Author Topic: Septet  (Read 1090 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Septet
« on: April 03, 2019, 04:10:52 PM »
Here's a piece I've been working on, off and on (but lately pretty much "on") for a few months  I guess it's safe to call it "in progress" now.  It's currently for flute, oboe, bassoon, and string quartet, and will probably stay that way. I don't yet know if it is a stand-alone piece or the first movement of something - probably the latter.

Mvmt I audio - https://app.box.com/s/buhkl6msrwt0d8i8n4p6a8trozfcluy2
Mvmt I score - https://app.box.com/s/jt3is056v29q1ces76yth3yh1hxcfmyz

Mvmt II audio -https://app.box.com/s/rr8p1h14lhqyf591l0nq2ikkjhmunfqf
Mvmt II score - https://app.box.com/s/qjraogkducx4bxue1ng4dtubavb4tavz
(Last update - June 10 )

Tonally, it started out as mostly quartal, but I've tweaked it enough that that's no longer an accurate description.

Structurally, it has ended up vaguely like sonata form, but it has some aspects of rondo and even ritornello in it (but without the tonal relationships implied by any of those forms).  It could sort of be mapped out into-ABCBA-coda.  The "C" section consists of a contrapuntal bits distantly related to "A", interrupted by fragments of "A" at cadential points.  Longer fragments of "A" (and/ or fragments of the introduction) serve as transitions between the contrapuntal sections.  In the middle of "C" there is a short fugato consisting of just a 4-voice "first entry".  What should be the first episode turns into another (non-fugal) section, but with the fugue's subject making multiple brief appearances.    (It was fun to write, but I don't know if it works very well.)

The "B" section, in both appearances, has nothing to do with the "A" theme and makes no thematic contribution to the rest of the movement.  However, added together they make up about a third of the piece so they have some importance all on their own.  Should I shorten them? 

Any comments are welcome.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 12:58:00 PM by Patrick O'Keefe »

mjf1947

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,074
  • Karma: 134
Re: Septet
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2019, 06:28:46 AM »
Patrick,

I very much loved your intricate play on the thematic material .... overall it's a wonderful composition.

I have one observation though, I think the work could be more "tight".  The themes are very expansive - some judicial editing I think would enhance the overall performance.

Mark

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 08:58:55 AM »
... I think the work could be more "tight".  The themes are very expansive - some judicial editing I think would enhance the overall performance.

If you are referring to the "B" section - the slow part - I absolutely agree!  I caught myself trying to write a slow movement.  I need to make some cuts there.  And the section starting at rehearsal mark H or a few bars earlier (at about 4' 35") needs to be shortened. 

Any other specific places?

Jerry Engelbach

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 429
  • Karma: 32
Re: Septet
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 11:43:12 AM »
It's a wonderful piece, Patrick.
 
I agree that the expensiveness of the last part feels just a little mushy. I don't know that it needs cutting — I love the material. Perhaps just more of an arc, a crescendo that then comes down and speeds to a conclusion.
 
Cheers,
Jer
Finale 26
NP3
GPO 5
JABB 3
iMac Mojave

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 12:06:36 PM »
Thank you for your comment, Jerry.  I was busily deleting bits when I read your post and decided I'd cancel out of my changes.  I think it needs a little pruning, but I agree I need to do a better job with the material that's there.

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 03:57:41 PM »
I've made  a few changes - addressing some of the comments and changing some harmony.  More pruning will follow soon (I hope).

whitebark

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 396
  • Karma: 24
Re: Septet
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 09:47:20 PM »
I enjoyed listening to your Septet, Patrick. Your counterpoint and harmonic techniques are impeccable, and create a lively, smooth-flowing piece of music.  Nice use of the instruments, everything sounds well-balanced. The score looks good, although I was surprised to see that you used parentheses around the courtesy accidentals. Is that done any more?

Looking forward to your next revision...

Jay

gogreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
  • Karma: 57
    • Art on Facebook
Re: Septet
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2019, 05:59:35 AM »
Very nice composition, Patrick. I liked the interplay among the instruments and, in spots, the rhythmic treatment of the melodic lines. Your legato lines are nicely crafted, too. I admit, though, the piece plodded a bit for me up to about measure 62. I thought you might be moving to a contrasting staccato and louder section there, but after about measure 62 you took the piece elsewhere (which still was pleasant). I might also make the flute part a bit louder on the playback.

Nice work! A live performance would be great to hear!

Art

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2019, 09:08:05 AM »
I was surprised to see that you used parentheses around the courtesy accidentals. Is that done any more?
Ah yes, courtesy accidentals.  I've found this a a no-win situation, regardless of the current rules, because some players have strong opinions.  I have been castigated for not having them in parentheses because that looked like a mandatory accidental implying a missed key change.  I've also been castigated for including any courtesy accidentals at all because that was an insult to the player's knowledge of the rules.  Since I don't know the attitudes of the unknown future performers I've settled on putting them in parentheses so they are obviously "courtesy".  It wastes a bit of real estate but I'm not aware of another downside (other than irritating some of the performers).

