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After a comment that one of my pieces entitled a waltz, did not sound like a waltz to one member listener, i had a really fascinating discussion with a composer friend (one of those nice "late night" music discussions)... and we began to explore music titles (maybe another interesting discussion for another day...) and what made a waltz a waltz... (apart from it being in three four obviously !) We talked of Ravel's "La Valse" (... which totally disintegrates the whole harmony and structure of the waltz, )Tchaikovsky, Mr and Master Strauss... Irish folk waltzes... and Chopin, the "listener's" rather than "dancer's" waltzes. So, I thought it would be nice, maybe even fun, to throw out our little "twosome" discussion, and see what a waltz means to others.... by right, they should at least be happy... but Chopin wrote plenty in a minor key....be fun to see what anyone else thinks.... and one thing I didn't know, was that it started life as a "scandalous" dance, with warnings to parents, in "The Times" when it first arrived in the UK !

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Oh, of course I will excuse your sense of humour ! It "sort of" keeps us all sane, locked in our ivory castles, churning out reams of dot covered paper, to fill more of the floor than one can imagine.... something to slip and slide on, as we clutch mugs of never ending tea... to supply energy for the next prelude, or waltz, or whatever..... which reminds me, I have another pianist friend, whom I put the same question to regarding the waltz..... he played/plays Scriabin's Waltz... very subtle, with not even a really strong  first beat.... and had to explain to his teacher at the time, who told him to "listen to Strauss waltzes" (seemingly for a better example of what a waltz "should" be) that this was not a Strauss waltz... it was  Scriabin Waltz !...  I guess this debate will run for decades !

My friend who is a composer, has ALWAYS wanted to call her pieces by their REAL names "Basso" etc.... but stuck with things like "Concerto" for convention's sake.... so shall we all just start naming things as we think fit (within reason of course)... I might take Schumann's idea of simply three *** for when he could not think of a title (tried it once but having several "titled-less" pieces, ended up with ***   and **** etc..... filing nightmare. How about f*** for a title-less, strong, angry one ? Might be hard to find a publisher, but could attract a bit of attention !

Dane Aubrun said:

It's all synaesthesia, innit, the title to a work especially the impressionists - but I must take up on the term "prelude". I've written a couple in the traditional Liszt/ Paganini sense - the performer comes in and sets off on a bravura piece to announce his arrival and grab attention. That idea seems to have disappeared as audiences became tamer. Far from the Prelude 4 Op 28 by Chopin!

I wrote one for violin, showed it to the leader of our local (amateur+ex-professional) orchestra. He looked at it and said "Who d'you think I am? Paganini?"

Apropos Chopin, perhaps we should be glad Stravinsky wasn't a dancer. Him doing Le Sacre probably wouldn't have been a pretty sight!*

*Please excuse my sense of humour. It's always getting me in trouble but helps during this lockdown.

..... a thought... Satie's Trois Morceaux en Former des Poise (three pieces in the shape of a pear) written on answer to Debussy's suggestion that he could improve his form. Not wanting to conform to sonata (or any other conventional form for that matter) he wrote seven movements (titling them "three") in a "pear shape." Brilliant !

I am going to upload a tiny piece here... (still only a Sibelius sound file, as have not recorded properly on the piano yet, as I only finished it last night, so it sounds a bit "clunky") just for FUN !!... I think I have gone bonkers in lockdown, so thought this would give me, (and hopefully others ) a chuckle. Note the title "Waltz - for a person with several left feet" Please do let me know if you think it falls into the waltz category, ....personally, i don't think it quite fits the criteria, but love to know what others think.... ps (not my best creation ever, not intended really to go anywhere but here, but I had a bit of fun with it last night !.....)

well, after this, I think I may continue to post a few musical fun topics regarding titles and continue the fun... but in "Useless Drivel"... although much of this discussion I hope others will agree, has been interesting, and informative, as well as witty.... and as a "newbie" I have certainly thoroughly enjoyed it, and feel like I have met some nice new friends !

