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As the title says, my first attempt to write something (light) for harpsichord.

Any advice (positive advice) is welcome, of course.

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Interestingly modal melodies you have there, Erwin.

Though be sure to check the range of the harpsichord. Some of your LH parts seem to go quite low.

I'm not sure repeated notes sound good on the harpsichord, but that's just me.

m.8: the Db should really be spelled C#, like you did later in the piece.

You have a few passages in parallel 5ths... not necessarily wrong, but it should be intentional, not accidental. ;-)  E.g., the last 2 bars, and elsewhere.

Also, it may help to break up some of the chords into arpeggios instead.  Some passages are pretty heavy-sounding for something marked as "agile and light".

Another thought: the accidentals in your melodies give them a very nice, modal flavor, but the accompanying harmony should also follow the accidental in order to strengthen the modal sound.  In some places, e.g., m.32, you have Eb in the LH but followed immediately by E (natural) in the RH in the next beat. It may flow better if you also flatten the E's in the RH.

Erwin, forget the harpsichord. It is beyond the dinosaurs. meaning extinction.

Thank God and human inventiveness that musical instruments moved on.

@Roger: on the contrary, this article implies that people still write pieces for harpsichord today.

Musical instruments are not biological systems that die and go extinct.  They will remain as long as people continue to build them and write for them.

Yeah, I have to figure that out, thank you. I'll take a look at the range. I'll also take a look at the consistency of the accidentals.
H. S. Teoh said:

Also, it may help to break up some of the chords into arpeggios instead.  Some passages are pretty heavy-sounding for something marked as "agile and light".

Another thought: the accidentals in your melodies give them a very nice, modal flavor, but the accompanying harmony should also follow the accidental in order to strengthen the modal sound.  In some places, e.g., m.32, you have Eb in the LH but followed immediately by E (natural) in the RH in the next beat. It may flow better if you also flatten the E's in the RH.

And this is exactly the reason why I don't post here any more. Thank you for confirming me being right.
roger stancill said:

Erwin, forget the harpsichord. It is beyond the dinosaurs. meaning extinction.

Thank God and human inventiveness that musical instruments moved on.

Thank you, Dave. And HS, too. :)
Dave Dexter said:

And people wonder why I periodically call members of this forum shithe*ds and wond*rcunts (someone tell Bob Morabito, he'll need to inform the higher-ups). I'd consider those words far less repugnant than Stancill's comment in context here; what a simply bizarre thing to say. Perhaps there's consistency and he goes to concerts to yell at cellists? Or perhaps he just dribbles.

...and maybe some day they will be as popular as  electric guitars   lol

I'm just not a fan of either the harpsichord or the accordion, but of course

there will always be 'diehards',  hence the term.


 
H. S. Teoh said:

@Roger: on the contrary, this article implies that people still write pieces for harpsichord today.

Musical instruments are not biological systems that die and go extinct.  They will remain as long as people continue to build them and write for them.

If you're not a fan, you should not have listened. The title clearly shows the word 'harpsichord'. Just don't click it, and go to the next. Thank you.

Just if you can't be respectful, shut up and say nothing. Thank you.

roger stancill said:

...and maybe some day they will be as popular as  electric guitars   lol

I'm just not a fan of either the harpsichord or the accordion, but of course

there will always be 'diehards',  hence the term.


 
H. S. Teoh said:

@Roger: on the contrary, this article implies that people still write pieces for harpsichord today.

Musical instruments are not biological systems that die and go extinct.  They will remain as long as people continue to build them and write for them.

Erwin, actually I listened to this to hear the creativity and inventiveness of

the music you wrote. The fact that you chose the harpsichord is secondary.

Most any score can be played on a variety of instruments.

To overlook the music, simply because it is played on a particular instrument

seems a bit unfair to the piece of music, similar to judging a book by it's cover. RS 

Welcome to the club of self-contradiction.  Rumor has it they have bestowed on you honorary emeritus status. ;-D

roger stancill said:

Erwin, actually I listened to this to hear the creativity and inventiveness of

the music you wrote. The fact that you chose the harpsichord is secondary.

Most any score can be played on a variety of instruments.

To overlook the music, simply because it is played on a particular instrument

seems a bit unfair to the piece of music, similar to judging a book by it's cover. RS 

@ HS,

Wiki tells me: "On the whole, earlier harpsichords have smaller ranges than later ones, although there are many exceptions. The largest harpsichords have a range of just over five octaves, and the smallest have under four. Usually, the shortest keyboards were given extended range in the bass with a "short octave". The traditional pitch range for a 5-octave instrument is F1–F6 (FF–f‴)."

I do my best, Bob.

Are you telling me that in fact the dynamics cannot be played on the harpsichord?

@Erwin: from what I found online, the harpsichord can only play a single dynamic, set at the beginning (involving setting how many strings are plucked by a keypress, apparently).

Interestingly, this is probably why they named the piano the piano, the original name of which is pianoforte, meaning "soft-loud", i.e., you can actually control the dynamics by how forcefully you strike the keys, in contrast to the single-dynamic harpsichord.

Having said that, though, writing for harpsichord presents a very interesting challenge where you, the composer, can control the dynamics by writing more notes (i.e., larger chords) when you want the overall volume to sound louder, and fewer notes (i.e., chords with less notes, or just a single line) if you want the overall volume to be softer.  This is actually a good way to practice controlling dynamics by the number of notes you write, rather than dynamic indications in the score.  It's a useful technique esp. when applied to orchestration. In an orchestra, you can actually write crescendos without a single dynamic mark on the score, just by piling on more and more instruments, or conversely, diminuendos by subtracting instruments. (Of course, the more usual practice is to write both dynamics and more instruments for crescendos... but this is another aspect of orchestral writing that's useful to keep in mind.)

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