Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Okay... my personal quest for the holy grail is to make the sonata. I finally have a subject A that I like a little. It has a big sound I like. Well, "sorta" big (minor key).. switching to "the major" scale to make subject B went well enough. It seems to contrast well enough. Prettier instead of bigger. Seems vastly different in every way, big contrast.

 

I'm still getting used to modulation, but, it seems to bear immediate fruit. I seem to hear "ripples" thru the music that make it more interesting. Noticeable in the bigger A subject, but, much more noticeable in the B quieter and prettier subject. The modulation seemed to bear most fruit in my perfect authentic cadence to bring the exposition to a close... the little "ripples" seemed to wind down, it sounds like it "slows" down like a music box running out of steam, but, its not... my notes are the same length, LMAO. It seems to "fall out" into a single long, drone note... appropriately, a deep root key.

 

My "transition" from A to B was troubling too... not playing guitar or piano for a decade or two, I'm not used to smoothly switching keys without someone noticing its like 2 different movie scenes "cut" with no fade to black, LMAO. This is the novice transition, i suppose... about as "deft" and "subtle" as a hand grenade, LMAO...

 

Now, the development. *sigh* I know what I WANT... i can almost hear it in my head... and I sort of understand reading it on paper... You hear Beethoven do it, geez... melodies in various keys are flying around. Starts simple enough... starts moving and whirling... next thing you know, theres big themes coming around, they are familiar, but different... little snips and arpegg's are in that mess too... and its a real brawl. The big themes somehow "fight"... the little snippets are doing it too.

 

God... theres this ONE part I always loved in I think a beethoven piece... this big brawl is going on, like the 80's METS and an opponent having a pitchers mound bench-clearing brawl... and this little tiny "bada-beep! bada beep!" comes up and "harrasses" the low brass section... then all of a sudden "BLAAAAAAAT!", super low and powerful... and it dispels the annoying tiny flute figure or whatever you call a tiny flute thingy. It "tweets!" annoyed and flies back into the brawl...amidst all the MESS of a big powerful battle... theres this little "fairy" flying around trying to BOP! big trolls on the head with her little wand...

 

then you HEAR it in there, after that... its "helping" the team out brawling the other team... like, the place kicker running around taking cheap shots on the big linemen having the main brawl....

 

 

Textbook... eh, "anything goes". When the wikipedia says "contrasting themes and keys are juxtaposed, themes are broken down... but really, this is a famous point of contention exactly WHAT it should contain."

 

Oh wonderful... it can be short, it can be long. (it just cant be skipped...lol)

 

I am listing ideas, i think of the "stuff" i have learned to try to keep things interesting as my "bag of tricks"... lets get them out and list them... i dont know WHAT will be valuable...

 

1) Subject A... its theme modulated thru 1-5-1-4 over 4 measures...

2) subject B, its theme 3 measures long, but... really its a 1-5-1-4 too... (3/4 on 4/4 measures, lol)

3) I've got 4 sub-themes in A, the 4 measures...

4) I've got at least 2 sub-themes in B...

5) I'be got at least 2 or 3 "thin lines" that make the "orch hits" in the A subject presentation... ones a quick little "connector": to do the 4-5 between line repeats... the other the "hits" that make it sound big...

6) #5 exists in 2 or 3 chords (1,4,5)

7) subject B has a thin piano line thru it, and a simple arpeg's line of violins...

8) subject B has a simple choir line in it.... in 1,4, and 5...

9) there that "deft and subtle as a hand grenade" newbie transition too... with big drums to mask it...

 

Hm... normally, I have to resort to motivitic tricks to keep things "interesting" during A and B... but, that friendly modulation kept things interesting enough, i didnt HAVE to resort to that, to "get" a couple minutes total out of A and B... that makes for what the marines call a good machine gunner in a critical location... "a force multiplier"... heh heh...

 

each and every one of these components has a melodic inversion, a retrograde, and a melodic inversion retrograde... that triples the amount of material on the table... I ALSO didnt have to resort to double speeding lines up... those might come in handy for flute runs and such when its all going on...

 

when my 1415 got stated in I... thats one thing... when it was re-stated in IV chord change... the 1 in 1415 went naturally to the new root, Iv... BUT, i see now the 4 and the 5 went up too... I CUOLD state it in V, but... it got "strained" and "thin" sounding... discarded it...

