Hello friends

This is a simple canon in G minor for piano plus string quartet. The piece is very cyclically repetitive in terms of development of the initial theme as it passes and slowly mutates from Leader to Follower, but I like the way it achieves a strong crescendo intensity after the 6' mark and then dies down to the end. I hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening! Cheers, Frank

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/frank-paul-918241242/canon-in-g-minor-for-string-quintet-frank-paul

Canon in G Minor for String Quartet Frank Paul.pdf


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  • Hi again, Frank - I like it. I like the movement of the voices, the harmonic content, and the energy your score creates. Do you feel that the piano and cello are mixed too low releative to vln 1/2 and viola. I feel that the crescendo intensity is dependent on the upper strings when the whole ensemble shoud have responsibility. For instance, when the piano starts walking that could create such an impactful textural and dynamic change, but the mix holds that back. There is generally an anemic bottom end throughout despite the use of piano and cello. It's all there in your tracks... something amazing and worth repeat listens.... it just needs a better mix to bring it forth. 

    What do you think? Tell me if I'm crazy.  --Ray

  • Hi Ray - Another reason why I'm so glad I found this forum, because only by getting other people's perspectives on our work can we identify things we might have missed.  So, thanks for that pointer on the mix behind this piece.  To be totally honest, even though I might have been subconsciously aware that the piano was mixed way down relative to the strings, it never occurred to me to bring the fader up on that track when it launched into its arpeggio-driven section.  That would have been a good move to make during rendering, I think.  So, I absolutely do not think you're crazy :-), and I agree with your suggestion.  I don't know if I'll go back and redo the track because of time constraints at the moment, but I will definitely keep that as a "lessons learned" for the next comp.

    Thanks again Ray!



  •  Well done and enjoyable Frank. As Ray says you could take a different approach with mixing here but getting the blend that you want and still being able to hear individual parts involves a lot of choices. Lots of dynamics and contrast  are important to a piece like this IMO. One approach I see suggested a lot is the use of a reference track if you haven't heard of that.  If you can find a well done recording of a similar live ensemble you can listen back and forth and make adjustments to your own track to help with mixing choices.

    Good work!

    • That's great advice - thanks Ingo!  I confess to feeling a little embarrassed after the fact on recalling that I really did no mixing on this piece at all; I just set the levels how I liked at the beginning of the piece and didn't adjust them as it unfolded.  Pretty inept, I have to admit, LOL.  Sometimes one's attention can be so focused on so many details working with MIDI, that certain other things too easily fall through the cracks.  But I am definitely putting a big yellow post-it note on my monitor bezel to remember to do proper mixing next time!  Cheers and thanks again for listening!  /fp 

  • Hi Frank.

    This did hold me for a while. The parts are balanced. I'm admit that after hearing the 5 chords in the first 4 bars repeated (with little variation to the end), by about half way through, I was looking for some interuption of the chord pattern. I know that by keeping the theme allows little possibility for modulation, which is probably innate to your framework. On another note,  I think that technically this isn't a canon. In a canon, the voices enter in staggered succession, repeating the first voice, usuaully each voice about a bar behind the previous voice's entrance. There (technically) isn't any filler material. It is only 'voice'. (This canon idea of comp. reminds me of a Rubik's Cube).

    What I think you have here is more of a 'Chaconne' -  A theme which is passed around using similar harmonic backdrop, and allows for other parts to accompany the theme (without having to play the theme).

    Did I notice a little nod to Pachabel?

    Thanks for posting, Ray.

    • Thanks for those thoughts Gregorio.  I'll simply take at face value your suggestion that this was a chaconne rather than a canon. I think the reason I opted for that title is that the Leader/Follower technique, as I understand it, underscores the Canon form, and I definitely did apply that here.  But I guess, in the end, unless one is specifically going for a certain degree of historical authenticity (which I don't typically care about too much), then what's in a name? :-) 

      Candidly, I got bored with the form of this piece after not too long, but the reason I didn't junk it all was that I liked the way the 'theme and variations' modulations ended up building into a nice little crescendo before the end, which was kind of the high point of this thing for me.  

      Pachelbel comparison - busted!  :-)  (i.e. plead guilty).  :-)

      • Yeah, those 16th notes and 8th notes figure also immediately screamed Pachelbel to me. But I thought I'd let it slide. ;-)

        • Boy, this is a super knowledgeable crowd; no pulling the wool over anyone's eyes here, LOL  :-)

  •  Dear Frank, this is indeed very beautiful and moving! You should even orchestrate it! I can very well imagine how this would uplift the listening heart!

    • Thank you so much for such incredibly kind words, Gerd!  Learning orchestration has been a topic I've wanted to start exploring for some time now, but as usual "time is the enemy" (I feel like I will need lots of time to properly devote to this whereas right now it's a struggle to find any extra). If you were orchestrating something like this that had just 5 parts initially, would you use that kind of like a reduction score and then just simply move the voices of the score around the different sections of a full orchestra?  

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