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Here is a short song I wrote for voice (preferably mezzo-soprano) and piano, based on the text of a comic by B. Kliban:

I would greatly appreciate any insight you all might contribute, either regarding the piece's content or engraving.

Sorry no audio track, but MIDI is no adequate preview media for a vocal piece, IMO.

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Thanks for the comments! I was truly less concerned with the piece itself and more concerned with possible engraving problems. Some responses:

1. Regarding time signatures: Somewhere (I forgot where) I noticed that modern composers sometime omit time signatures when they change frequently. I suppose it helps legibility. Furthermore, I believe that, in a piece like this, bar lines are more useful as indicators of phrasing than of rhythmic structure. In other words, I think that with such erratic meter changes, it is less preferable for the performer to count out a bar than to conceive phrases as rhythmic fragments. This is why I beamed notes in the vocals-- to cue the performer for sudden changes in pulse. I will, however, take your suggestion to follow the convention of removing beams in the vocals.
3. In measure 8, if I place the lowest notes in the bass clef, I assume beaming across the clefs is the best way to go?
4. Accidentals: I absolutely agree. In fact, in my rough draft, every single note had a cautionary accidental. Perhaps I should return to that convention? The only question is, if notes are tied over a bar line, should I put cautionaries on each end of the tie?
5. Quarter note rest in 4: There are two voices there. It's a 2/4 measure.

One follow-up question: Is it standard practice to designate "for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano" in the title page?

Thanks again for the positive comments. Although it's very short, if anyone wants to group it with a set of other small pieces in a performance I'd love to hear it.

Eirik B. Narjord said:
A very nice little tune! I like it. Short, humouristic, mildly absurd, and very fitting the text.
A few things about the notation:
1. Why have you written no time signatures? It changes quite a lot in throughout, and it would make it easier for the performers to stay in time if you prepared them for the changes.
2. For vocals, notes corresponding to syllables should not be beamed. Only melismatic passages should be beamed. Additionally, the way it is written now, it can be confusing which are triads and which are three eights in one beam. This would also be clearer if you added the time signatures.
3. In measure 8, perhaps the F, the Ab and the C should be in the bass clef?
4. I think you should consider adding more accidentals. When it comes to keyless music, even though this particular piece is not particularly "atonal", one can hardly ever use enough safety-accidentals.
5. Why the quarter note rest in the bass clef in measure 4? There's no need for two voices there.

With just a quick glance, professional pianists and singers can tell if the score is well written, not necessarily considering the musical content. The better the handicraft, the easier it is to get musicians to perform the music.

These are just minor corrections, except perhaps the omission of time signatures. As I said, I like the piece, and it would be fun to hear it with a good mezzo-soprano.


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