 

Oh boy, the mystery of "where do all those keys come from" is working itself out just from the simple modulation... I have Subject A's... Cm, and subject B's A-major...

 

each has its 1,4 and 5... naturally. thats just "expected keys".... but, some of those 1415 modulations, when stated in the 4 and the 5... accidentally landed on keys not already in use... okay, I have to make a list of where the 1415 measures "landed" in 1 and 4 sand 5 statements...

 

and the occasional statement in V of the subject A... will make those "strained" reiterations that pop up in big developments...

 

oh GOD... double everything again... i forgot A can be voiced thru B's keys... and vice versa!!!

 

Hmmmm.... i think i finally have enough "options" to actually sort thru it all, and pick out the "winners" and discard the losers, by my ears judge... This could end up a really cool, swirling thing... or, it could quickly turn into a muddy mess of conflicting keys and reworked snippets... this is going to take quite some time, just to LIST it all in my sequencer, then to pick stuff out, and figure out some reasonably coherent strategy for the multiple key changes, and which motivitic tricks to apply when...

 

This thing isnt even NAMED yet, for chrissakes... but I need to impose some human artistic battle plan onto it all, to guide me artificially... Hmmm....

 

The piece is in Cm... (my favorite key). Normally, minor is feminine and softer, and the major is more masculine, but here... the subject A in minor is the bigger harder subject... the subject B, in ironically major... is much softer, defter, and feminine in sound... perhaps I can generate something cool when the subjects and their accompaniments switch sides (keys)...

 

okay... my head hurts thinking about the many possibilities... but, this is cool! I've never HAD so many options, kept in reserve before... wow, this is impressive to me. NOW I see what that fanmous composer meant when he said "you simply take every possible thing, list it all out, and remove what doesnt work well".

 

Hmmm... i can see I need a coding system... its going to be hard to codify and track one measure sub themes, and inversions and retrogrades of everything, thru all the various key possibilities... let alone come up with some sort of "swirling plan" of some kind... fortunately, in a past life I was a software engineer... this is just an inventory coding system...

 

the devil is in the details, I see...

 

sA4m2R(145)x2 ... that would be... subject A, in chord position IV, measure 2, in retrograde...(145) means to run that figure 3 times thru, in each of the chords... actually 1 and a half measures long, because that x2 indicates quarter nots turned into eigth notes to speed it up...

 

this is DO-able... its just going to take a lot of drudge work, LMAO...

 

... or, it can quickly turn into a real muddy mess, hee hee. (smart money might be on muddy mess, my first time in the ring, eh? LMAO...)

Views: 388

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I need to "kick back" and have a couple coffee's... and listen to Good ol Ludwig Vans famous 5th... see if I can "hear" any of this going on at all... it just sounds like a "maelstrom" when he gets going though... maybe i can "focus in" on one part, and catch how its cycling around... there HAS to be a system to it all, just like a computer program... *shrugs* maybe not though...
I view sonata form like so:

The themes are like different characters in a play. A love story between the first and second theme. The first theme is more manly, the second feminine. They have an adventure in the development, some sort of conflict between the two, then in the recap they have both been changed by the adventure, but the feminine character has the greater change, coming back in the man's key. He has conquered the female, suggesting the gender roles of the time sonata form was created.

It's all a bit silly yes. I do like to think of Sonata form as being a tonal drama though, having narrative tension and excitement when it is done well. Try thinking about it in those terms, like you did with the fairy thing. The themes do not neccesarily need to go masculine--feminine, but they should have different character, or be different characters, and it need not be strictly tonal, they can interact in other ways.
One time, when I was in band camp, I modulated from A all the way to Z in half a beat. Everybody who heard it died instantly.


Tombo Rombo said:
One time, when I was in band camp, I modulated from A all the way to Z in half a beat. Everybody who heard it died instantly.

Tombo... now that there, thats funny. *sigh* Tombo... I used to work as a delivery driver for 16+1/2 years straight... after several years, I got to be the manager... I didnt wanna be in charge of anything, the owner MADE me. Really, I thought I could accomplish SOMEthing, but, I'd estimate 90% of my time was spent with employee squabbles that resembled this. Really, its human nature, and squabbling is normal now and again. I started a "program" at work, whereby every Friday nite late, when things slowed down... was UFC night, as i named it. No punching, no kicking, no eye gouging... all chokes and holds are legal. Everybody looked forward to "the friday night match", whoever got paired up... and the squabbles got less and less, as we had a non-lethal way of working our frustrations out. (I ran about 50/50, wins vs losses, overall... weight didnt really seem to matter... this system went on for years there, lol.)

