I have made an attempt to write a sonata for violin and piano. I have completed the first movement, which I have uploaded here, and in fact, I am quite happy with it. I made an outline for a second movement, but I am not at all satisfied. I will throw it away and make a restart, when I get better ideas For the third movement, I think I have an interesting structure, but all together, I is going to take quite a long time to finish this sonata. Maybe, I should only keep the first movement as as a "standalone" piece. I am looking forward to your comments and opinion.
I like this. I think it flows very well and tells a story all by itself, so I think it would work well as a stand-alone piece. It'd be nice to hear it with real strings.
Post the score?
Dear Kevin, Victor, Charles, Bob and Fredrick
Thank you all for the nice comments about my sonata for violin and piano. It strengthens my thought that I can leave it as a standalone piece. This suits me very well, since I am very occupied with new pieces. Kevin, I have played it life together with a violinist, and this is of course a totally different thing. The dynamic expression (as well as the sound) of the real violin are extremely much nicer. I cannot get this from a computer. But an error-free good life performance needs a lot of rehearsals and discussions, and unfortunately, professional violinists do not have that much time to spend. If I somehow manage to get to a satisfactory recording of a life performance, I will post it to you.
Victor, I have not posted a score for two reasons:
l) The score is still in need for adjustments. I have to work out the correct slurs for the violin part (very important for bow up-bow down articulation), and there are still a number of spelling errors to be corrected.
2) Earlier, I had a discussion with a publisher, who has shown an interest in publishing some of my music. Maybe this piece will interest them as well. If I publish the scores on internet, you will understand that this will inhibit my chances of getting a contract.
Bob, I fully agree with you that one should write what you feel you need or want to write. And there is certainly nothing wrong with modern tonalities. But (and note that this is my personal opinion!) very much modern music I have listened to sounds expressionless, uninteresting or even banal (but not all modern music!). Maybe I am biased, because my focus has always been to play and create melodic, harmonic music. But I can tell you that composing in the classical style is far from easy. You can never avoid to be compared with e.g. Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann etc, and of course this is easy for evaluators - you simply won´t even come close ! In fact, you run the risk that your work is regarded as a (poor) pastiche.
In this respect, composers of modern music may have an easier situation – It seems to be more “forgiving”, or may be even praised, if someone says: This piece reminds me of Ligeti, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Stockhausen etc.
Apart from the above, some of my compositional philosophies are:
- To intensively examine and learn from the works of the great masters of the past. To study their work in great detail (their scores as well as listening to their music). And I am not talking about theoretical analysis of chords, chord progressions and structural formalities and all that stuff, but rather to try to understand WHY particular rhythms, keys, harmonies, chords etc. were used. How the emotional effects and feelings were created. For this, it is imperative to look at a piece in its totality (which means-memorizing and working with the entire piece).
- Another philosophy I have is that I am very critical about my own work. I want to improve my work all the time, and the more constructive critical advices I get, the better.
- I don´t care if it takes a day, a week or a year to compose a piece. For me, the only important thing is the end result. Composing 10 crappy pieces with sloppy scores in a couple of weeks is a nightmare for me.
- Finally and perhaps the most important thing: Take your work serious, but don´t take yourself serious.
i really liked the track ....nice evocation and release of tension...i think its finally about hope........
I have been thinking a lot about your comments, and I would like to say the following about this:
This piece of music was my very first attempt to write something for violin and piano. It was an exercise, where I wanted to learn more about the interplay between the voices of the two instruments while creating emotions. I am fairly satisfied with the outcome (although it could certainly be improved). Indeed, it is written in a very traditional style (but not in the style of Haydn or Mozart), which is demanding if you want to do a decent job. However, I don´t think that I copied anything, at least not intentionally. But if you found any motif, passage or phrase, which you recognize, I would be extremely interested if you can inform me about this. I am still very much in a phase where I try to improve my craftsmanship as a composer, and critical remarks are really welcome!