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Well, very nice and suitable for the little snowflakes that are falling hereabouts. (Gr-r-r-r). There was some kind of 'catch' at 23 seconds (or so) that might give someone sore toes - or I slip on the underlying ice knowing my luck. Looking forward to hear your performed version.

I can sympathise with Satie as most of my stuff goes pear-shaped too. It's a compositional style.... I can't remember if it was taught me a college. They teach some weird stuff that passes for music at colleges these days.....

And...you mentioned a certain profane title. As you say, publishers may object but its only an acronym for Finest Unique Composition Known. Let's go with that. :)

Tempting to have a go at a waltz..

à bientôt,

Dane

Thanks Dane ! Yes, I thought the likes of all the folk on here would spot that little bump in the rhythmic proceedings !.. well, a secret.... the original title was "Odd Little Waltz" but on re-listening today, as the snowflakes fell, it seemed to suggest the new title... so popped a bar or two up the octave, which seemed to work better ! So much for titles !!

Yes, we had a bit of a bumpy ride at college... my friend (who writes gorgeous music) was called (in a derogatory sense) a "tunesmith" !! I had a few problems too, as I too like writing melodic music.... thank goodness now there is no real "fashion."

Do do another waltz ! Be great if this "little ??" debate inspired a set of Waltzes !.... or a prelude or two.... maybe I should do the prelude, and you should write something (fugue??!!!) for the poor thing to lean against, to prevent it from toppling over as a stand- alone..... look forward to hearing your potential waltz.... and do use your title !!

Hi Suzanne, welcome to the forum.  I haven't been a fan of waltzes but you've given us a great thread here, and I look forward to hearing the Finest Unique etc. And I wouldn't mind be called a tunesmith either, I've been called worse. :)

Oh, it's lovely to see everyone getting "stuck into" some serious (and not so serious) musical cud-chewing. When we are all somewhat starved of meeting for real with other musicians, this has hopefully given us all some much needed musical discussion and banter..... will maybe upload a couple of other waltzes from my little book of them at some point. Funnily, i am not really a "Waltz" writing person either... but they appear from time to time. Most of my pieces could not be squeezed into any conventional form, however hard one would try ! ... and as for my "random" time signatures... teachers used to despair... "can't you make all those bars the same ?" The music simply said "No. Ouch. Do not squash.".... so a Waltz that remained in three time for the WHOLE three pages, was quite something for me !!!
Thanks for the welcome too - really nice.


Ingo Lee said:

Hi Suzanne, welcome to the forum.  I haven't been a fan of waltzes but you've given us a great thread here, and I look forward to hearing the Finest Unique etc. And I wouldn't mind be called a tunesmith either, I've been called worse. :)

Schoenberg's first dodecaphonic piece I believe (opus 23, no. 5 ) was entitled waltz. I suppose some of it may sound remotely waltzy, but he's definitely stretching the limits there  ( for me atleast).  I heard your piece, and the waltz pulse may be lighter in some sections than others, but I've definitely heard less waltzy sounding waltzes :D . I don't see much of an issue with your piece being called a waltz. 

You mentioned how Ravel disintegrates the waltz form in  La Valse  ( its a gorgeous disintegration lol ) . There's an interesting video on youtube by the composer David Bruce on how Ravel "completely destroys" the waltz . Worth checking out if you haven't already ! 

Thanks for your welcome, so nice to get them from everyone ! Yes, i have seen that Youtube video: I also thought to was really good. One thing about the internet, there are actually some really good things out there if you hunt for them !! 

Definitely true about the internet. You can learn just about anything from internet resources these days.

Regarding the waltz, another example that springs to mind is the Ballerina and Moor's waltz in Stravinsky's Petrouchka.  Starts out sounding like a waltz, but in the middle section, the bass drums and cymbals start playing a superimposed rhythm on top at which point it sounds like a waltz much less. But that's a more temporary effect. Still though.. 

Suzanne Munro said:

Thanks for your welcome, so nice to get them from everyone ! Yes, i have seen that Youtube video: I also thought to was really good. One thing about the internet, there are actually some really good things out there if you hunt for them !! 

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