Music Composers Unite!
Hello everyone, This is my first post on this site.
I would be glad to obtain some feedback on this short piece of piano music, which I wrote
about 2 years ago. I was very much inspired by the 200-th birthday of Chopin, and I dedicated this piece to him. I have included the pdf of the score.
In case anyone of you find it interesting, and perhaps would like to play it, I have the following remarks:
The piece is not for beginners, it requires quite a skilled pianist, but it should not present any problems for a professional. It is less demanding than many of the Chopin etudes.
However there is some “heavy” work for the LH from bar 39 to 72. (Could be interesting as an exercise ?)
There may still be some spelling (and other) errors in the score, although I have tried to eliminate them as much as possible. I would appreciate feedback on this issue.
(I just found one error in bar 93: the “b” in the third chord in the top staff should be deleted. This note is already present in the lower staff).
Note that the pedaling marks are not very exact (I had some problems with the notation software). But pedaling is usually a rather intuitive action, and the skilled pianist will have no difficulties with this (sometimes half-pedaling is best). Important is that the rhythm is uncompromised. (For example: make pedal breaks for the two rests in bar 3, and in an equivalent way further on in the piece. You can hear this also in the uploaded mp3).
In several cases you will find that some notes in the lower staff move into chords in the upper staff, while, at the same time, these chords are supposed to be sustained. In principle, one could argue that this is not playable. But you should be able to handle this with clever pedaling. Very important is of course to maintain the leading voice. When pedaling is undesirable, you could release the relevant finger for a short moment to play the note from the lower stave. For example: In the second beat of bar 48, release the lowest note ( the “a”) in the chord of the top staff, to play the two 1/16 “a” notes in the lower staff .
I could rewrite such passages, but I am afraid that it would only clutter the score. I would be grateful for your viewpoints and suggestions.
I like it. For some reason though it sounded monotonous, maybe it's the slow tempo? maybe the computer playing and not a human? propably.
As far as difficulty goes,given the slow tempo, the measures 39-72 seem pretty normal to me. I would compare the difficulty to the chopin etude no 6 (first volume)-which is rather easy if you think of the difficulty level of all the rest ones. those big intervals need some practice, but still, the tempo makes things easier.
As far as notation goes, I say remove the pedal marks, just put them on the first few measures and note that the rest should be like that.
The principle voice problem you mention is easy to solve-dont do anything. only change the stem direction of each voice to clearly mark the melody, and the player will think and do all the rest. Have a look at the first page of faschingsswank aus wien-schumann does the same and notes it the same way you do.
Listening this from a real player would be interesting. maybe in a month or so, when I will have some free time I'll have a look at it on the piano.
I think it is a very nice work, most pleasant listening. Perhaps consider a judicious use of a little more dynamic expression (especially in the first half) might lessen any resemblance to tedium.
I agree with Spiros: get rid of the pedal marks which do clutter the score. After the first few exemplary bars, a pedale simile should be sufficient.
But again, a wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing.
Great piece! I love the harmonies. Sounds very Chopin'ish, but with a few, dare I say, jazzier chords. I agree with Spiros on the lack of human feel being played by the computer. Chopin was a master of rubato. Definitely keep it up.
Lovely harmonic progressions and modulations, you obviously know your romantic piano music! I like the cunning E minor coda as well. I wonder if the first section would be better presented in 6/8 or some other compund meter. On the score it looks as if the theme should be in 3/4 with quaver syncopations, but it sounds (to me at least) in a slow 6/8. Minor point though really, this is skillfully done.
Will is right about the time signature-I hadn't noticed before.
Although here is an interesting twist/fun thing to do. Play/practice the piece putting the tone on every 4 16ths not every 6. I think that would sound more funky. and speed the whole thing just a little bit, make things more show-off-ish :P
Thank you very much for your replies and the very useful advice you gave me.
Also, I was really flattered by your nice compliments. To discuss the four comments, which have been given by now, I start with the first one from Spiros.
Indeed, you have a good point about the monotonous sound. I do not believe that it is the slow tempo. I have tested an increase in tempo, but this does not seem good to me. The overall character of the piece is disrupted. The computer playing is of course a kind of a disaster. Basically, it is possible to tweak all the velocity values of all the individual notes, ( via midi keyboard or Cubase or so) but this is very time consuming, and I ´d rather use my time to more creative work. Another big problem with the computer “performance” is the limited dynamic range. As Charles pointed out, more dynamic expression is desirable, and I could not agree more! If you start playing and analyze what the voices are speaking about, you will find many many more shades and the dynamics will fall into place.
As far as playability is concerned, you are of course right, Spiros, that most of the Chopin etudes are far more difficult to play.
The remark about the pedal marks is well taken. I have removed them, and left only a few, which I thought may be essential.
I did not change the stem direction of the melody voice in the first and last part ( bar 1-38 and bar 74-107). Maybe I should do this, but I think it is a bit arbitrary. There are so many examples (from the great masters), where this is not done, while there is a clear melody voice in chords. But from bar 39-73, it becomes essential. This section should be played at mezzo voce ( unfortunately not at all good in the computer playback)
Spiros, If you feel like playing/practicing this piece, I would be extremely interested to hear your interpretation. Maybe you can upload it at some stage, or we may get in contact in some other way. Thanks again for your interest!
Thanks also Jon, for your comments. Indeed, the computer has no soul. I would like to comment on the “ jazzy chords” ,particularly in measure 12 ( and a repeat in measure 92). The background to this is that I initially had a straight E-flat minor ( and the corresponding harmony in the lower staff) for the second chord in this measure, But I considered this transition towards the resolving Fiss-major a bit too dull. Try it out and compare!
As far as rubato is concerned, I would be careful with this. It may not go well together with the many modulations.
Will, you comment about the 6/8 is spot- on correct! Actually, I started off with a 3/4 meter and then, did not think about it anymore. But note that in the middle part (from measure 39 to 76) , the syncopation corresponds to 3/4.
Spiros, I do not think that putting the tone on every 4/16ths is a good idea. It would change the coherence of the piece entirely, progressions of chords and modulations will start to “float” , the mood of the piece would be changed, the change in syncopy of the middle part (39-76) will be lost etc. But, just test it and see!
Again, many thanks to all of you who responded. This was a great help for me.
I replace hereby the old score with a revised version. Any further comments are most welcome!