As far as “using my own voice” is concerned, I am not too worried for the moment. I have no problem in using different styles and I think (or at least hope) that I will eventually develop an own, personal musical language.
ps: Thanks Tunmay for listening and your comment
Initially I was rather upset by your reply. There are a number of things which I want to get straight. You made a conclusion that I lack confidence in my work. This is totally wrong. I have a very strong confidence in my work. Actually far more than numerous “composers” on this site, that seem only to look for praise and hope to be considered as a starlet (sometimes desperately it seems). Quite tragic, in view of the poor quality of their output and the total absence of self-criticism.
You tell me that I lack confidence in my work, since I, what you call “dismiss” ( i.e. downgrade) my piece as an exercise . This is wrong! I have worked with this piece in the same way as with my other compositions. I have made no compromises and it is a full-grown piece. The only difference is that I had never written a violin sonata (or anything else for violin for that matter). Therefore I had to learn many many new things. This has been a very useful exercise, and it is therefore that I considered the piece (for myself only!) to be an exercise.
Regarding your other comments:
What outline are you talking about? You say it´s someone else’s outline. Who and what have I copied. Can you be specific? I hate generalized statements without providing any proof of validity.
Moreover, I can tell you that you do not seem to have any clue about the way I compose.
It is absurd to assume that I made an outline with so and so many number of measures for the different events in my composition. I only started with a rough idea and a basic theme. From thereon, things have developed by intuition and sometimes by serendipity. When I work with a piece, everything I have written is constantly in my head. Every note. And I can play them (on the piano) or write them down any time. When I don´t know where to go (which happens quite often), I continue playing the piece in my head, and at some stage (usually when I wake up in the morning) I have the solution. The fact that the piece is structured the way it is, is not by calculation, but because I FEEL that it has to be like that. Of course, in the composing stage, I make adjustments all the time, sometimes quite drastic ones (to the extent of deleting a large part of the piece). But that is not a question of calculation. It is purely made on musical grounds. For example if the flow is not satisfactory or there is insufficient coherence or a lack of drama, no surprise (boring) misplaced repetitions etc. etc. I was upset when you said that any themes can be plugged into this piece and the results would be just as good! This is a severe downgrading of my work, and placing it into a mediocre (or rather below mediocre) category. At the same time, you tell me that I am sooo good, and there is nothing wrong with the piece.
This is all very contradictory isn´t it?
You keep saying that I should develop my own voice, write what your heart tells you etc.
That is the rather cliché –like thinking of some schoolteachers. I think that the most important thing is first of all to acquire craftsmanship, and in this context, an extensive study of the master composers of the past is invaluable. This is an advice, given in all the books I have read about composition. I would particularly recommend you to read a book entitled “ A Practical Guide to Musical Composition”(which was published free on internet some time ago) written by Alan Belkin (professor of composition at Montréal University). Fascinating reading and I was pleasantly surprised to discover how many of my intuitive approaches and thoughts were corroborated. Another interesting book (free on internet) is written by John Winsor, called “Breaking the Sound Barrier” I do not agree with everything said in this book, particularly in the last chapters, but he has many excellent points, which are of great value for a composer.
After thinking a lot, I realize that I over-reacted on your reply, and I feel really sorry for this. It is clear that there were misunderstandings from both sides. I think that you are right about the originality. The piece is written in a style of 200 years ago, and from that viewpoint, there is not so much new in it. But I put a lot personal feelings and emotions in this piece, and I am rather satisfied with the outcome. But everything is relative. It all depends who you compare with. I am very self-critical, but I have a strong urge to improve and I am absolutely convinced that I can improve.
Altogether, I must tell you that I appreciated your replies, which got me thinking a lot. I believe that the misunderstandings we had, could easily be straightened out if we would sit down in person and discuss an afternoon or so.
I have noticed your very frequent replies on different posts, which I think is an important asset for this site. Too many people are just silent, and this is useless for people who are expecting constructive criticism.
And finally Bob – Of course, Peace!