedalling tomorrow if nobody else does so beforehand....just had too much social dancing for one day as you can no doubt see. 

I can't comment on the accuracy of the pedalling what with the not reading music thing, but I can flag some clerical issues.

Don't use a key signature on the harp part. Such is my experience, at least.
When indicating tuning, you must do so in entirety at the beginning, either with the specific harp pedal notation (you may not have it - I don't) or as I've been requested in two lines:
DCB
EFGA
delineating the left and right sets of pedals. Further changes should follow this pattern, so if you need to flat the B and the F concurrently:
Bb
Fb
rather than
Bb Fb

You've indicated spread chords, which is a great colour - did you intend that at all chordal points and forget to add the notation, or is it strictly in, say, b10-17?

The glissandi on p7 etc are correct but you've done what I have - filled the bars with cluttering superfluous rests. I assume you wrote out the entire scale and then erased all but the start, top and end notes - extend them to whole notes and it'll be perfect. Your intent would be obvious as is but may as well streamline.

I attached a harp part from a recent session which covers most of the same ground you have, forgive me if I've linked to it before.

Lovely writing as far as I can tell btw, would be great to hear irl. Comparisons to Strauss are inevitable given the form, but that's hardly a slap in the face.

davedexter.com




Attachments:

Dave,

     I can't change the key signature on a single staff, but using DCB, DFGA indicates all naturals, (strange order of keys on a harp).   So the position of the letters is as important as the letters themselves.

I think rolled chords sound louder than strings plucked in unison.  So the first time is softer than the repeat.  I did the same at the end of the piece. 

If I put in half notes connected by a glissando my program just plays half notes.  I have to put in the rests to get the glissando. 

Now I have to memorize DCB, EFGA.  There must be a pneumonic that harp players use like, all cows eat grass.  Maybe, Do chubby bears eat frozen green apples?

Thanks for the info.

Mike,

     I wrote in bowings, as best I could.  The up bow is light and hard to see.
 
Mike Hewer said:

Lawrence,

I will gladly look over your harp pedalling tomorrow if nobody else does so beforehand....just had too much social dancing for one day as you can no doubt see. 

Not natural necessarily, just however your harp is tuned to at the start of the piece -
Db Cb B#
E F# Gb A# (however unlikely that tuning is!)

It's because D C B are on the left of the pedestal and E F G A on the right. I saw an eight-pedal harp in a stately home recently. Forget I told you this.

If you can't remove the signature from the stave, notate as if it isn't there. If it sharpens Fs, you still need to indicate whenever the harp switches to an F#.

I imagine rolled chords do cut through better and, as with any nice colour or usage of an instrument, being spare with it is often more effective. So that's good.

Ok, so it's a vagary of your NS. Fair enough. Simple to change for a performance score once you have a mockup exported.

How about: Dave's Careless Banter Endangers Forums Globally; Appalling. It's easy to remember because it's true!

Lawrence Aurich said:

Dave,

     I can't change the key signature on a single staff, but using DCB, DFGA indicates all naturals, (strange order of keys on a harp).   So the position of the letters is as important as the letters themselves.

I think rolled chords sound louder than strings plucked in unison.  So the first time is softer than the repeat.  I did the same at the end of the piece. 

If I put in half notes connected by a glissando my program just plays half notes.  I have to put in the rests to get the glissando. 

Now I have to memorize DCB, EFGA.  There must be a pneumonic that harp players use like, all cows eat grass.  Maybe, Do chubby bears eat frozen green apples?

Thanks for the info.

Dave,

     Here's a better pneumonic.  Do cowboys eat fresh green asparagus?

Hi, nice piece.  Good gentle lilt.  For me it could do with a bit more dynamic contrast?  And maybe working on the shaping of phrases using dynamics etc.  You might consider some tempo change such as a rit... at the end or a rit... and "a tempo" (back to the same speed) at the return of the "A" section.

Orchestras and conductors do not create (as a rule) dynamic and tempo changes.  

On harps, the harpists that I know tell me that they find it really annoying for people to put in pedal marks, as these are entry level skills for them.  So just stick to the key signatures and allow them to adjust.  The only time pedal marks might be useful are when you are creating specialist glissando's that include things like "A flat" and "G sharp" etc in the same chord/scale.

Thanks again.

