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Retempering of Bach's Minuet in G Major

Discussion in 'Composing' started by pianoman342, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Pianosociety,

    I have not been posting here as regularly as I would like due to some time constraints, but now I have some time. I have been working on Minuet in G for my piano class and thought to convert it to a minor key. I decided on A minor and recorded a very lousy but note-correct performance of it today. Here is the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di2d_Rs2xyg

    Let me know what you think,

    Regards,

    -Riley
     
  2. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    'Twas two nights before President's Day, when all through the Land, not a pianist was practicing, not even one hand...

    Riley, to be quite frank, the very idea seems like sacrilege to me and I can't even bring myself to listen to it. IMO You might as well re-write "A vist from St. Nicholas" (better known by its incipit, "'Twas the night before Christmas"). Yes, I know people have done this --- but in jest! Sorry.
     
  3. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Eddie,

    Thanks for the reply. I see your point, but I do disagree with it.

    What is the purpose of beautiful music if it can only be played and put on a pedestal? In my music theory course we are asked to construct modified sequences up a diatonic second based on, believe it or not, "we wish you a merry christmas."

    My teacher is not asking me to parody the composer of this christmas carol by rewriting it, only to look at something that is famous and well known in a different way.

    I have am reading a book Lives of the Great Composers wherein composer Ralph Vaughan Williams is said to have gone to Maurice Ravel and Ravel looked at his compositions. Mr. Ravel asked Williams to write a little minuet in the style of Mozart. I don't think we can say Ravel asking Williams to write a minuet in the style of Mozart is sacrilege. Though I realize writing a composers comp in another key isn't the same thing, but it is an exercise, experiment. I think it can be said that any great composition started out as an experiment.

    That's my two cents.

    -Riley
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Riley,
    By all means write (especially when you are learning) in the style of any great composer. In fact it is very useful to try to arrange themes of great works in the style of other composers, but to simply change the modality (major/minor) of a composition is quite perfunctory and has (IMO) little instructive potential besides exploring the differences in major/minor themselves. Since your post was offered here under the "Composing" forum (rather than the Theory forum), I [mis]/understood this to be presented as an "alternative" to the original Bach work. It is a far better thing to simply orchestrate the Minuet with modern/synthesized sounds, etc., preserving the actual composition, or try to arrange it in a jazz idiom (how about a capella voices?). But please tell me more about your studies. How far along are you and what degree are you pursuing?


    Edit: Oops. There is no Theory Forum :oops: I guess this would be the right place for the post.
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hey Riley,
    I listened to the video and all I noticed is that if you were trying to keep intervals the same while transposing into a minor key, then I think you did not do it totally correct. The B section sounds mighty strange, like it bounced in and out of major/minor keys or something..I'm not sure.. and it's too late at night for me to look at the score. Sort of an interesting thing to listen to, though...
     
  6. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

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    I like it! But yes, the B section sounds rather odd in the key of F sharp major (if that's what you were trying to do). If you want something in the style of Bach, then the B section will need to go to the relative major, i.e. C major. That means you'll need to do a bit of recomposing to get it to land back in A minor for the end.

    In other words, this exercise not quite as perfunctory as it first looks :)

    I've attached my own version (only the middle bit, since the rest is pretty obvious). But I'm sure this isn't the only possible way; it would be interesting to see if Riley can come up with a different version (preferably thinking about it yourself before opening the attachment).
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    The well-tampered clavier :lol:
    I will not yell 'sacrilege' as this is probably not more than an educational piece.

    Nice exercise and it sounds very convincing at the start. The middle section sounds indecisive and contrived though.
    Your challenge is to make that also sound like Bach could have written it, that's when your exercise could be said
    to be a success.
     
  8. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    @ musical-md: I see you’re point. Writing in the style of a composer seems like each comp made by a new composer in a style of an older composer makes an argument that that piece adequately models the style of another which is debatable. I think it is hard to convert a major piece into a minor piece, you could say it’s as easy as lowering ever third a half step but I think this sometimes makes the piece sound strange. Yeah I would put this piece in a theory section but don’t see one :) about my studies: I am a film major and music minor at SIU. I am hoping to one day be a pianosociety composer (but that means the PS admins actually have to LIKE the piano music I write :p)
    @ pianolady: I see what you mean in saying the B section sounds strange. I confess I probably should have made the f# an E natural as hanysz is suggesting in his score.
    @ hanysz: I like your change to the piece. But as you say the problem is it resolves to E. I have come up with another edit to the piece in C. The problem it seems is that the B section starts in minor in the original piece, and so it therefore must be made into major for a minor piece, but it’s tricky
    @techneut “the well tampered clavier” Congratulations, you made me laugh out loud :)
    “Your challenge is to make that also sound like Bach could have written it, that's when your exercise could be said to be a success.” If only I could write like Bach... :roll:
     
  9. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

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    Um, you didn't realise that the E chord is the dominant of A minor?
     
  10. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I once did somethig similar: a prelude in the style of Bach, but of course Bach would have done many things with my little theme I would never have thought of. It was boring little thing and hopefully is lost, I must say. I also remember taking a 4 bar folksong and making it into a 4 voice canon without changing a single note of the melody.
     
  11. StephenC

    StephenC New Member

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    I see why you said it was like a sacrilege, seems the same why I hear it too. Well that was just an opinion from a common piano player so yeah.
     

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