Feather (A piece written in a day)

So my professor has asked all of the composition students at my university to enter into a competition for solo piano. The rules of the competition are as followed: Instrumentation: solo (unamplified) piano. Playing inside the piano to be avoided. Duration: Maximum two notated pages, maximum 4 minutes in length. Composition time: The composer must include a declaration stating that the submitted piece was written within a single day. Typesetting time may be additional to this single day. The theme of the competition is momentary pleasure. I wrote my piece on Sunday September 20th and finished and in the same day. Please tell me what you think of my momentary pleasure.

Finale 2008 - [Feather.pdf


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  • Nice Piece Tyler. I can't comment too much on the music as it's all well done and creates a nicely impressionistic picture of the feather. I like the unity in the piece too which isn't easy to do.

    I'm sure that your skills and knowledge are above mine in many areas, but I might have a few little suggestions.

    I note that all your directions are concerned with tempo such as andante. I would have thought that a few words about the approach to playing/ articulation would have helped at times. I'm thinking in particular of leggiero which would have been very appropriate in a few places. Not least on line 2. Forgive me if I'm wrong but Largo does have "heavy" connotations as well as a term for very slow. I might have written A piecere on that line plus a poco a poco accel.

    At the end of line 1 I notice that the recording rolls the last chord very slowly. There may be another way of notating this if that is what you mean - like grace notes with a slur under leading to the chord to indicate a longer roll and making the bar itself longer on the page.

    And bar 11 - is quite accented from the recording, not just andante, so maybe some accent marks as it's quite a contast at this point from what's come before, and for that matter maybe some accent marks on the last page too and other articulation marks.

    Nice that you end of the dominant chord in Gm. Although it has to be said that possibly the chord of GmMaj9 is perhaps a tiny bit overused in some film scores, but that's a matter of taste when all said and done.

    Hope you do well in the competition.
  • The piece on the whole is really good, considering it was thrown together in such a short period of time. I don't have any programs at the moment to view to score so I can't give you any specifics... But the beginning scales you play seem repetitive and out of place compared to the rest of it. I would suggest experimenting with different modulations on that same key until the flow works better with the transition from your introduction to the rest of the piece. Otherwise to myself it stands noteworthy a well written score as you've done an excellent job capturing the poignancy of theme at hand.
  • Thank Y'all both for your comments
  • I was listening to all you music earlier in the day, and I found it quite dark. This is not a criticism, as I tend to write dark music and dark stories myself. I am not sure I can make an intelligent analysis of your music as I have no formal training and would likely embarrass myself if I tried. All I have is my gut instinct.

    As I learn more, I hope to be able to offer something useful.
  • Hi Tyler,

    I like this piece a lot. The opening flourishes are a very nice way of introducing your tonal vocabulary. Just for kicks I also tried listening beginning with the descending line that immediately follows those flourishes and found that I was much more immediately hearing your feather. Either way, I think you have very cool little piece in your pocket!

  • I liked the polyrhytmic approach in about a middle of the tune. Yeah, it's kinda dark tune, the mood reminds me of an autumn, dried leaves and such. :)

  • man this piece is beautiful it makes me think more of snowfalling but i love it man keep up the great work
  • Post-impressionism. Evocative and flowing.
  • What university do you study at. And may I ask who is your composition teacher. I went to the conservatorium of music High school in Sydney, but Im in London now doing my undergrad at the Royal Academy. I was sent an email about this composition and I entered, I thought it would be a bit of fun. Thankyou for posting your work up. I'd love to hear what you think of mine. I didn't spend as much time on it though, just an hour (and another hour imputtng it), , so If you want a Look, Ill upload it below, Its a sibelius file though. If you cant open it, I'll send you a PDF. my email is daniel-mccallum@hotmail.com.

    Kind regards,
    Daniel McCallum

    Momentary Pleasure.sib

  • Amazing that you cut this in a single day. (Maybe we should have a similar contest on our forum here. Might be fun.)

    I have to ask: what's the deal with instability? It's a serious question, not a rhetorical critique. I don't see or hear consonance until bar 25. Why?

    I'm also intrigued by the decision to use V as the cadence rather than the tonic. Now, in this piece, I'm not sure there is a key to actually hang the tonic on, but my guess is that it's Gm. My real clue to this is the suspension in 35 that resolves to Gm (despite the F#). You then go back to V (or II if we want to use the actual key signature.) I'm also struggling with this suspension because the preparation looks like it has it's own leading tone. (Gm triad with its leading tone of F#) and yet the suspension is clearly A. Can't get my head around it. I get the feeling I'm not seeing this correctly.

    It is kind of neat because it leaves you wondering. It allows uncertainty to linger. But, what were your artistic reasons for doing this?
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