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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!


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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.


Did you upload the right file?  'cos it sounds the same as the previous version to me.

Without even listening, one can tell the two files are different.  One is 4.5 MB.  The earlier file is 4.6 MB. He has obviously not uploaded the same file as he did before.  If the two files sound the same, we might want to ask, "how do they sound the same?"  In what ways are they the same? 

Actually, Dave Dexter's Concordance adds a new dimension to this discussion.  That's excellent work, in a very similar vein.  It might pay to ask, about both pieces (one orchestral, one a chamber work) which phase of Mozart's or Haydn's work are we talking about, in terms of what's being imitated or composed "in the classical style?"  Are we talking about early, middle or mature "Mozart" (or "Haydn,") for either the symphony or the chamber piece?

Dave Dexter said:


I'd be interested in your thoughts on this recording:


Dag Marijn,

I think you're this Marijn Hartkamp?

In that case you're doing fine. I hope and expect you'll be studying music composition in the near future. It might be a good idea to put together a portfolio. You don't have to finish this symphony, but put the best part in your portfolio.

You're talented, but I guess you already knew that :-)

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