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Hi everyone,

Since a few days I'm composing this symphony in the classical style to make myself acquinted with basic composition techniques again and I'm having some trouble. Everything up to measure 24 sounds fine to me, but the transition to B-flat major that occurs from measures 25-28 sounds a little abrupt and not as delicate as the rest. Next comes my second subject in measure 29 however the orchestration doesn't sound quite right. Anyone has some suggestions for me?

Thanks in advance!

Marijn

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Fair enough, ironically I was being touchy myself.
Ray said:

Dave, I wasn't being either harsh or touchy. There are lots of things to learn by studying and/or parodying the masters of past centuries. I myself have enjoyed producing many mock ups of such work although I'm not so sure on the value of parody other than personal satisfaction. So, I apologise for not spelling out my meaning of the word 'use'. It was in the general sense of 'to others'.
The 'great' composers of their era like Mozart created better parodies of their own best works than anyone else will manage.

'Just opinions, we all have them.

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the tips so far. I'll try them out tomorrow. And just to be clear I'm doing this mostly for the purpose of learning but also because it gives me pleasure and because I happen to like this kind of music. Thanks again!

Marijn

There is a great to praise in this work.  But before I said much more, I'd just be curious to know why anyone would think of this as a parody?  That is, if we define a parody as, "an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect."

The discussion of "Prokofiev ("Classical Symphony") ... and even some of the neoclassical Stravinsky (Pulcinella)" does seem relevant in this context.  But are both these and/or the work by Marijn Hartkamp to be referred to as "parodies?"

Parody doesn't simply or only infer a comedic element, especially in music. Ray's use seems harsh but it's accurate. At the very least, this piece is (consciously) derivative.


Serenity Laine said:

There is a great to praise in this work.  But before I said much more, I'd just be curious to know why anyone would think of this as a parody?  That is, if we define a parody as, "an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect."

The discussion of "Prokofiev ("Classical Symphony") ... and even some of the neoclassical Stravinsky (Pulcinella)" does seem relevant in this context.  But are both these and/or the work by Marijn Hartkamp to be referred to as "parodies?"

No matter how erroneous and unfounded, there is little to say in contradicting such allegations. Demonstrable evidence is the only recourse. Here is a sonata which I actually did author, for comparison:



Ray said:


Ray

Following the above, I await Kristopher's next comedic incarnation although, I still know it's him. He wouldn't be able to resist discussing what his latest turning job on the lathe was all about.

Thanks, Marijn for this work.  I would be interested if you could say whether you consider your work to be a "parody" or satire of Mozart, or a respectful imitation.  I think you intended the latter, but I could be wrong of course.  Prokofiev and Stravinsky had their own reasons for doing what they did, in the Classical Symphony and Pulcinella, which may or may not be worth discussing here.

 

Hi Dave, It's good to talk to you again.  You said, "Parody doesn't simply or only infer a comedic element, especially in music."  I hope it didn't come across that I was saying parody "simply implies" a comedic element.  I asked why anyone might think of Marijn Hartkamp 's symphony as a "parody."  The definition does speak of deliberate exaggeration for comic effect as part of the essence of parody.  Is that present in the work?  [I don't see the modulation discussed as having gone that far, really, and the composer wants to soften it.  I agree with Bob Porter about that, in any case.  It's fine as it is. ]

 

You said, Dave, the use of the term "parody" ...  "seems harsh but it's accurate."  I don't know if it's harsh, and I'm not sure whether it matters if people consider it to be so. You said, "it's accurate."  But why is it accurate?  I am genuinely interested in an answer to the question from anyone who believes it is.

 

 Dave:  "At the very least, this piece is (consciously) derivative."  It may very well be "derivative," but is that problematic, given that the composer says he is imitating a famous composer?  A great deal that is "derivative" persists in our popular culture, in pop classical culture and in musical culture generally. This can be true at times, even here on Composers' forum.  Is that, in and of itself, a valid objection to the symphonic work, in this context?  One might convincingly argue that this is a creative and successful imitation of Mozart.  That was my impression.  This is what the composer wanted to achieve, as a sort tribute, or as an enjoyable exercise.  An imitation, by its very nature must "derive" its elements from the original, of course.  But a "derivative" piece is not the same thing as a "parody," is it? 

 

At this point, I think there are two outstanding questions:  1) Is this work, in any sense a parody?   I don't see any justification for this claim.  And, 2) Is this work effective, not as a parody, but as a simulation of Mozart, in style or mood?    

