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: 276


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Lawrence– listened, and it's a cheerful little piece.  Reminds me of some carnivalesque pieces I've heard, and some ballroom polonaise-type stuff.  

As far as harp pedalling goes, I'd definitely notate what pedalling you want for glisses.  I don't know which software you use, but in Sibelius you can add harp pedalling by using the Check Harp Pedalling plug-in.  Usually I do pedal diagrams.  

Good point.  I have just been telling another composer about my own lack of enjoyment about adding dynamics and tempo's etc to pieces as I used to subscribe to the Baroque and earlier way of thinking that the musicians should be good enough to phrase properly.  

In modern times I have had experience of musicians not showing much inclination to think so have started to do it.  It is still the least enjoyable thing about writing for me.  

All the best.

Lawrence Aurich said:


     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.

Now if only I had Sibelius I could follow your advice.  My cheapo print music is pretty bare bones. If you have a glissando in a maj. you pretty much have to notate it with three sharps.   Thanks for listening.
Lara Poe said:

Hi Lawrence– listened, and it's a cheerful little piece.  Reminds me of some carnivalesque pieces I've heard, and some ballroom polonaise-type stuff.  

As far as harp pedalling goes, I'd definitely notate what pedalling you want for glisses.  I don't know which software you use, but in Sibelius you can add harp pedalling by using the Check Harp Pedalling plug-in.  Usually I do pedal diagrams.  

Here's the corrected score, except some things I can't correct with Print Music.


Hi Lawrence,

I checked out your latest score. There are still some issues in your harp part.

B29 the a flat pedal should be a g sharp.

The pedal markings at b24 are not necessary because the key change will have already told the player that those notes are natural.

B33, the pedalling should only be a c sharp for the chord at b34 (not d flat). The ensuing key change will alert the player to the other pedal changes, but if you must put them in, use F sharp and g sharp, not their enharmonic equivalents.

As your notation software is a little basic, for the glisses at b169, 117 and 183 cf, it might be clearer to use dotted minims rather than demisemis. This will get rid of the clutter of rests, clean the bar up and represent the duration of the gliss more simply.

I had a look at some bowing too for you as you asked for some suggestions.

Remember that any bowing suggestions are a guide and may well be changed, but the fundamental principles remain in that intelligent bowing indications take into account tempo, dynamics, phrasing and practicality. With all of those in mind and a little know how, one can at least get across to the conductor and leader the musical intent if they do decide to alter it.

Your bowing in vln1 from b18 to b32 could be played nicely and simply with one bow to each bar. b32 and 33 look good to me as it feels natural to the phrasing of the line. From b34 cf look at the attachment below for a possible solution that takes into account the 2 up bows in b34. You may notice that the down and up bow placement tries to follow the flow and natural phrasing of the music and I suggest you mimic the bow movement as you listen to the piece to get a feel for it, especially as you are (where?) a cellist. At b19 I put in a rest for several reasons. Firstly it gives a natural, defined end to a section and secondly, the last note feels as though it should end on a down bow. The rest also gives a moment to prepare for the down bow that follows on the key change.

Sorry I can't go through the rest of the piece at present but I hope you may be able to glean something from this. It'd be great if there was a contributing string player amongst us who could also chime in and perhaps even provide an alternative bowing as mine is by no means definitive and  there are doubtless many good alternatives.

The blandness of poor playback samples is a detriment to thinking about the physics of music in terms of expressive dynamics. There are several occasions in your piece where a little cresc. here and there in some of the parts would bring the piece to life but are not marked in and are therefore missed opportunities. I am not having a go at you Lawrence, merely pointing out that unless people are aware of the limitations of playback in certain cases, they might be influenced by the sound they are hearing and not the music they might be capable of (and they will not able to hear what instruments are fully capable of neither). The only way to counter this issue if it is a problem, is to study scores as you have been doing (and it really shows) and feel the emotional pull of the line in the parts you want to highlight and at the very least mark those expressions in the score.

Do not let poor playback dull  musicality.



     I have been writing in rests to glissandos for years because of an early version of Print Music.  I tried the correct notation for the first time on this updated version and the playback worked.  It's a miracle. 

     Your harp pedaling makes complete sense and I made the appropriate changes.

     I like the idea of one bow per measure in b18 to b32 and again when it appears later because it gives a smoother flow.

     The phrasing (slurs) at the end of the passage were all screwed up.  I changed them in the violin and reed parts to match yours throughout the piece and then the bowing works out.  

     I put in some more dynamics and went double forte at the end.

     Thanks for the input.  You actually did cover the whole piece since much of it was repeated.
Mike Hewer said:

Hi Lawrence,



Here's the corrected score.

Reply to Discussion


Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!


© 2018   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service