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Sonatina

Discussion in 'Composing' started by Affinity, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Well, it's been a long time since I've been here or composed anything of note, but here's a short piano sonatina I've been on and off on over the last year. I've taken in the helpful feedback about my previous compositions being too bass-heavy and not well-suited for the piano, so hopefully this composition will point towards something of a breakthrough for me. It's in three movements and about five minutes long in duration, in an early 20th-century post-romantic style.

    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zt4IGXj ... =autoshare

    Again, comments would be greatly appreciated. Do enjoy...
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That sounds like a good piece of work ! Concentrated, purposeful and to-the-point, as a Sonatina should be. It reminds me of Hindemith more than anything else. Will have to listen to this more closely.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Quick reaction after viewing the score: 1st movement could be called "Fugus interruptus", extensive use of 2-voice texture through-out, 3rd movment finally gets the imitative counter point in a 2-voiced fugue. The 10ths in the LH earlier will be diffucult for all without large/stretchy hands
    Now to listen.


    Edits: spelling
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Just listened to it. This is a very well crafted work. Congratualtions! There are obvious unifying elments to be discovered by analysis -- but I don't have the time to do that and am curious. Will you share them please? Are there cells of pitch classes/intervals? It seems to me there are. Certainly the use of the punctuated chords are one feature. I like the change of meters in the 2nd movement. If I had to look for some association in the literature, I would say that the 2nd movement was sort of Berg-light.
    Nice work! :)
     
  5. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I wasn't aware about the concept of pitch classes before you raised them, though; the closest thing I can think of is the inversion of the countersubject in the development of the 3rd movement, and the 'real' transposition as opposed to tonal transposition of the subject and countersubject. There may be some parts where the harmony is somewhat unclear in the first and third movement, but I guess that's because I thought horizontally (in how the lines were to resolve) more than vertically.

    As for relations, the countersubject of the fugue is modelled very closely on the opening statement of the first movement, and the cadences in both movements come about in the form of a descending flourish followed by punctuating chords. Some parts of the third movement (such as the interposition in b.51-63) closely mirror the structure of the first movement (e.g compare with b.36-39 of the first movement). There are also other little things like the 'lament' figure in the second movement (e.g three descending notes b. 7-8 and b.19) being repeated in the form of a 'deceptive' cadential progression b. 29-31 of the fugue, only to be followed by the first movement's figure in b.33-35)

    There are others, but I guess they might be more subjective than the ones being raised here. Also, what do you mean by 'Berg-light'?
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Hi Affinity,
    Thanks for some of the insights. Interestingly, when I have worked in the past with composers of new music, it has been amazing to me that I can find relationships and associations within their works that they were unaware of (always a delight to them). This is one of the wonderful mysteries of life IMO. A small example is often the proportions of a movement corresponding to the ratio of the Golden Mean (phi) -- a frequent place for the "recapitulation" or some novel dramatic or theoretical trait. I'm in a very busy place in my life right now that is also largely keeping me from the piano, but otherwise I might have begun to dissect your work for discovery. The use of cells of pitch/interval classes is a basic element in atonal theory/composition that is borrowed from Set Theory in mathematics. It is to atonal works of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern (the Second Viennese School) what harmonic analysis is to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven (the First Viennese School, and many others).

    Alban Berg was the disciple of Schoenberg that took dodecaphony (12-tone atonal music invented/systematized by Arnold Schoenberg) to "romantic"-styled applications, whereas Webern sank (IMO) more into the more-cerebral mathematical and controlling applications. Webern's works are extremely distilled and consequently small-dosed (short). To close the circle, I felt that as I listened to your second movement I was listening to a language that was like Alban Berg's, but less so (Berg-light) (less filling, but still taste great :wink: )

    Eddy
     
  7. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Interestingly, the teacher of my junior college's piano ensemble (of which I used to be a member) has offered me a chance to play my own composition in their annual concert, so I started practising this piece in preparation for it. While I'm pretty surprised that this piece laid pretty nicely under the fingers, it did not sound all as pleasant as I thought it would be. Turns out the reason for that is because the left hand of the piece rarely strays from the C2-C4 register, even in moments of tension, they remain unceasing, causing it to sound heavy-handed throughout the first and third movements. I'm not even sure if emendation would help much here. But I hope I can get a recording up soon; it'll be an experience nonetheless.
     
  8. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Attached is a youtube video of my performance yesterday. Not exactly stellar, sadly, but I hope you all do get an insight of one way to play it.
     
  9. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Very nice. Congrats!
     
  10. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    I just had to opportunity to listen to your Sonatina. Great job.

    This piece sounds well crafted and thought out.

    I look forward to hearing more of your work.

    Scott
     
  11. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Affinity,

    I really enjoyed your piece. I had a listen to your performance and had the opportunity to follow through the score.

    I'd like to talk about the form you used. Most sonatinas have a sonata form, the ideas are simply in smaller proportion. And usually have several movements, you did that, so that's good. When we talk about the first piece,

    generally it's written:

    I: Exposition :I: Development I Recapitulation :I

    This is of course a general guideline, not a strict rule. And even though you have no repeats, I think this piece works in through-composed form, with some exceptions.

    You clearly have a repeated exposition, I hear the beginning for two counts. in m.1 and m. 15. if I'm counting sixteenths, it sounds like "da-dada-da-da-da-daaadadada" (with a hyphen counting for 16th rests)

    You have the development shaped well, it's just that we never hear the return of the "da-dada-da-da-da-daaadadada" !

    Let me tell you a story. This was this last year at the beginning of the semester. I told my piano teacher that I composed a piece. She said, "great! Do you have a name for it?" I told her it was called "sonatina." She told me it didn't have the proper form (of course she would know, she is a piano teacher!)

    so now I am passing this information on to you!

    If you want my advice, you can either fix the piece to adhere to the proper sonatina form, or change the name of the work to "preludes" (that's easy enough, huh :lol: )

    Hope this helps and really enjoyed your piece.

    Riley
     
  12. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    @RSPII and musical-md: Thanks a lot for the praise!

    @pianoman: Thanks for your feedback. The discussion of form for the first movement is pretty interesting (I think that of the other two is more straightforward), but I don't think it is necessary for the recapitulation (which starts at b.35, a clear return to D minor, the tonic, and recapitulates the second group; b.17-18) to include the first group (though b.42-46 are of similar shape and contour to that of b.8-12). There's also the issue that the motifs of the first group are already echoed throughout the development (compare b.6 to b.27-29 for example; starting from b.19, the development is actually an elongated version of the exposition, but with more harmonic tension), which would make a 'return' to the first group rather odd and superfluous. I think there's a clear sense of return in b.35, in any case, and in this way I would say that it fits the guidelines of sonata form.

    Believe me, I've used the 'prelude' label for all the pieces I could not elucidate the structure of too! But given the unity of the three movements with each other I envisioned while composing this (the final movement is actually a fugue on the motifs and themes of the first), I think it would be a waste to use it on this piece.
     
  13. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    I have to agree with you, Affinity. The return of the first theme group is often abbreviated, or even abandoned, particularly if it is highly developed in the development section. One of the principles of sonata form is that of reconciling the musical ideas that were not originally presented in tonic into tonic. The first theme group is, of course, presented in tonic so it does not need to be reconciled as such, only the materials first presented in something other than tonic.

    Also, the use of Sonata, or Sonatina for a multi-movement work can be a little elusive. The terms have been around long before the development of the Classical Sonata. Even Beethoven has a piano sonata that does not have a single sonata form movement (Piano Sonata 12 - op. 26)

    Scott
     

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