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Speed writing exercise

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Bjarke Tan, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Hey I was wondering if I could get feedback on this speed writing exercise. It was composed in under two hours. But feel free to give brutally honest feedback on it anyways.
    I am currently experimenting between writing as quickly as possible and taking a lot of time on my pieces. as there is benefits to both.


    Attached Files:

  2. Cool piece man, I would just add a counter melody when the main melody rests.
    Bjarke Tan likes this.
  3. Hi bjarke That’s impressive to be able to write that much in two hours. I thought the piece was pretty cool, you seem to have a lot of developemental ideas and that’s awesome (that’s like my biggest weakness). One thing I would think about is that the piece starts very busy and fast and then kind of hits a lull in the middle and never really gets back up to that kind of energy again. I wonder if it might serve the idea better to start with the simple idea, develope it and then come back to the idea at the end with the fast arpeggiations and stuff. Just something that might be worth exploring.
    Thanks for sharing and keep up the writing man!
  4. Alex O'Hagan likes this.
  5. Begin working on modulation, and sequences that take you out of a single key.

    That would be the single biggest thing right now for taking your piece to a higher level of sophistication.

    Keep on working at it. You are doing good work.

    From the few pieces I have seen of yours when you get into a corner you have about 3 tools.
    Next piece I would advise to stop using them. Get out of your comfort zone.

    The ones I am referring to as comfort zones are

    Doubling your melody in octaves (Like bar 5)
    Scale runs of an octave (Like bar 10)
    Excessive use of ostinato, and in particular ones that fetish a single pitch.
  6. @Doug Gibson
    Thanks for the feedback. I will keep it in mind!
  7. Another point to mention:

    Don't leave all your counterpoint training behind when you are not writing counterpoint exercises.

    Look at the first note of each measure. All parallel octaves. It really holds back the "color" and forward motion of your piece.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  8. @Doug Gibson
    Alright. But all music doesn't have to be contrapuntal. Think of Mozart Alla Turca for example.
  9. I think Doug is aiming at getting you out of your comfort zone. Parallel octaves is something I've noticed in your pieces too, and while it's not a bad thing, it comes back to control. Counterpoint is an oft-used tool in every master's toolbox. Speedwriting with counterpoint would be a valuable skill (one I don't have).
  10. #11 Bjarke Tan, Feb 12, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
    @Rohann van Rensburg
    yeah I know but I just thought it was worth mentioning that not all music have to be contrapuntal. There is lot of good music out there that isn't contrapuntal. And i wasn't trying to compose something contrapuntal with this piece. That wasn't the goal at all. But I do try to use counterpoint in some of my other pieces i am working on. I am also reading counterpoint by walter piston at the moment.
  11. Doug is well-aware of that. The unique but sometimes difficult (at first) thing about this place is that feedback is given on an adult, no-frills, I-want-you-to-get-better kind of basis. It may come occasionally across as harsh, but what it actually is is simply honest, which is by far the most constructive kind when one's aim is to actually improve craft. That said, you don't have to defend yourself -- simply consider what's been said, weigh it, and keep at it. Many of the people giving advice here are much more competent than most, and are doubly generous with their time, so even if it's not in line with your aims at that particular moment, it's likely worth considering.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  12. #13 Bjarke Tan, Feb 12, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
    @Rohann van Rensburg
    I am well aware that "You're only as good as the harshest criticism you're willing to hear." Which I have tried taking to hearth, It just happens that my goal wasn't trying to compose contrapuntal music for the piece. I mean it's not forbidden to compose non-contrapuntal music right? isn't it fine to compose piano style music for piano like mozart did with alla turca? And I have been told before by my composition teacher that I need to work on counterpoint which I am specifically trying to do with other pieces so I am not trying to dismiss the importance of counterpoint. I just wasn't trying it at all with this piece. This piece was just a composition in a keyboard like style. (parallel octaves is often used in keyboard style music like in Liszt rhapsody 15, Wilde jagd and mozarts Alla Turca )
    I really hope that this doesn't turn into some drama that's not my goal.
    All i am saying is that counterpoint wasn't the goal but i am well aware of its importance which i try to use for my other pieces.
  13. I made a screencast which I hope will clear up any misunderstanding about my comment.

    For some reason, however, the audio from Sibelius was not captured. So I am posting the audio and notation here.

    The video will be up shortly. I explain and you can watch me put together the example too.

    I simply was trying to make you aware of other ways available to make variations on what you already have.



    Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 4.06.16 pm.png

    Link to audio

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/204353ebeeuxnj6/counterpoint in harmony.mp3?dl=0

    Video to appear shortly
  14. @Doug Gibson
    If I understand correctly a melody played in parallel octaves for example in the right hand like in most piano music is fine but parallel octave between two different phrases (one in the right hand and one in the left hand played at the same time) is what is avoided. Is that correct?
  15. #17 Rohann van Rensburg, Feb 14, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
    No worries, and no drama in the least. It was just difficult to tell from your post if you were offended, and my point is that Doug, likely more than most on this forum, is extremely well acquainted with the classical repertoire.

    @Doug Gibson Thanks for another insightful video. So is the idea, generally, that going to parallel octaves in bass and the melody sort of like going back to the root in a solo? Kind of a sense of putting a period on a sentence.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  16. Not 100%. I'll try again with another shorter video, and I hope I can find the right words to communicate what I intend clearer.

    Pretty much. Yes. It has other functions too, so I don't want to leave you with the idea that its ONLY for the end.

    Think Harry Potter for example.

    It also is a beginning as it clearly establishes your key. We get a pick up of just the note B and on the downbeat of measure 1 E in both the melody and Bass. That clearly signals we are in E. The next note G -lets us know it's Eminor. So by using the Bass and Melody note on the tonic on the down beat it "Establishes" our key/focal point.

    The next two measures avoid this. So we the melody returns it has a gravity to it. If he stayed with parallel octaves that would not work.

    Williams then uses the 6/4 chords (like in the speed writing exercise) to modulate really quickly. See they "establish" things really quickly. Which is why it gets boring if you don't move them.

    After we hear the main melody three times Williams jumps from E minor to G minor, to F minor the next, to A minor. So it this device works great for sequences and breaking out of a key, but feels tonal.

    So it has a few useful applications but it gets really boring when you just hang out with them.
  17. See if this helps at all. Sorry if I have trouble articulating the concepts I am trying to point to.

    Bjarke Tan likes this.
  18. Thanks a lot Doug for the explanation! I think that's something that will help me in my writing too!

    "This is why you shouldn't smoke crack, kids."
    Wait... what? :D

    I haven't watched the second video yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Thanks!

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