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Development Exercise

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Michael Lückgen, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. Hey Guys,

    I wrote a piece, which included all things I learned about horizontal development of a motif.

    I'm still unsure if the piece could benefit from more structure (because I start developing right away without stating the motif in it's fullest at the end and beginning)...

    Would love to hear your feedback!
  2. Very nice! I like the various colors and orchestration you use. I think that the piece would benefit from having a contrasting B theme with its own section, before returning to the A theme. I think that additionally you can do more things to develop your motif, like turning it backwards or upside down, or by composing a countermelody. This is a good start, and I look forward to see where this might go!
  3. Thanks for your feedback!
    Another Theme (And probably structure the piece in sonata form I guess?) and further developing techniques. Got it :)
    I will definitely try that on my next piece!
  4. You are most welcome! It does not necessarily have to be a Sonata form; a simple ABA could be just as effective, depending on your aims and intents here.
    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  5. What do you mean?
  6. Like applying different harmonies to the motif, making key changes, augment the motif (in the middle brass part) and do what I believe is called sequencing (repeating it higher and higher)
  7. Harmonies are *vertical*
    Augmentation (and diminution) as well as sequences (which can both ascend and descend) can indeed be used to great effect.
  8. Okay thanks for clarifying! I thought changing harmonies was horizontal development.
  9. Oh, so to focus on "Horizontal Development" we should write pieces without harmonies. Is that correct?
  10. Thus my question.

    Read it very literally: What do you mean?
  11. No, I was just clarifying an issue of nomenclature. I was simply pointing out that harmonies (in my understanding) are seen as a vertical phenomenon, not a horizontal one. I was not trying to say that Micheal should not use harmonies. I have never even seen the idea of development being restricted merely to the horizontal plane.

    I figured that since he mentioned working in the horizontal, he wanted to focus on specific techniques such as augmentation and diminution, retrogrades and inversions, and sequencing. I was trying to avoid confusion by clarifying the difference of the two terms, but it seems that I only created more confusion instead.

    I will let Micheal explain further what he meant, instead of trying to interject my interpretation.
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  12. I might have misunderstood one of Mike Verta's Masterclasses/UNLEASHED episodes here...

    My understanding was, that vertical development (like stacking instruments onto each other every 4 bars for example, or changing the orchestration) is of course also valid development, but not the sexiest way to do it.
    Horizontal development on the other hand is a cooler way and can be achieved by changing the harmony around the motif (so I thought), fragmentation, augmentation, diminution, sequencing, modulation and enhancing the motif (by more notes for example).

    So my intention was to focus on the horizontal development part, since I'm pretty new to this. I have only fiddled around with music a bit and am not an experienced composer.
    As you can hear I did a lot of different orchestrations (because I took that advice from Mike Verta's videos too), which is vertical development, but not the point of my exercise here.

    Learning that changing harmonies is vertical development helped me already (in terms of understanding the language of composition), but I did not understand Mike's videos or Ethan's comment as: "You shall not use vertical development".
    I get that both are valid, and in fact changing the harmonies is a personal favorite of mine when it comes to development.

    Anyhow, with my next piece I will try to incorporate all development techniques that I have learned so far and will bring in another motif.
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  13. I should back off and stop fucking with you both. I just realized you both are new here.

    Let me instead extend a warm welcome, and thanks for posting your piece, and both of you for your comments.

    See....I am just playing a game to make you think. That's all. But we don't know each other well enough yet, and it's hard
    to detect tone via the internet.

    Just poking with a stick to see if we can get an insight into anything. :)

    Ahh.....but aren't terms like contrary motion, oblique motion, parallel motion all terms to describe the horizontal motion of vertical sonorities?;)

    Once you have two different sonorities you have horizontal motion.

    Oh! :eek: Now we are getting somewhere. Let's talk about sexy.:D



    Look....I'll duck out and leave it all be. The reason for my stick probing is that it is very common and easy to have a "general" idea
    and think you (not you per se...more the universal you) have it mastered.

    Have you ever practiced a piece for a music lesson, thinking you have it down, only to show up and play like shit?
    The same thing can happen with composing. We think we know terms, or modes, only when poked with a stick does the house of cards fall.

    Keep on posting, please. Keep up the good work, and nice to have you (both) here

    Feedback on the material itself: The "motif" does not change until about: 43" into the piece. I would move it around quicker.
    Keep the Lydian feel, but move the motif.
    The F# over the F bass @ 32" is kind of a "clank". I can't say I really buy it. Try taking your motif down a 5th and listen to the difference.
    Your slow bass line holds you back and keeps things from "developing" as you are intending. Plus, if your bass line is always an outline of a clear diatonic scale then it will feel less developmental. One or two accidental changes make a big difference. That's why your F bass note is a pleasant surprise but is obscured by the F#. The F in the bass is the (horizontal) developmental note. (because it's not in G major or G Lydian)
    Ethan Toavs likes this.
  14. Thank you for your welcome and feedback :)
    That was very insightful and I'll try to bring it into my next piece!

    As for the F# over F, I really didn't hear it as a clank, but I understand that it should create a lot of tension there, which doesn't really fit.

    I think it is a bit clearer for me now, that I did not start horizontal development until 43". So I'll try to move the motif around earlier (and more) next time.
    But why keep the lydian feel? Wouldn't it be an even "greater" development when changing the mode?

    I certainly know that I still have a lot to learn, since this is the first piece of mine, which I tried to develop.
    These are some good tips that I will definitely try out!

    Thank you!
    Ethan Toavs likes this.
  15. Thank you for your welcome, Doug! I have no hard feelings over any misunderstandings.

    Are those terms not used to describe counterpoint? I could just be misunderstanding the terms myself, at this point, though.
  16. I do believe that this is just an issue of changing to much too quickly. You would not want to fundamentally change the character (lydian) of the motif this early. Moving the motif around and changing its character would be excessive at this point; it must keep some commonality with the theme.
    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  17. Sure, but why not learn to crawl then walk then run ?

    This is a very good answer. (nice one Ethan) You can change the mode, but it's now introducing more variables.

    What that old saying about a picture = 1000 words.

    Same with music I bet.

    Ok.... I took your motif but changed it. You'll hear clearly that it has the same gesture as yours but modified. Just so I step all over your theme. It
    would work fine with your motif too.

    I put in a solo piano of the motif naked. That's not really apart of the music. Just for our sake here. Then I wrote about 6-7 measures.

    Of course, this is just my take. Treat it like a buffet. Take what you want, leave behind anything that does not appeal to you.

  18. Thank you.

    That is a lovely use of the theme!
    Michael Lückgen likes this.
  19. Thank you for the example, your tips and the great discussion!
    It really helps me a lot in understanding the craft better.
  20. hey what's up Michael, good job on the development practice. i'm focusing on the same thing as you right now (learning how to move something forward and develop motifs and all that fun stuff.) i think the melody could be a little more clear in its presentation, as I can sing the first three notes and remember them, but after that it didn't really stick in my head. I think the rhythm of the second part of your melody sounds a bit like its dragging and I can't lock onto it.
    structurally I think it works tho IMO, it goes a couple different places and then you have that nice building section at the end which kinda brings it all together (I like that darker harmonization at 1:18 that was cool.)

    good job tho man, keep on writing and posting stuff
    Michael Lückgen likes this.

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