Hm... I'm not taking sides, Tombo. For the one thing, they both seem to enjoy this. I dunno, it must help the creative process somehow? lol... for another thing, I have "spot listened" to a piece or three by each... and BOTH of them are, I should think, "better" than me... That makes me feel I am not qualified to pick a "winner".

Still... it WOULD be fun Tombo... to pick a thread, have them each "enter" a piece... and anyone who pops in votes...? It would be an amusing diversion, in MY opinion anyhow... a sonata battle betwixt the two of them... no arguing allowed, those 2 post pieces, everyone ELSE votes and does the commentary.

At least Simon is polite on the surface, you get points for politeness in my book. You used to teach Tombo? You get any teaching done, or was it all managing squabbles like... this, eh Tombo? (its amusing though...)


Sean E Duvall said:


Still... it WOULD be fun Tombo... to pick a thread, have them each "enter" a piece... and anyone who pops in votes...? It would be an amusing diversion, in MY opinion anyhow... a sonata battle betwixt the two of them... no arguing allowed, those 2 post pieces, everyone ELSE votes and does the commentary.

At least Simon is polite on the surface, you get points for politeness in my book. You used to teach Tombo? You get any teaching done, or was it all managing squabbles like... this, eh Tombo? (its amusing though...)

Funny, I was just thinking how it would be cool if we had anonymous competitions here, sort of like the Diabelli Variations, where a theme is posted and the contestants write a set of variations. It would have to be something small like that I think (although you could write 33 variations like Beethoven did), as many people here actually have commissions and other things that they would rather work on. A Sonata form competition would probably be way too time consuming, and as there wouldn't be any compensation other than bragging rights, not worth the time. Maybe a modulation competition where each contestant has to move somewhere ridicuolous, say from C minor to E major, in a specified number of bars and make it convincing.

Never had to deal with quibbles amongst students when I was a TA, ,college students are pretty well behaved, as are most people in actual face to face interactions.
quote:" as are most people in actual face to face interactions."

Tombo... from teh above quote, i can tell you ain't from around where I live, lol...

perhaps your from a civilized area? if so... when you visited here? You'd likely say "Aha... the natives emerge to greet me."

hee hee.
around this area I live (wiIth a few notable exceptions...) there are days i could shave a chimp and likely get better results, LMAO
i feel like i'm missing half of the posts here. i can't see "simon goddens" posts.
simon and another member had a back and forth thing temporarily, and he rescinded some of his posts...
Sorry about than. There was a person who made it rather difficult for me to make any contriburion. I'll reload my part of the discussion later on tonight.

Max Frecka said:
i feel like i'm missing half of the posts here. i can't see "simon goddens" posts.

I'm reviving this old thread because I'm having an interesting discussion on sonata-allegro form on Soundcloud.  My soundcloud friend presents K. 487 as an ideal example of sonata-allegro form.  K.487 is 32 bars long.

  The discussion is here  ....    http://soundcloud.com/groups/contemporary-classical-composers/discu...

Here are my compositions in response to our discussion...

http://soundcloud.com/james-cameron-mcfadden/sets/the-little-sonata...

It's challenging and fun to write sonata-allegro in less than 2 minutes!  

There are many interesting ways to modulate... just stick in a V/V, or a V/IV.  Another way would be to use a diminished 7 chord and then respell that, or use an augmented 6 chord, and respell that as the dominant of II.  

As for how I would go about doing this, I wouldn't necessarily think about all of this while doing it, instead I would just do what sounded best for me, or try to do that.  

Anyway, development isn't just about modulation.  I was taught 'thematic modulation' at university in two methods.  (1)  Building and Breaking and (2) Bending and Stretching.  The first one involved adding and subtracting notes to the original theme, and the second one involved changing the note values and intervals.  If you listen to Beethoven's first movements (usually in sonata form), you'll hear that is exactly what he does, and combined with all the rapid modulations and conjuring elements of counterpoint out of the two themes (although 'two' is not necessarily uniform), the development section will be very exciting.(the first movement to Beethoven's 9th being a case in point).

'Spirit of the Stour' (on my profile page) is written in strict sonata form (or attempted to at least...lol).  Try and pick out the two themes in the development and discover how they have been treated.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

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

Store

© 2020   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service