Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

My instrumental adaptation of a Breton folk song. One source says this is  one of the oldest Breton melodies; the song's lyrics are about a witch.

Supposedly complete, but I'm very uncertain about whether I can really compose for harp.  Criticism from harpists would be especially welcome. (I also have a version with piano instead of harp, but I think the harp would be much more atmospheric.)

Simultaneous score and software-generated audio on MuseScore.

SoundCloud audio only.

Views: 116

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Jon,

This seems like a pleasant tune to me, in an ancient style as might be expected from where it came from. I can't comment on the harp question you asked, but it seemed ok to me -

Best,

Gav

Thanks for the response.  The tune seems to be one of the lesser known Breton ones today.  The title means "Janet of Guernsey."

Hello Jon,

i also find it very pleasant. harp sounds good to me.

Thanks for the response.

Felix Stephan Music said:

Hello Jon,

i also find it very pleasant. harp sounds good to me.

Hi Jon -  I also enjoyed this for its simple but beautiful melody.  I was unable to view the score as it requires an account but the harp part seems simple enough that it should not be a problem.

I am not knowledgeable about the harp but here is a pdf on what to watch for.

composeForHarp.pdf

Also here is a website created by an experienced harpist who is willing to analyze short harp passages for composers.

https://www.15secondharp.com/

Thanks for the response and the links.  I will look at them.

I'm not sure why you couldn't see the MuseScore score.  The way MuseScore.com is supposed to work is that anyone can view the simultaneous score and sound file, but if you want to download the score pdf or the sound file mp3 you have to have either a free MuseScore account or log in with Facebook.  I noted that for some reason the link in my original post had a slightly different form from the MuseScore links I usually use, so I edited to one which should work.

Ingo Lee said:

Hi Jon -  I also enjoyed this for its simple but beautiful melody.  I was unable to view the score as it requires an account but the harp part seems simple enough that it should not be a problem.

I am not knowledgeable about the harp but here is a pdf on what to watch for.

composeForHarp.pdf

Also here is a website created by an experienced harpist who is willing to analyze short harp passages for composers.

https://www.15secondharp.com/

I just closed my browser, opened a new one, went to the new link I put in:

http://musescore.com/user/2488/scores/5170020

without being logged in to the MuseScore.com site, and I could see the score ok.

The link works for me now Jon, thanks. 

I'm not familiar with Breton music, I'm wondering about your choice of keys here. If I understand correctly, you have a key sig of Ab/Fm and then you flatted most of the G's which would give you a key of Db/Bbm.  Your piece resolves to Bbm which would match the Db/Bbm key sig. or Bb dorian with an Ab/Fm key sig. None of this really matters, I'm just curious.

Jon Corelis said:

I just closed my browser, opened a new one, went to the new link I put in:

http://musescore.com/user/2488/scores/5170020

without being logged in to the MuseScore.com site, and I could see the score ok.

Thanks for the comment.

I'm sure I adapted this melody from one found in an old book of folk songs, but I can't find the reference now and don't remember what key my source was in.  Typically though when I adapt an old melody like this, I start with a draft using whatever key my source used, and then transpose to whatever key seems to best fit my instrumentation. The modality of my version of course should remain the same as that of the original through the transposition -- I know enough theory to understand that, though not enough to give more of a technical explanation. 

If I can dig up the reference I'll report here what the original key was, in case anyone is interested.

A most pleasant, easy to listen to work. I wasn't able to get into Musescore so went by the Soundcloud. I'm also not familiar with Breton folk music so just listened as I might to any small ensemble piece. Notable was the almost unison doubling between cello and flute, decorations offered up by the flute; how this developed toward the end when each held a separate line. The harp seemed fine to me.

[Edit: I did get into the musescore this morning. I'm hardly technically qualified to comment about harp writing but couldn't see any traps for a harpist.]

Much of the charm of this piece lies in its simplicity. 

Great work. 

Thanks for the comment and for liking it.

Most of my music is simple, on the "make a virtue of necessity" principle.

The way MuseScore.com is supposed to work is that anyone can log on and simultaneously see the score and hear a sound file of it, with a logon required (via FaceBook or a free MuseScore account) only if you want to download the score as a pdf or the sound file as an mp3.  For some reason the URL in my original post linked to a MuseScore.com page which immediately required a logon.  The one I changed it to should work as it is supposed to.  I prefer to link to MuseScore.com because I think it displays the music and score most effectively, and everyone should be able to use it easily, so if anyone finds any problems in the future with my posted MuseScore.com links, please let me know.

Breton music is a little hard to find; it's been popularized to some extent by the excellent Celtic harpist Alan Stivell, whose recordings I believe are readily available.  Scores are hard to find; the main source for Breton folk music is still Barzaz-Breiz: chants populaires de la Bretagne byThéodore Hersart de La Villemarqué (Didier, 1867,)  mostly lyrics and descriptive text but with an appendix giving the melodies to many songs in simple monadic scores.  Also useful is Trente mélodies populaires de Basse-Bretagne by Louis Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray (H. Lemoine, 1885,) with some technical musicological comment and "parlor piano" type scores of thirty songs. Both are available free in Google Books and probably also in archive.org.

I enjoyed the listen. I've been to Cape Breton and enjoyed the music while I was there. To my ears the harp seemed a bit to up front if compared to a real harp. It was still a very pleasant listen.

Not sure if you can host vst or not, here's one I bought not long ago but I've been too busy to really use it much.It imitates the things a real harpist does. I think the harp you're using is nice too, just maybe needs to be softened a bit IMHO>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh-z-c2HCFM

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

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

Store

© 2019   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service