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Hello,

I have been collaborating with a friend on another forum on a project centered on galant pedagogy. We came up with a simple structure that follows well known schema (illustrated below) and tasked ourselves to create a theme with variations. I have composed 4 variations. 

The form is a minuet, with a standard 8 bar A section, with an expanded B section that accommodates the main theme before closing in the home key.

The schematic structure is as follows:

A

Meyer (Theme)

Modulating Prinner

B

x2 Monte (IV-V)

Meyer (Theme)

Prinner

The purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate the flexibility of such schemas, and the opportunities that are presented by planning with a skeleton, such as the above. I have annotated the theme with the voice leading emphasized for each schema for clarity. 

If anyone is interested in Galant Pedagogy and would like to learn more, please PM me.

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Nice work but could could you render this also with piano? I personally do not like listening to harpsichord for a longer time

I can do tomorrow for you :)

Hi Markus,

I liked the 8 + 12 bars configuration.

Also the harmonic skeleton is pleasant.

Maybe it would be better if it is played a bit slower.

Of course some local tempo envelope alterations would be nice.  Otherwise it sounds a bit mechanical.

The 8 + 12 bar structure is fixed.  It is OK for a short piece but it would provide more opportunities if it were more flexible.

I tried to find the meaning of meyer and prinner with no success.  Google translate did not work for Irish either.

Using schemas and skeletons can be troublesome sometimes, causing rigidity.  The more you design the more your creativity is limited.  On the other hand if you do not know where you are going you may get lost and arrive at nowhere.

Schemas provide a general direction which can be used to prime[1] (condition) the subconscious to motivate inspiration.

I am interested to find out what Galant Pedagogy is, if you can post here some stuff.

Cheers

Ali

[1]Executive control over unconscious cognition: attentional sensitization of unconscious information processing

Markus Kiefer*

Dear Ali,

The Schemata above were termed by the academic Robert Gjerdigen. This page illustrates the Meyer, along with other prominent schema: http://openmusictheory.com/schemataSummary.html

It is true that use of this stuff can produce a sense of rigidity. How rigid depends on the skill of the composer. The purpose of this exercise was in fact to introduce patterns to these to an amateur who produced a theme and variations alongside mine. It was designed to be simple, hence the fixed minuet form. I would consider my skill level to be intermediate. I can produce works not unlike early Mozart, or probably more akin to that of Johann Christian Bach. However without formal training and regular practice, it generally takes a while to complete a significant work. Professionals back then, in the other hand, produced remarkable works in mere days. I also tend to compose by trial and error, whilst professionals back then largely learned by rote. Having a wealth of resolutions to call upon form your muscle memory really would help XD. 

If you listen to the work of Mozart, from his early days to heightened maturity (his complete symphonies are a good listening exercises) you hear reoccurring patterns that are used as the basis for voice leading. Those patterns are still very much present in his later Music, acting as an effective foundation for his craft; however he increasingly transformed schema in ways not usually observed, if ever before. This was a testament of his skill. 

In summary, I think it is a mistake to see use of these patterns as restrictive. Those  who often listen to a broad repertoire of  18th century music (that is, Generally across the Western European continent during that century) will appreciate the infinite possibilities. How well composers manipulate these possibilities depends much on their training and, sadly, the schools that drove forward the practices of an 18th century composer have long ceased to exist. Instead, we are left with the remnants of exercises produced by respected masters, written for their students and mostly without explanation that only enables a small glimpse into that world (although a very important one). What we are blessed with is endless listening thanks to fantastic recording artists and the public domain. 

Hi Markus, 

Thank you for the Gallant schemata.  It clarified the schemata idea very well.

Your post has inspired me to create my own atonal schematas and create a Minuet.

Very interesting.

Thanks a lot.

I loved this. Hearing the way in which you arrived at it was interesting 

I think all composers probably have at least some vague idea where they intend to go . You take it a step further in defining more exact parameters in the beginning. This was probably very educational and dare I say fun for you two. 

Even though it has a rigid feel I also believe it comes across as playful and exciting.

I am guessing a fair amount of work went into something that was about 5 minutes in length. Kudos!

This probably took about 4-5 hours in total. It would take a lot longer if I was using more than two voices. However if I were to add a third voice now it would not take long at all, as the two other parts are already defined within the skeleton. This is why it can be very useful. Mozart was known to have composed the upper voice & bass of a piece before attempting the inner parts, which makes an awful lot of sense I think. 

Timothy Smith said:

I loved this. Hearing the way in which you arrived at it was interesting 

I think all composers probably have at least some vague idea where they intend to go . You take it a step further in defining more exact parameters in the beginning. This was probably very educational and dare I say fun for you two. 

Even though it has a rigid feel I also believe it comes across as playful and exciting.

I am guessing a fair amount of work went into something that was about 5 minutes in length. Kudos!

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