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Composer Audition - Three Preludes

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianoman342, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @ Scott,

    Thanks for the praise, I think the first was missing some development and I tried to fix the first version with this in mind.

    If you don't like the ending that is one thing, but I do not understand your claim that not a single thing is related to anything that precedes it.

    In measure 17 you will notice that on beat 4 in the right hand there is a C. This note is the main idea of of the beat, the g in the left hand adds a fifth for strength. Consider the [and e] as nothing more than an ornament. So from C we go to a strong B in measure 18. The distance between a C and a B is a m2. think of it as a small part of a descending two note scale in C major. To me it is quite well related, in a stepwise way.

    I don't know what piece you are referencing this from, or if you are referencing a piece, but I am having trouble understanding what you mean.

    I have trouble understanding your mode of analysis. Is V - I not the most common closing in classical music? Excepting IV-I? What do you make of the term "perfect authentic cadence? Though it would be V-I in e minor I would rather think of it as IV-I. The B chord is actually above the preceding e minor so it has the sound of a IV-I chord progression. I originally wrote this piece in c major so it would be VII-iii, in any case, its basically IV-I.

    The key signature of f minor is ab major and the key of this piece is either g major or f minor, so I don't see your reasoning on this point. I wrote an alternative version of this piece that ends in e major but I don't like it as much as this version.

    I think, and I may be wrong, but I imagine the reason you don't like the ending is because you heard the performance and I admit the ending is lacking in that 1. it is not at tempo-- admittedly it sounds kind of flabby, and 2. measure 16 sounds louder than 17, ideally measure 17 is the loudest, for a building crescendo effect. I'd record it again, but I don't think I'd get it much better.

    There are some nice pieces that end in a whisper. Some of Chopin's preludes but I wrote the piece "allegro agitato" because it is supposed to sound like someone agitated as if by an itch that can never quite seem to ebb away.

    One way to think of a mixture of sharps and flats is that the piece was written by a beginning composer, another way is to say it was written by the composer to give the performer a challenge :p But in all seriousness, take a look at literature by Bartok. His pieces, at least most of those I have seen are written in a minor/c major with a jumble of sharps and flats in odd places. Not that I am as good a composer as Bartok, but I don't think your analogy that writing two as too is quite the same as a composer writing for piano writing an a# and a few measures later writing a Bb. I would say it would be different for instruments other than the piano, but that is not who I am writing for in this set.

    Thanks for your input here. Sorry if I have given you the impression I have taken you down a peg or two, though I have taken music theory at the college level last year, and I feel like I can teach it, nevermind just understand it. I feel I still have a lot to learn, but that I have been given a solid foundation on the music theory dos and don'ts. If you can imagine, there would be days in the class when my teacher would go around the room and ask us to spell a diminished 7th chord in all of the different keys with about 3 seconds to get all four notes right, or he would move on to the next student. This was for points! It gets hard when you have to think about spelling a note in double sharps and flats.. :lol:

    Look forward to more theory discussions,

    ~Riley
     
  2. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Riley,
    Please allow me to recommend a few concepts to think about when you're writing music.
    1. The names of the notes selected have nothing to do with an instrument (except for matter of key for transposing instruments); music transcends the instrument(s) itself. The fact that a piano can't inflect the difference between enharmonic pitches, has nothing to do with the fact that the scale 3rd degree of Beethoven's Concerto No. 3 in C Minor MUST be Eb, not D#; or that when he wants to modulate to the Dominant, he MUST use the raised 4th degree, not a lowered 5th degree.
    2. Tonal-Modal scales, can have only one representative for each line/space of the staff. I.e., a tonal/modal scale can't have two kinds of any note (can't have E and Eb, or F and F#, etc., Neither can it have enharmonic equivalents: can't have BOTH F# and Gb.
    3. Try to understand the difference between a chromatic half-step versus a diatonic half-step. The first always uses only ONE line or space on the staff to represent BOTH notes (and this is a larger half-step from pure acoustics); the second always uses adjacent line AND space to represent the pitches (and is a smaller half-step from pure acoustics). For a limited analogy, it's like stealing bases in baseball. If you lead off of 1st base just a few steps (diatonic half-step) you'll return to 1st base. If you lead off with great distance (chromatic half-step), then you'll go to second! If you want to pass through an intermediate pitch to go from C to D, you'll use C#, not Db (that wants to return to C).
    4. These are some of the facts that govern the proper writing of tonal/modal music. This is why a German Augmented 6th chord behaves differently than a V7 chord, though they sound the same.

    Good luck with your music education.

    Eddy
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi again, Riley. I just listened to your three Schumann pieces. I think you play them just fine, but again the sound is something that we need to talk about. First off, that piano is doing you no favors. It's tinny, not totally in tune, and the middle range sticks out too much. If you could re-record these on a better piano I'm sure we would be able to accept the recordings. Can you find a way to use one of the music department's grand pianos? Second, when you record, you should make about two or three seconds blank time before the playing starts and then also at the end before you cut off the file.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    As for the Schumanns, the sound must definitely be improved, and a couple seconds silence added before and after the music.

