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Improvisation series

Just a short note to inform you that I am still alive and have decided to start a series of improvisations in different keys. I will do twelve, of course, one in each major key. That is the only rule.

I will be posting recordings only, 3 days apart. I guess that means it will be done in 36 days, i.e. 22nd of November.


Op. 6 Recording

I did say I’d put up a recording; here it is.

Op 6: Fugue in misc. styles

Op 6 Fugue in misc styles – Full Score

I have finished my fugue. I made myself do it because it seemed important to learn how to write counterpoint. There is a lot of experimentation in this piece; I broke many of the fugue rules, but I don’t particularly care, as I quite like how it sounds. Also, I can play it with my fingers on a piano.

Some parts could obviously use improvement but I was running out of steam, and time. This is the best piece I have written so far, I think.

There was a composer who would write a ‘fun’ piece in between ‘serious’ pieces (Who?). I consider this fugue to be a ‘serious’ piece, given all the constraints I was trying to follow. Therefore the next piece I write will be in the ‘fun’ category.

Not dead yet… (I feel happy!)

I know; I:

  1. Failed to put sheet music up for the last exercise, and
  2. Haven’t posted for a long time.
    But luckily, I
  3. Have still been composing.

It is a fugue this time. (I figured I need to work on my counterpoint.) Either I’m doing it completely wrong, or fugues are actually simpler to compose than other music I’ve done before. It is because they require the melody to be going constantly, which means I can start by making a scaffolding of melody, and then hang the rest of the music off that. This is probably a good way to go regardless of the ‘type’ of composition being done; i.e. actually have some musical material marking out sections, rather than just empty bars or written words, or (worse) nothing at all.

Next Wednesday, I will upload both sheet music and a recording of myself playing it. So there.

Passive voice draft recording

I don’t feel like notating this properly right now, so I sort of learned it and made a recording in 15 minutes, just to prove that it exists.

Thoughts about passive voice

It is time for another composition. I’ll stick with the active/passive thing, so it’s time for passive voice!

I want to start with a very small motif, and change the world around it. In active voice, the main motif was only 4 notes, but they were spread across the scale and had a lot of rhythm so it seemed more complex. To get a really simple theme I may only use 3 notes which are close together, C D E, and only crotchets and minims. The melody should stay in the same pitch, and never vary in rhythm: the melody will stand still. The accompaniment will move around making it feel like the melody is changing.

One thing I need to be more careful about this time is progression of chords; the last one had a jarring transition in the middle because I thought I was writing a simple major-minor transition but accidentally moved to a different tonic pitch (whoops).

Another thing I want to do with this is give myself enough time to polish it afterwards. Therefore there will be 2 due dates: draft due 8th August, and final due 15th August. Hopefully there will be a recording as well, but I promise nothing.

Active voice score

Here is the final score for the Active Voice exercise. I did not have enough time to write one for passive voice, that will come by next Wednesday.

Op 5 Active voice – Full Score

I think this is my best work yet, as it should be. My thinking about this exercise has developed a lot since the previous post. It did not work for me to take the exercise literally, so I had a better idea: In active voice motifs would change, ‘causing’ the context to change, while in passive voice the motif would stay put and the context would change around it.

Things I like about this piece:

  1. It is possible for a person to play.
  2. The rhythm, melodies, and chords are not too inaccessible.
  3. The different parts flow together without too much disjointedness.
  4. The effect of morphing chords between hands bars 10-14, I’ll definitely develop that more in the future.
  5. The “counterpoint” bars 16-18, mainly because I haven’t much experience with counterpoint.
  6. The continuous bass note with changing chords bars 19-25.
  7. The broad, flat chord in bar 26 which reminds me of having the ground disappear from underneath, leaving you to fall…

I was considering writing what I dislike about it, but that won’t be much help until I have more experience writing music. Vielleicht later on I will do this exercise again and the motif/context idea will come through more clearly.