Friday, February 25, 2005

Theory Lesson! With Lots of Exclamation Points!

Today was Music Theory. We focused on Adagio Thing for the whole lesson. Here are a few things Vance (my theory teacher) said (paraphrases):

1) Adagio Thing sounds very Schumann-esque and romantic. I told him later that I've been listening to two- and three-instrument pieces to get an idea of "what Piano should be doing while the other instruments are singing," and that my favorites were the Brahms violin and cello sonatas.

"Ah," he said. "Then your choice of having Piano play more of an accompanying role at the beginning makes sense."

2) He seemed impressed with my bumbling, ignorant little attempt at composing ... and said IT SHOWS PROMISE. That is more than I expected to hear, so I am thrilled! Even if he was just saying that to make me feel good, it definitely did the trick!

3) I told him I felt like I needed more of a structure within which to work. Right now, I seem to be wandering through the woods, saying things like, "Ooh, this looks like an interesting path ... let's go this way!" and then "Let's follow this other path for awhile! Are we modulating? Neat!" But now that I've wandered into the woods, I need a trail, a line that I stick to so that I'm not just completely aimless, with no sense at all of structure.

So Vance suggested using a "song" format: basically making my current melody (the first part) the "A" section, and then having a "B" section and then going back to the "A" section. He gave suggestions for more complex "structures" I could try, but I told him that the song structure is just fine with me. My real "goal," if you can call it that, is to gain some ease in using secondary dominants, secondary diminished sevenths, and augmented sixths in my writing. So it won't be a big challenge to use them later, you see. Also, as always, I am working on harmonic movement and exploring the sense and feel inherent in the movement of a chord in one scale degree to a chord in another. So the simpler "song" structure would be perfect.

So, for next week, I'm going to work on the "A" section. I'll be following a relatively strict "form," with 4 measures to establish the key (F), then 4 measures to work my way toward the V of the key (C), then 4 measures to work my way back to the I (F), and then 4 measures to wrap it up before moving on to the B section.

And Cello is going to have the whole "A" section to herself (with Piano accompanying, of course). Clarinet doesn't come in till the "B" section. The part I've written for Clarinet is actually going to come in much later in my next draft. Which will be cool, because that's when I go from F to G minor ... and it will be good to have established the key of F in Section "A" with the movement from I to V to I.

Vance also gave me some ideas about how I can have the B section contrast with the A section. Some things to consider were:

- Changing tempo
- Changing the key
- Changing the melody
- Further exploring the different "voices" (Piano, Cello, and Clarinet)
- Some combo of all of these

The 4-measure "chunks" within the A section can all contrast with each other as well, in one several ways, which include:

- variations on the melody
- repetition of motives and echoing of motives from one voice to another

It was so exciting. It's like each suggestion or idea was a real person, a fascinating person, and suddenly I had all these fascinating people in my midst, but no time to get to know any of them. So I absolutely cannot WAIT to get home and start to get acquainted with all of the ideas that were generated today.

I am SO EXCITED about this!!!


Kim said...

Waterfall, that is so very cool! Having someone to talk to you about your "characters" who seems a little familiar with them must be such an encouragement!

oceanskies79 said...

This is so exciting. Now I wish that I was more knowledgeable in music theory to be more able to appreciate the process of composition. Sounds so cool. All the way, Waterfall.

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