I must say I disagree with Jim re harps. The caveat to all advice is that a harpist may well do things their own way, just as any player might quietly reinterpret their part to play it better; however I've now written (and had performed) several pieces involving harp, with input from a professional harpist as well as other more experienced composers & orchestrators. Pedalling is often expected or required. A good player could of course look at an unmarked part and figure it out, but that's no reason not to include the information. If present, they can simply ignore it; if not, potential time is wasted as they have to go through the part themselves. The sessions I wrote for would not have accepted scores and parts eschewing pedalling, and there's not THAT many ways to pedal a piece that adding the information will be automatically incorrect.

An additional and maybe even more important factor is that you simply should know how to signal pedal changes - it will prevent your writing becoming unidiomatic or impossible as you consider the physical restrictions of the instrument (for ex., changing many pedals at once). Inserting the information myself made me aware when I'd created a needlessly difficult moment that required attention and resulted in rewrites.

Hi Lawrence,

Jeez, I'm sorry for this long post...anybody know a way of talking about this music nonsense in shorthand without being preachy?

Did Columbus Bring / Enough Food Going (to) America is the classic mnemonic, but I love yours and Daves' best. How about 

Did Competition Bring Enmity For Gnarly Artists.

I think this is a joyous piece, full of great writing Lawrence. Although I have just concentrated on the harp in this post for you, I have to mention the 2 up bows in the vlns at b34 and similar which are just great and although violinsts might possibly change the bowing, it gives the phrase a lovely springy staccato feel which will be duly noted and retained by a conductor. It's a shame the playback does not reflect this nice detail clearly.

Jim has a point about pedal markings in general as does Dave, I think different situations require different approaches. One thing is for certain though, it is vital you understand the principles involved and keep a track of the tuning as you write otherwise you will run into difficulties and have to backtrack to revise the part, which is why you need to mark in pedalling as you go, at least in your draft score.  The same is true with timpani tuning.

Edit...I see Dave has just snuck in pretty much what I have just said before I posted...sneaky boy.

In your score, most of the harp tuning is self-evident but in more complex music, common sense should apply when thinking about pedal markings. In my work, I did employ markings for awkward moments and in highly chromatic music when enharmonic spelling is utilised for pedalling convenience, I would advise occasional pedal markings as an extra way of confirming an unusual spelling of what might ordinarily be say a common  chord. Of course, to do this you have to know the instrument well enough to not annoy the harpist and lead the tuning astray. Harpists sometimes have to re-write the part to make it more playable because of a lack of due care by the composer.

Pedal markings at the start of your piece should be the enharmonic equivalents, but as there is a musically stable key signature, they are redundant. Dave has said not to use key sigs. and there is some truth to this if the music is not tonally stable, but it really is just common sense - if it is more practical to use them then do so. ( a quick glance at 2 scores by Ravel - Le Tombeau and La Valse shows both approaches).

At b36 the arpeggio will probably be played with both hands and good practice would be to divide the triplets between the left and right hands, starting with the left, although (like pianists and fingering choices) the harpist may divide it up differently.

At b69 cf, Dave has already mentioned the gliss rests which should be hidden. There are several ways to notate a gliss, google gliss notation harp and look at the images.

A courtesy pedal change indication at b97 from c natural to c sharp (not D flat) might be nice for the harpist, although the key change does confirm this. If you are putting in pedal marks, put them between the staves and just prior to the change (say a beat or 2 before).

This is a great article on the harp by a harpist which I'd recommend to anyone who wants to know more.

http://www.animatedcreations.net/harp/composeForHarp.pdf

If you like, I will look at the bowing suggestions for you and throw in my hundred bucks or so later, but at a cursory glance your score is beginning to seriously look the part, good for you Lawrence.

BTW, harpists often roll chords if it feels musically right, but one can guard against that if need be with a non arp. command.

Oh and one more thing, your bpm marking at the head is showing an incorrect note value....

Jim,

     I purposely kept the dynamics to no louder than forte in keeping with the style of the minuet which  is light and dancey.  This suite has plenty of bombast in other movements.  Similarly the minuets I perused had no ritards between sections, only at the end.

     The harp is a fairly esoteric instrument.  I don't know any harp players to have an opinion on this subject.  It's almost like writing for organ, which you almost have to play yourself.  Not being an organist, why would I choose a stop labeled swell when I could use a stop labeled great?

Thanks for listening and commenting.
 
Jim Tribble said:

Hi, nice piece.  Good gentle lilt.  For me it could do with a bit more dynamic contrast?  And maybe working on the shaping of phrases using dynamics etc.  You might consider some tempo change such as a rit... at the end or a rit... and "a tempo" (back to the same speed) at the return of the "A" section.