Anything related to courtesy accidentals is, of course, a problem only during sight reading, but the first reading is not a good time to irritate a performer.  :) 

I'll check what Gould has to say on the matter.

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2019, 09:22:54 AM »
I admit, though, the piece plodded a bit for me up to about measure 62.
Hmm.  I'm guessing you meant measure 72 since 62 is midway through the short transition from the slow part to a return of the initial theme.  That slow section was supposed to be sort of lyrical and floating.  I certainly didn't intend it to be plodding.  Maybe I can improve it.  I can see how the "A" section could feel plodding.  I struggle making homophonic music move; I seem to be better at contrapuntal music (although I tend to make contrapuntal hash according to traditional rules of counterpoint).  Maybe I'll remove the repeat.  It will at least get past that part more quickly.


Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,002
  • Karma: 229
  • B.FA (composition) M.Mus (composition)
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Septet
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2019, 11:39:57 AM »
let me give you an example for courtesy accidentals, drawn from recent experience.

In the 1st movement of my Concerto Grosso, at one point, there is a B natural in the bass part. But the implied harmony above SEEMS to require a Bb. The bass players came to me with questions about the note. In this specific example, while there is no Bb previous to that measure, and thus no actual need for a courtesy accidental at all, I still placed a B natural in parentheses to indicate "yes, this note really is a B natural".

otherwise, I always follow the rule that a courtesy accidental is required if that note was altered within the distance of one full measure, sometimes even the full duration of two measures (for example, the 1st beat of one measure is altered, and the last beat of the subsequent measure is not, I'd insert a courtesy accidental.)

I never use parentheses on courtesy accidentals unless they are very very specific cases (like that in the aforementioned bass part).
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Michel.R.E

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,002
  • Karma: 229
  • B.FA (composition) M.Mus (composition)
    • Les Éditions du Dos Blanc
Re: Septet
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2019, 04:52:19 PM »
two minor critical comments:

1) I'd have liked to hear the woodwinds dominate every once in a while. it's very "string heavy". don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful textures in the string parts... but it would be nice to give a few of those moments to the woodwinds too.

2) The end COULD have been lengthened a bit to prepare the final measure. I'm talking just a few measures, something that off-sets the end from the rest.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2019, 10:08:37 AM »
Thank you for your comments Michel.

1) I'd have liked to hear the woodwinds dominate every once in a while. it's very "string heavy". don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful textures in the string parts... but it would be nice to give a few of those moments to the woodwinds too.
Oops.  I went in the other direction.  At about 8 measures after H I swapped wind lines into the strings.  (Actually, it needed a timbral change there, but it added to the imbalance you noticed.)  I'll see what I can do.  At the very least, I'm thinking of making this the 1st movement of a multi-movement piece and was already planning on having the 2nd movement start with an extended part for winds.  But that doesn't address your point.

2) The end COULD have been lengthened a bit to prepare the final measure. I'm talking just a few measures, something that off-sets the end from the rest.

Good idea.  I'll give it a try.

Patrick O'Keefe

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 313
  • Karma: 20
Re: Septet
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2019, 11:51:14 AM »
I've removed the repeat of the "A" section.  The pseudo-exposition is now an ABA for rather than AABA.  I'm not sure this is a good idea since the B section is so much longer than the A section.  I may undo this change.

I've tried giving the winds a bit more prominence in several places:
  • In the B section - where the winds were already important - the stings eventually drop out leaving just the winds.   When this section reappears later on, the string accompaniment disappears but the 1st violin remains as a 4th member of the "melodic" ensemble.
  • The fugato now starts with a 3-voice exposition -  winds.  After a 4 bar non-fuguey bit (taking the place of an episode), the original 4 voice string entry appears, but since there are now 3 or 4 voices spread across all 7 instruments, the string-heavy effect is lessened (to my ears).
 
I have not yet changed the courtesy accidentals.

Update:
I made some minor changes to the fugato and very minor tweaks the coda. 

Update #2.
I meant to mention that the tweak to the coda was a disaster, but I probably won't have time to try again for a couple days.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 09:46:39 PM by Patrick O'Keefe »

RJB54

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,108
  • Karma: 46
Re: Septet
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2019, 07:27:05 AM »
I finally had time to listen to this. I like the basic material, the motives are interesting, the orchestration of the second version (I didn't have a chance to listen to the first version) works well with the string/wind contrasts.

However, in toto, it feels a bit 'samey' to me. You have the eighth-sixteenth-sixteenth motive all over the place. You could get some development going and increase the variety by changing that motive around a little here and there. Change it to an eighth note triplet in spots, for example, or have it be sixteenth-sixteen-eighth, or change the melodic dyad into a three note arpeggio, and so on. This would liven up the motive and help keep it from getting repetitive.

All in all, though, a good, enjoyable, piece.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
Frank Zappa