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I am busy writing a piano trio and I wanted to post the first two movements. Please keep in mind the score is still in "playing condition" meaning that I have to write things a certain way to get them to sound right in Sibelius. A big one is the tremolos, which I just write tremolo over, instead of marking the notes as tremolos. This will be corrected in the final copy. Let me know what you think. Piano Trio No. 1 by Jon Brantingham
Very nice work. I really like the melody of the second movement and the harmonies used.
I'm not a string player, so I don't know if this is even an issue, but can a transition from arco to pizz and back be made that quickly?
You stated that you still needed to work on the score, but in the second mvmnt, going from 6/8 to 4/4 and back, an indication of the constant will be needed. (i.e. 1/8=1/8)
You did a good job of not allowing the piano to become an accompianist, but a third voice in the trio.
I'm looking forward to hearing the remaining movements.
Hi. Liked the intro. Lots of harmonic drama, but then felt a bit disappointed by the more conventionally diatonic faster section that followed, probably I suppose since it was not what I was expecting.
This line us is usually called piano trio. String trio = violin, viola, cello.
Thanks for pointing out the string/piano trio naming. I started with Piano, which was the title of the first one, and then, probably just by some brain fart, started calling it a string trio in my mind, without noticing.
As far as the more traditional diatonic stuff, I must admit, I enjoy traditional tonality, as well as early twentieth century stuff like Ravel, but most of the time, I don't like to stray much further than that.
I am not a string player either. I try to keep things seemingly playable, but there may be some transitions in there that are unplayable. I think as long as they are doing an up stroke, or are near the heel of the bow, they can make very fast transitions.
Nice work! Really liked the intro, and maybe you could have gone to some other key than D minor in the resolution after the intro? Just saying. It did come out sounding nice though.
Also, I just want to say that I don't think composers should write so stuff sounds a certain way in Sibelius, at least if they are thinking of getting it performed.
Pretty good Jon! Odd how both of us posted piano trios within a day or two of one another, both utilizing both tonal and atonal elements. My critiques: the opening of the first movement lacks excitement somehow, up to the point where the strings join in. Maybe the texture is a bit too simple for my taste there. I do share the reservation about the second theme area, the more lyrical part, it doesn't seem to fit somehow...funny coming from me, I tend to write that way also, juxtaposing basically unrelated elements, I'm not sure how well it works in my own music though. In the second movement, the violin shoots up to a high note around 2:30 in I think (don't remember exactly the time) that sounds sort of comical to me, which is fine if that is what you want. Then towards the end there is a spot that sort of seems to end just because, sorry I can't be more specific about that. Maybe a bit too much unison writing between violin and cello for my liking and a bit too much solo piano spots that aren't dazzling enough to be solo parts.
One other area you may want to consider: how does this piece make a name for itself? Inherent in the title is the idea that this is a piano trio with movements, which is fine, but seems like sort of a dull concept. I struggle with this from time to time, thinking about why people would want to play a piece a music, what it's "meaning" is so to speak. Anyways, the reason I go into so much detail is because I basically like what you are doing. Overall, nice sense of proportion and flow, clear harmonic language and part writing.
Thanks everyone for the great comments.
@Lara I think you missed the point of what I was saying. I am not writing so it sounds a certain way in Sibelius, I am trying to make Sibelius accurately reflect what I am composing. That just requires a little bit of finessing in the program. The way I approach it is to normally create a "play" score, which is what I would generally get the recording from, and then a "print" score, which is the way is should be correctly written down. But, as a general statement, I agree with you.
@Tombo I have this feeling, and I think you have it too, that there doesn't need to be a chasm between tonality and atonality, and that they are all part of the same notes. I try and write my music so that it can be grasped relatively easily, and enjoyed. That may sound like pandering to some, and I am sure people will tell me that if I try to appeal to everyone, I'll appeal to no one. But that is the way I want to write. I think it comes more from playing and listening to jazz growing up.
None the less, the difficulty is in pulling it off without it seeming forced.
I recommend reading the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It has sort of changed the way I approach writing music. Not so much the style, but the mindset. Knowing how a piece will make a name for itself doesn't seem as important as composing it and moving on. My ultimate goal is really to practice my composing, instead of worrying about writing a masterpiece. That (hopefully) will come with enough hours put in, and besides, I don't make that call. All I can really do is try and compose to the best of my ability. (I hope this doesn't come off pretentious. I am not trying to make myself out to be a professional, or more professional than anyone else here. The book has just been eye opening for me).
That being said, I appreciate yours and everyone else's comments and will re-look a lot of the things pointed out here.
I'll check out that book Jon, thanks for suggesting it. I spoke a bit clumsily, I didn't mean to suggest that you have to write a masterpiece, I just think that part of being a successful composition is grabbing people's attention and holding it, sticking out, having a narrative or sense of being taken on a journey of an original, interesting nature (not saying your piece isn't original and interesting, but it could perhaps be more so) other than "here's a piece written in a sort of sonata form for music for piano, violin, and cello" If all you want is to practice your composing, then that's a fine goal, sort of a workshop piece. I just think that if you want people to buy it and perform it, it needs something snazzy, needs to be paired with some sort of an intriguing concept. That may be called pandering as well, but I see it more as having a completed vision of the music, a theme other than "here's some music". I also don't mean to come of as lecturing from some higher ground here, it's just a notion I have. You posted a string quartet a while back that had a grand theme of some sort as I recall. That's what I'm on about. I'll get off now :)
Ah, ok. I see what you are saying now. Thank you for clarifying.