Orchestras and conductors do not create (as a rule) dynamic and tempo changes.  

On harps, the harpists that I know tell me that they find it really annoying for people to put in pedal marks, as these are entry level skills for them.  So just stick to the key signatures and allow them to adjust.  The only time pedal marks might be useful are when you are creating specialist glissando's that include things like "A flat" and "G sharp" etc in the same chord/scale.

Thanks again.

What I still don't understand is why pedals should be notated in flats.  This piece alternates between A maj..and A min.  The pedals would have to be F#,C#,G# in A maj.  I'm going to change all the flats to the appropriate sharps. 

     Bowing help is much appreciated because this piece is fairly easy.  I am working on a polonaise which is about the most difficult piece for bowing I can write, and any suggestions on Minuet will help on Polonaise.
 
Mike Hewer said:

Hi Lawrence,

Jeez, I'm sorry for this long post...anybody know a way of talking about this music nonsense in shorthand without being preachy?

Did Columbus Bring / Enough Food Going (to) America is the classic mnemonic, but I love yours and Daves' best. How about 

Did Competition Bring Enmity For Gnarly Artists.

I think this is a joyous piece, full of great writing Lawrence. Although I have just concentrated on the harp in this post for you, I have to mention the 2 up bows in the vlns at b34 and similar which are just great and although violinsts might possibly change the bowing, it gives the phrase a lovely springy staccato feel which will be duly noted and retained by a conductor. It's a shame the playback does not reflect this nice detail clearly.

Jim has a point about pedal markings in general as does Dave, I think different situations require different approaches. One thing is for certain though, it is vital you understand the principles involved and keep a track of the tuning as you write otherwise you will run into difficulties and have to backtrack to revise the part, which is why you need to mark in pedalling as you go, at least in your draft score.  The same is true with timpani tuning.

Edit...I see Dave has just snuck in pretty much what I have just said before I posted...sneaky boy.

In your score, most of the harp tuning is self-evident but in more complex music, common sense should apply when thinking about pedal markings. In my work, I did employ markings for awkward moments and in highly chromatic music when enharmonic spelling is utilised for pedalling convenience, I would advise occasional pedal markings as an extra way of confirming an unusual spelling of what might ordinarily be say a common  chord. Of course, to do this you have to know the instrument well enough to not annoy the harpist and lead the tuning astray. Harpists sometimes have to re-write the part to make it more playable because of a lack of due care by the composer.

Pedal markings at the start of your piece should be the enharmonic equivalents, but as there is a musically stable key signature, they are redundant. Dave has said not to use key sigs. and there is some truth to this if the music is not tonally stable, but it really is just common sense - if it is more practical to use them then do so. ( a quick glance at 2 scores by Ravel - Le Tombeau and La Valse shows both approaches).

At b36 the arpeggio will probably be played with both hands and good practice would be to divide the triplets between the left and right hands, starting with the left, although (like pianists and fingering choices) the harpist may divide it up differently.

At b69 cf, Dave has already mentioned the gliss rests which should be hidden. There are several ways to notate a gliss, google gliss notation harp and look at the images.

A courtesy pedal change indication at b97 from c natural to c sharp (not D flat) might be nice for the harpist, although the key change does confirm this. If you are putting in pedal marks, put them between the staves and just prior to the change (say a beat or 2 before).

This is a great article on the harp by a harpist which I'd recommend to anyone who wants to know more.

http://www.animatedcreations.net/harp/composeForHarp.pdf

If you like, I will look at the bowing suggestions for you and throw in my hundred bucks or so later, but at a cursory glance your score is beginning to seriously look the part, good for you Lawrence.

BTW, harpists often roll chords if it feels musically right, but one can guard against that if need be with a non arp. command.

Oh and one more thing, your bpm marking at the head is showing an incorrect note value....

It's not that they should exactly. But flat tunings sound better as they're not wound through the tuning peg, and so you can take advantage of this with different spellings (or a harpist might decide to). It's the sweet spot. I've said before though that the difference is not enormous, and especially in a piece like this where the harp is supporting it's not at all vital. Following the key of the piece will be fine in most cases. If the harp is leading and you're writing long, resonant, exposed passages, that's where finding flat-centric pedalling is useful.

Lawrence Aurich said:

What I still don't understand is why pedals should be notated in flats.  This piece alternates between A maj..and A min.  The pedals would have to be F#,C#,G# in A maj.  I'm going to change all the flats to the appropriate sharps. 

Reply to Discussion

RSS

donate

© 2018   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service