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Another ABA piano thingy

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Alex O'Hagan, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. Hey guys! here's another little piano sketch i wrote this week. the transition sounds like a bit too much at the moment but I think if its orchestrated right it could work (flutes on trills with harp/strings on the lower run?). what do you guys think?

  2. Great job! Personally reminds me of some Final Fantasy music, specifically FF IX. I really liked this. Love the subtle change in mode with your A theme. Just a hint of variation

    If I'm not mistaken this is just ABAB as I don't think you did anything different in the second time around? If you plan to, you could really open the door up for some fun development and even further modulations.

    Suggestions for further sketching on your second/third time around your melodies, if you were interested. I hope I'm not intruding too much on your compositional process/sketching by throwing some stuff at you.
    Things to try and experiment is counter-point in this piece, specifically in the lower register. You have a lot of fun dancing and jumping around your harmony which is quite fine and enjoyable. On the second time around, it would be interesting to hear development with inversions and different harmony to create some interesting counterpoint to your themes.

    Also in the B theme, you could always go for a rule-breaking Fugue of sorts which could be fun.

    Very fun and quirky piece. Great job once again.
    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  3. #3 Alexander Schiborr, Oct 5, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
    Hej Alex,

    Cool piece. Well a few thoughts about mood devices and development here. I think the track is catchy, but also don´t forget to stick a bit longer to one harmonic device and therefore explore it a bit further or simply a motivic idea before switching gears.

    For instance. You present or set the mood in the first couple of seconds with that melody which presents one trope or mood specifically a bit in the ballpark of that corky witch in a hut thing, almost some dancing dwarfs thing. All fine, but then you present another device which is more a kind heroic conclusion (also think about does this conclusion fits really the harmonic language before? Does it? You can do that heroic conclusion but it sounds to me like 2 very different devices put togther as they imo don´t belong together that "good"). I heard that conclusion in your other tracks too and I know you like it and there is nothing wrong about to like that silvestrian conclusion but also don´t forget, it is a harmonic device and always think about if that is really suitable for the mood of the track or the idea beforehand. Otherwise it becomes maybe comical, unintentionally.

    However directly after that, you jump back to your first mood, then quickly go again into the more heroic latitude and then you take that and explore it more until 26 seconds with a couple of variations (which I personally like!). There is this unbalance between the length of both devices where I am not sure where your focus is exactly. So the question is: Is that witchy thing in the beginning just a kind of thing which might be obselete? Because you switch so fast to ther other device and it simply doesn´t establish as beeing that important.

    Then you go into your b-section, you modulate it twice before you go back to your a section and the whole chunk repeats again. The b Section is also pretty busy, maybe an idea would be to work with contrasts. And then you return back and repeat it all over again as Dillon said correctly it might be an idea to think about development.
    I mean for video games you can do that, and they do that pretty much the same way as they simply loop the material after 50 seconds and start ovdr again. Now here comes the risk that the listener simply dials out mentally paying more attention to your track, you know?

    A few developmental ideas thefore:

    a). present parts of your motif but with a different conclusion (tail) or simply incomplete to present then something additonal.
    b). present it in a chordal way, what are the chord stacks there? Think about what these chord relations are and use them to do something with them.
    c). minor vs. major. You can switch motifs simply by trying out different tonalities
    d). Reharmonize them. Try out switching one or the other chord. (I think of third relations here in your case)
    e). Tempo: Try out doing contrast by using halftime over the same tempo, for instance you can present the same motif simply in a different way by slowing it down.
    f). contour of your melody: Think about leaps vs. stepwise motion. When your contour of the melody is very stepwise, think about what happens if you expand it and go away from the stepwise technique.
    e). Registers. You are more or less with both a and b Section in the same ranges on your keyboard. Composition is always connected to orchestrated because what you sketch out defines the choices for a later orchestration and using more registers can help the orchestration support the interest of your track later on.

    Also Take a bit more time establishing one mood before changing it so quick. ( Yeah I said that already) Also think about your first device is almost like a thing where it might have chance to be used simply as an acompaniment. Now when you think about it, you can football this melody down to the lower registers (left hand) so that it becomes "secondary element" and use a melody (right hand) to explore it further or to bring a kind questions and answer interaction with a melody which shouldn´t be fast but slower because the acompaniment is already busy enough.

    Also another thing: The whole melodic phrases are leaving not much space for any counterpoint elements. Sure stylisically the track is intended to be like that, I completely understand that and nothing wrong about that. But also after a while it gets a bit like well..too predictable and there is a chance that the audience simply don´t pay attention anymore that much as the track simply doesn´t bring anything new to the table.

    Now this all what I said is not to say that your track doesn´t work, it just to give you a few pointers which might help to sustain interest over a longer period of time lets say when you intend to write a piece of 2 minutes or even longer.

    Overall You are doing good here my young spound and your grounds are set really good and I think you have talent and its good to see you practising that A/B-A/B structures.
  4. thanks man! I've been kinda goin for that sound like final fantasy, Zelda, kingdom hearts kinda thing. I love how they have all those simple AAB tracks that just loop over and over but somehow don't make you want to shoot yourself lol. (don't know if I really accomplished that yet)

    yep I really only wrote an A and B section, and then looped it to show that it works with a repeat. I want to take the couple themes I've written recently, and structure them into full tracks in a video game loop style (maybe an AAB with an intro, and have it develop a bit in each repeat?) any thoughts on that kind of structure would be awesome!

    Nah not at all man, I'm open to all suggestions! I will definently add some counterpoint elements in the repeats, along with some variations in the harmony. thanks for the tips!

    I really like that idea. I'm going to have a hell of a time trying to write something like that, but hey fuck it that sounds cool.

    Thanks a lot I appreciate the feedback!
    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  5. Hey what's up Alex, thanks for the detailed feedback, I've started orchestrating this sketch a little bit, and the change in mood right in the beginning has started to bother me a bit. that "heroic conclusion" type thing is definently one of my fall back devices that I find myself doing a little to much lol. i think this came from taking too long to finish this theme, so I started rewriting and making things more complicated than they really needed to be on the first presentation of the idea.

    this made me laugh because i was literally thinking of a witch in a hut while writing this beginning part.

    Yeah I've been trying to accomplish the same kind of thing that a good video game loop has with the A and B sections, but I would also like to turn these into full pieces with some development and variation. and also I agree this might be a little distracting as a loop because of the B section and how busy everything is.

    your right about that, I've been running into this problem especially in the repetition/ variation of the main idea. it made me think about something Mike said in his counterpoint master class, that sometimes you just have to separate the counter element from the actual melody. I feel when writing on piano I tend to make the melody un-necessarily busy, instead of making room for counter point. something about the piano sound makes me want to fill up all the space with notes lol.

    I've been slowly working through all the different development ideas you gave me, and now I have something to come back and look at when I'm stuck later. thanks very much for the all the feedback, this is great.

    here's a rough sketch of the orchestration I was thinking about.
  6. so I spent way to much time messing around with this thing and I can't take listening to it anymore lol. here's the orchestrated version. I'm gonna go back to writing and focusing on developing simple themes into full tracks.
  7. Sounds lovely, well done! The melody starting around 0:25 sounds very familiar to me. I have a hunch that I recognize it from the soundtrack of Kingdom Come: Deliverance. But I'm not sure.

    @Alexander Schiborr: Thanks a lot for your in depth reply, lots of good advice for me to learn from too!
    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  8. hahaha my brother has been playing kingdom come deliverance non stop for the last two months so its very possible that i accidentally lifted something from that soundtrack, im gonna listen to it and see if I can find what your talking about. thanks Martin!
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.

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