 

The statement,"my use of the term parody is not meant as a put down and certainly not to laugh at your expense," makes some sense to me, even though it's not at all clear yet why the word "parody" is used.   However, there seems to be a danger of this thread straying from the topic of Marijin's symphonic work, in spite of protestations about "not going off on some" tangent.   Btw, is the posting of the Symphony in C "Pantonal" intended to illustrate something about Marijn Hartkamp's work?  If it is, that could be clarified.   (P.S., I had the piece on while typing this, and did enjoy hearing it again.  Thanks for reposting it, K.E.). 

 

We are asked by the thread originator to "suggest." My suggestion to Marijin is, continue to do as you are doing until you feel you want to strike out on your own, and develop a more personal style, in your own good time.  Frankly, I would like to see your "imitations" of Beethoven, if you have any to share, just out of curiosity.  I visited your web site(s) and enjoyed what I encountered there.  Thanks for sharing your work.

Parody, definitionally, does not necessarily connote a comedic intention. You were and are approaching the term as if this is the only interpretation. A musical parody can be executed with no comedic intention at all.



Serenity Laine said:

Thanks, Marijn for this work.  I would be interested if you could say whether you consider your work to be a "parody" or satire of Mozart, or a respectful imitation.  I think you intended the latter, but I could be wrong of course.  Prokofiev and Stravinsky had their own reasons for doing what they did, in the Classical Symphony and Pulcinella, which may or may not be worth discussing here.

 

Hi Dave, It's good to talk to you again.  You said, "Parody doesn't simply or only infer a comedic element, especially in music."  I hope it didn't come across that I was saying parody "simply implies" a comedic element.  I asked why anyone might think of Marijn Hartkamp 's symphony as a "parody."  The definition does speak of deliberate exaggeration for comic effect as part of the essence of parody.  Is that present in the work?  [I don't see the modulation discussed as having gone that far, really, and the composer wants to soften it.  I agree with Bob Porter about that, in any case.  It's fine as it is. ]

 

You said, Dave, the use of the term "parody" ...  "seems harsh but it's accurate."  I don't know if it's harsh, and I'm not sure whether it matters if people consider it to be so. You said, "it's accurate."  But why is it accurate?  I am genuinely interested in an answer to the question from anyone who believes it is.

 

 Dave:  "At the very least, this piece is (consciously) derivative."  It may very well be "derivative," but is that problematic, given that the composer says he is imitating a famous composer?  A great deal that is "derivative" persists in our popular culture, in pop classical culture and in musical culture generally. This can be true at times, even here on Composers' forum.  Is that, in and of itself, a valid objection to the symphonic work, in this context?  One might convincingly argue that this is a creative and successful imitation of Mozart.  That was my impression.  This is what the composer wanted to achieve, as a sort tribute, or as an enjoyable exercise.  An imitation, by its very nature must "derive" its elements from the original, of course.  But a "derivative" piece is not the same thing as a "parody," is it? 

 

At this point, I think there are two outstanding questions:  1) Is this work, in any sense a parody?   I don't see any justification for this claim.  And, 2) Is this work effective, not as a parody, but as a simulation of Mozart, in style or mood?    

 

The statement,"my use of the term parody is not meant as a put down and certainly not to laugh at your expense," makes some sense to me, even though it's not at all clear yet why the word "parody" is used.   However, there seems to be a danger of this thread straying from the topic of Marijin's symphonic work, in spite of protestations about "not going off on some" tangent.   Btw, is the posting of the Symphony in C "Pantonal" intended to illustrate something about Marijn Hartkamp's work?  If it is, that could be clarified.   (P.S., I had the piece on while typing this, and did enjoy hearing it again.  Thanks for reposting it, K.E.). 

 

We are asked by the thread originator to "suggest." My suggestion to Marijin is, continue to do as you are doing until you feel you want to strike out on your own, and develop a more personal style, in your own good time.  Frankly, I would like to see your "imitations" of Beethoven, if you have any to share, just out of curiosity.  I visited your web site(s) and enjoyed what I encountered there.  Thanks for sharing your work.

I wake up later than you, Ray :(

Hi all,

I just wanted to give you this update on the composition process. What do you think so far?

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It's a little too building-block for my taste - it sounds like you've more or less transcribed Mozart pieces section by section and then attached the bits together. But in itself, that's quite an achievement.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this recording: https://soundcloud.com/davedextermusic/concordance

My goal was to invoke that Classical period without it being so obviously a by-numbers of Mozart, and I think I succeeded but could be wrong!

Marijn Hartkamp said:

Hi all,

I just wanted to give you this update on the composition process. What do you think so far?

Finally got around to this again.