    But even then, I'd not want to put these on the site like this. In the Curious Story, your dotted rhythm is
    mostly wrong and the pulse unsteady, and you don't really have Blindman's Buff in the fingers yet (this
    one is not at all easy). There are assorted fumbles and misreadings, some minor and some embarrassing. Also
    your touch is not always under control, causing some notes to be far softer or louder than (I guess was) intended.

    I realize we are giving new submitters a hard time.... Sorry about that. Some years ago it was rather easy to get your recordings on the site, but these days we feel that a certain quality standard must be met before we can admit stuff. You're not making things easier on yourself by choosing such well-known pieces which are already well-represented on the site. But keep going, you'll get there.
     
  5. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I prefer your previous version of the 3rd prelude.
     
  6. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @ Richard

    Thanks for the feedback, looking back I do not think it was a legitimate piece, as underdeveloped as it was..

    @ Eddy

    The future theory discussion came faster than I thought it would! :p

    Thanks for these points and I realize I cannot argue with them. These are rules that you have learned, though I was told by my theory teacher the rules are guidelines and for most rules there are some exceptions. I like your analogy to baseball, it is sequential and logical. Though if you were to say, "music writing is like driving," I would have to say they are not the same, as it would prove there is patently one way or one one way in a gradient of ways to respond to any number of driving situations. Maybe that is a bad analogy, and I'm full of them :)

    @ Monica,

    Thanks for the feedback on the recordings. I agree the sound of the upright leaves a lot to be desired, and the instruments tone is a little on the sharp side. I don't know why the pianos are not tuned, as typically they are at the beginning of the year. There should be a way of getting access to the better pianos, it would make sense to ask. About making another recording, I don't think I will be able to devote time to recording and re-recording pieces till they mimic the professional ones that are featured on the major labels. I have taken on a grueling workload this semester and the consequence of this would seem to be little time free to perfect recordings in order for me to do the best I can as a student.

    @ Chris,

    Thanks for the feedback, I agree the tempo maybe unsteady, though I thought I played the dotted rhythms ok? I detect one error in the left hand in measure 21 (the and d) but that is all of the Kuriose Geschichte. About Blindman's buff, I don't know how you can snap back to the beginning in measure 5. I guess, as you say, you have to have it in the fingers.. :lol: .

    I know you have high standards for potential site candidates (artists and composers), though when I first posted this thread I hope I made it clear I was only interested in becoming a composer for the site. I appreciate your interest in me not only becoming a site composer but also a pianist, but I'm facing the reality that after so many hours of practice, a fine grand piano, with a top-of-the-line setup of recording equipment, submitting my best Schumann, I still won't quite be able to cut the mustard ! :| :roll: though I appreciate your encouragement.

    ~Riley
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not so. It is a common error to play a dotted figure as if it were a triplet where the last note comes on the third. It sounds really flabby. I used to do that too, but saw the light after my teacher repeatedly pounded on me for it. Dotted rhythms generally should be sharp and snappy.

    If you're interested (and actually want to do something with the feedback) I can give you the details in a PM.

    I had to work pretty darn hard to get that one on record halfway decent :!: It is no kid piece at all.

    Ah yes good point :D

    We require neither professional sound quality or professional playing. Or else I would not dare put up my own stuff :D
    A clean and pleasant sound, and reasonably error-free and artistic playing is good enough. It takes a while to get there but it's by no means a too lofty goal.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I asked the question mostly because the the names of the pieces, which are different, partly from both of my editions. What we have for these two pieces is

    Code:
    Boosey & Hawkes    Dover Archive Edition    Your Edition
    ---------------    ---------------------    ---------------
    Children at play   Let's bake something     Sweet as sugar
    Pillow Dance       I lost my handkerchief   Pillow Dance
    
    I seem to remember you used Schirmer ?
    Also I wondered whether you edition actually has all the finicky dynamic directives I see in mine.
     
  9. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Re:

    @ Chris,

    Interesting how a dotted rhythm could sound like it was playing on 1 and 3 instead of the original. It would be correct in a sense, but the tempo would be the variable, not an unchanging consistent.

    Sure, please shoot me a PM. I'm open to feedback if you are willing to give it. And if you say it, I will probably be hearing it again from my piano teacher :)

    It's interesting that everybody plays it so lightnin' fast, my edition says nothing on the top of the pieces in the way of a tempo indication.

    I agree, it is a goal that isn't too lofty but getting there requires a lot of patience and concentration and I think it's the reason playing the piano is for some people, and for others, well, it's just not their bag.

