Author Topic: Song Cycle (cello & piano)  (Read 137 times)

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Tónskáld

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Song Cycle (cello & piano)
« on: November 01, 2019, 02:32:30 PM »
Hello, all!

Sorry to be such a stranger lately... I haven't had much time to compose or visit the forum, but I'm going to spend the next few weeks in music, hopefully churn out this song cycle for cello and piano.

This is the first movement of five. Haven't thought of a name yet... the inspiration was the rise and fall of empires. This movement represents the first stage: assimilation, acquisition, regionalization (something like that—depends on your source), so I tried to make it feel "disjointed," as if the themes slowly merge together. The harmony is constructed from "a mode of limited transposition"—it's symmetrical and there is no real sense of key, but still quite beautiful, in my opinion.

I recorded this live (keyboard rendition of the cello), so I apologize for the timing issues. I think you'll still be able to get a good feel for how it should sound. Please, let me know what works/doesn't work for you in this piece. Thanks in advance!

Jordan
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

mjf1947

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Re: Song Cycle (cello & piano)
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2019, 04:10:57 PM »
Oh so very beautiful~!  Haunting melody .......................

Wonderful interludes with the piano accompaniment - with interesting harmonic transitions.

Subtle but a driving force ....................

Mark

whitebark

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Re: Song Cycle (cello & piano)
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2019, 06:19:33 PM »
Ahh, that was lovely!  The cello melody was beautiful and the sparse piano accompaniment supported it well. Now I'll have to look up what a "mode of limited transposition" is.  Whatever, the harmonies created by it are effective in creating a longing, nostalgic mood.  Perhaps you could add more double stopping in the cello part, at least in the more intense parts - the ones that were there seems too few and felt like an afterthought.

Jay

Tónskáld

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Re: Song Cycle (cello & piano)
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2019, 08:58:10 PM »
Oh so very beautiful~!  Haunting melody .......................

Wonderful interludes with the piano accompaniment - with interesting harmonic transitions.

Subtle but a driving force ....................

Mark

Thanks, Mark! I enjoy using these altered harmonies along with a songlike melody... adds some color to the piece.

Ahh, that was lovely!  The cello melody was beautiful and the sparse piano accompaniment supported it well. Now I'll have to look up what a "mode of limited transposition" is.  Whatever, the harmonies created by it are effective in creating a longing, nostalgic mood.  Perhaps you could add more double stopping in the cello part, at least in the more intense parts - the ones that were there seems too few and felt like an afterthought.

Jay

Thanks, Jay! I'll keep those double stops in mind. I haven't worked out the other movements yet, but I didn't want this one to be too showy. Modes of limited transposition is the term Olivier Messiaen used. In semitone music (i.e., Western music), there are only seven mathematically possible scales (modes) whose intervals are perfectly symmetrical. Whole tone scales, where each note is separated by a whole step, is one such mode. I like using these modes because they give you a huge palette from which you can branch off into virtually any tonal key in unconventional methods. Plus, it gives the music this great "punchy" edginess.

Thanks for giving this a listen, guys!
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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Song Cycle (cello & piano), 2nd movement
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 06:32:25 PM »
And for your listening enjoyment—or repulsion—here is the second movement. I've titled this one "Astígnes," which in Old English means "ascension, rising up." Think of it as the "toddler stage" of life. (By the way, I decided to name the first movement "Waccan," which means "awakening.")

The idea behind this is that each movement begins with the same theme. This theme is developed more with each movement, culminating in the third movement (the golden age, age of maturity, etc.), and then becoming less so until the end. Somehow, in my brain, this is supposed to represent the rise and fall of empires—and perhaps the cycle of life. I've named this song cycle "Aldor," another strong Old English word (wish we still used it!) that means "life, vitality."

This again is a live recording with some ??? timing issues. My apologies. Please let me know what you find good or ill about this piece.

Thanks!
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

sandalwood

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Re: Song Cycle (cello & piano)
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2019, 06:47:26 PM »
I enjoyed this a lot, Jordan! It reminded me of the mood in the opening of Sibelius :) 4. I agree with Jay that the sparse accompaniment does a very good job. This is one touching "song" and I look forward to hearing the others in the cycle.

Whose cello is this, may I ask? Can you adjust the vibrato narrowness and speed independently?

Tónskáld

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Re: Song Cycle (cello & piano)
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2019, 06:54:24 PM »
Thanks, Reha!

The cello belongs to Spitfire Audio, their Solo Strings collection. I'm sure there are ways to adjust the vibrato and many other tiny details, but those ways are beyond my limited understanding. My keyboard mod wheel can control one effect at a time—in this case, I chose dynamics. For better or for worse, I guess. :)
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)

Tónskáld

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Song Cycle (cello & piano), 3rd movement
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2019, 11:21:55 AM »
Hello again, friends!

Here is the third movement—and the climax—to the song cycle I'm working on. Just finished it this morning. I'm calling this one "Hréđ," (pronounced hraydh) a sturdy Old English word that means "triumph, victory, glory." This movement represents the strength and vitality of a being or empire at the height of its power. I again use a symmetrical scale (Messiaen's 4th MoLT) to construct the harmonies and thematic progressions here. This particular scale yields a Middle Eastern sounding color (IMHO), so I hope you find it interesting. I apologize for the start-stoppy-ness of the recording... very difficult to accompany oneself on a recording, apparently.

Let me know your comments and critiques, please and thank you!

PS, I've also included the 2nd movement score/mp3 in the attachments, in case you missed it in a previous post.
Tools: Sibelius 7, Windows 10, Spitfire Audio VSL, Ivory Synthogy
Day job: Pharmacist
Composing/Arranging output: all musical forms except chamber
Goal: Write emotional, impressionistic works that move the soul and make one think; also trying to develop my own distinct style
Play: Piano (advanced), viola (intermediate), French horn & clarinet (student level)