I liked your sudden modulation to the dominant of the dominant key... but IMO it's a bit too sudden for a piece that's trying to sound like Mozart.  I stick by my previous comment that you should not return to E-flat after m.17.

Currently, what you have is Eb (home key) -> Fm -> F (modulation) -> Bb -> (m.17) Bb7 -> Eb (return to home key) -> C7 (sudden leap) -> F -> Bb (2nd subject).

The return to the home key seems redundant, and counterproductive, because prior to m.17 you've already modulated to Bb, meaning that the music has already begun moving in the direction of the dominant key. Then in m.17 you quickly draw it back to the home key, as if it were only a diversion. Which is OK, musically speaking, but the problem is that right after that you have the sudden appearance of a C7 chord followed by a modulation to F, which makes it sound like you changed your mind about the preceding passage being a mere diversion, and decided that you wanted to move in the direction of Bb (the dominant key) after all, and in fact, you wanted to go there so badly you'd leap to the F, the dominant of the dominant, in order to cadence in Bb.   The resulting modulation actually sounds less smooth than your original version, which only wavers a little between Bb and Eb before landing in Bb with the 2nd subject.

Had you taken my advice and stayed in Bb starting from m.17 instead of returning to Eb, the appearance of a C7 chord would sound much less sudden, and your harmonic progression would be more consistent in its overall arc: i.e, starting from the home key of Eb you gradually move in the direction of the dominant key Bb, overshoot it a little to F (the dominant of the dominant), and then cadence clearly and firmly in Bb in the 2nd subject.

Now, sudden leaps in modulation like what you have here isn't wrong per se, as Beethoven and later composers do this quite a lot, but the problem is that the rest of your piece sounds very much Mozartian in character, sound, and orchestration, so to have the sudden appearance of a Beethovenian leap in harmony (only to be followed by more Mozart) sounds a little incongruous.  It's possible to write a piece that has both characteristics, but it requires more finessé to pull off in a convincing way, and it doesn't seem like that was your intention here in the first place.

As for the rest of the piece, I like where it's going... nice modulation to minor key in anticipation of further developments. Would love to hear where it all leads.  But it's unfortunately a bit spoiled by the awkward transition between the 1st and 2nd subjects as I described above.

Hi,

Now following your advice. How does this sound? Pretty good to me! Thanks.


H. S. Teoh said:

Finally got around to this again.

I liked your sudden modulation to the dominant of the dominant key... but IMO it's a bit too sudden for a piece that's trying to sound like Mozart.  I stick by my previous comment that you should not return to E-flat after m.17.

Currently, what you have is Eb (home key) -> Fm -> F (modulation) -> Bb -> (m.17) Bb7 -> Eb (return to home key) -> C7 (sudden leap) -> F -> Bb (2nd subject).

The return to the home key seems redundant, and counterproductive, because prior to m.17 you've already modulated to Bb, meaning that the music has already begun moving in the direction of the dominant key. Then in m.17 you quickly draw it back to the home key, as if it were only a diversion. Which is OK, musically speaking, but the problem is that right after that you have the sudden appearance of a C7 chord followed by a modulation to F, which makes it sound like you changed your mind about the preceding passage being a mere diversion, and decided that you wanted to move in the direction of Bb (the dominant key) after all, and in fact, you wanted to go there so badly you'd leap to the F, the dominant of the dominant, in order to cadence in Bb.   The resulting modulation actually sounds less smooth than your original version, which only wavers a little between Bb and Eb before landing in Bb with the 2nd subject.

Had you taken my advice and stayed in Bb starting from m.17 instead of returning to Eb, the appearance of a C7 chord would sound much less sudden, and your harmonic progression would be more consistent in its overall arc: i.e, starting from the home key of Eb you gradually move in the direction of the dominant key Bb, overshoot it a little to F (the dominant of the dominant), and then cadence clearly and firmly in Bb in the 2nd subject.

Now, sudden leaps in modulation like what you have here isn't wrong per se, as Beethoven and later composers do this quite a lot, but the problem is that the rest of your piece sounds very much Mozartian in character, sound, and orchestration, so to have the sudden appearance of a Beethovenian leap in harmony (only to be followed by more Mozart) sounds a little incongruous.  It's possible to write a piece that has both characteristics, but it requires more finessé to pull off in a convincing way, and it doesn't seem like that was your intention here in the first place.

As for the rest of the piece, I like where it's going... nice modulation to minor key in anticipation of further developments. Would love to hear where it all leads.  But it's unfortunately a bit spoiled by the awkward transition between the 1st and 2nd subjects as I described above.

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