    8) wow. This is a fancy graphic! The title "let's bake something," is worth a laugh! To answer your question, no- my edition isn't G. Schirmer, it's the original ed. from 1909. Strangely, it is missing a cover page. And the no. 4 is soft tears, not pillow dance. Also, my edition is pretty conservative about dynamic directives. About one per piece, though some it is more like 4 or 5 which is strange considering these are short pieces.

    ~Riley
     
  10. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yours is the unrevised, edition of the Bartok. He revised them, if memory serves me well, in the 1940s, eliminating some which turned out not to be folk-songs, changing their order and making other corrections.
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    And, I think, adding a plethora of directives not present in the original version. That could explain why Riley's version sounded a bit lacking in dynamics to me, as I'm used to the Boosey and Hawkes which is indeed the revised 1940 version.

    @Riley:

    I take back what I wrote about the Schumanns having various flubs and misreadings - there are actually very few. What I found is
    Curious Story: Do observe the tied over notes between bars 7-8 and 15-16 and between bars 27-28 and 39-40.
    Try get the rhythm steady, and 'play' the 16th rests in the 'dotted' figure. Note that the pedal is UP during those figures. Dynamics, ophrasing and pedaling need more attention.
    Blidman's Buff: IN bar 9 you play C which should be c#.
    In bar 11 you play wrong notes in the RH, pre,aturely landing in C major which should only happen two bars later.
    In bar 16, do lift the pedal earlier. Yes you lose the LH octave, nothing to be done about that (unless you have a sustain pedal).
    This needs to me much sharper and more precise, observe the accents.
    Pleading child: In bar 14 some RH notes are too weak.

    All in all, not bad notewise, but work to do on interpretation and technique.
     
  12. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I happen to have the original version as a PDF as well as the same edition that you have, but I never compared them.
     
  13. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @ Chris,

    I listened to the other recordings of no.2 on the site and there seems to be a consensus about keeping the first phrase short and spiky. I could try this but it would probably also be cured by placing the microphone closer to the piano.

    About Blindman's Buff, thanks for this information. I am now shocked that I played so many wrong notes in measure 11, and I always though the c natural was right. I haven't really learned this one by hearing recordings, so it goes to show :)

    Now to practice so that the rhythm on no. 2 is steady, the no. 3 is sufficiently fast and the no.4 doesn't sound too mushy :lol:

    A fair warning, I might give up if you reject my next try.. :wink:

    ~Riley
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    The conversation about using 'alternative' editions is now on the Repertoire forum.
     
  15. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @ Pianolady and Techneut,

    My schedule was free today and so I went to the school of music for a recording session :)

    I have tried to apply the criticisms that you two have given me, there is a slip in the Blindmans Buff, but I hope it does not deem the entire recording undesirable.

    The three recordings are attached, with some silence at the heads and the tails of the clips.

    Hope you like them,

    ~Riley

    Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 2: Kuriose Geschichte (1:14)
    Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 3: Hasche-Mann (0:49)
    Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 4: Bittendes Kind (1:06)
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @pianoman342....
    Riley, you've been around long enough that you can call us by our real names! :)

    Anyway, the sound is much improved! And I also think your playing is better and sounds more assured. But I will leave it to Chris to determine if each piece is okay, since he has studied them and I have not. Btw - I'm glad you are persevering! That makes me happy. :D
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are very much better in every respect. If I were your teacher I'd not be quite satisfied with your rhythms yet (like the first chord of Curious Story being just slightly too short) and with the rather too brusque closing chord of Pleading Child. Those are minor things that you could still work on but nonetheless this is very decent playing now, which we can certainly put up on the site. The one little slip does not matter much.
    Yes, good that you are hanging on in there. It's already made a lot of difference :!:
     
  18. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @ Monica (I use your username and real name interchangeably, but I'll use just your real name from now on :) )

    Thanks for the praise, and I agree the sound is a lot better. Particularly on this grand piano than the out-of-tune upright I used for the last recording. I guess we don't call it a grand piano for nothing :lol: And glad that I could make you happy :) I edited it out, but after I finished the Blindman's Buff I shouted "yes!" It still had the wrong notes but I kept playing it wrong with a number of slips and finally I got through it with 90% of the right notes and at a somewhat fast tempo. Looking back on it, I should probably only shout if I get it absolutely perfect :lol:

    @ Chris

    You will put these up on the site?! Wow. Thanks a lot!

    About the playing, I do realize now the rhythm of the no.2 is quite staccato. Especially compared to your versions. And I agree the Pleading Child could be piano at the end.

    About hanging in there-I'm surprised and encouraged that you say it has already made a lot of difference :)

    ~Riley
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Pretty much 100-percent of the time, when someone re-records a piece, it is always better than the previous version. I can't remember anyone here making a 'worse' recording; unless they started doing strange things with interpretative issues.

    Time to get your bio and photo ready! :)
     
  20. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That is the way they treated me and in the end I managed to russle up some decent recordings, so keep going!
     

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