Author Topic: Duet Viola Piano  (Read 79 times)

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mjf1947

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Duet Viola Piano
« on: May 22, 2020, 12:55:39 PM »
As I am finishing up "The Home Coming" I began a new project.

This is my initial beginning sketch; so a new journey begins .... hopefully with a satisfying conclusion.

Feedback always welcome.

Mark

PS: Hopefully, I'll post the finished (if anything ever gets really finished) "The Home Coming" soon. 



« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 12:58:04 PM by mjf1947 »

Michel.R.E

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 01:49:13 PM »
hey Mark,
a good start.

a few comments (yeah, yeah).
The left hand chord in measure 1, and the right hand chord in measure 3, are playable arpeggiated as written, but at that tempo, it will be uncomfortable.
the problem with both chords is that you are leaving the widest open space between the 4th and 5th fingers.
Normally, a comfortable chord is one where the widest space is between the 1st and 2nd fingers (thumb and index).
Add to the somewhat uncomfortable position (the chords are actually not playable without some arpeggiation) the tempo and the required smoothness  that would be desired on those arpeggiated chords... the result will probably not be what you're hoping for.
leaving out the F in the 1st chord, and the lower of the two Fs in the 2nd chord renders them perfectly playable.

I see a number of 10ths in both left and right hand. That already severely limits who can or cannot play the piano part. A 10th still remains a wide interval for the average pianist. avoid having rapid figurations that include a 10th interval.

Viola part:
an exercise for getting used to how bowing functions on a string instrument: mime the movement of your bow going down and up.
generally, and this is a very lax rule, but still, GENERALLY, string players will try to set down beats as down bows.
so you start on the first note with a down.
a note tied into the 1st beat of a next measure will also be down bow, since the 1st beat is a... you got it, down bow.

measure 9 there's a string crossing (the bow has to go over another string without actually playing it) between the low F and the high Bb. it's not impossible, but you have to be clear here. do you want the natural little break that would happen from that string crossing? if you really require that those two notes be played without a break between them, then add a slur. IF you add a slur, then I'd suggest also slurring the last two notes of that measure. This makes a nice even pair: down bow, then up bow.

This means that at measure 10 you'd slur together the two quarter notes. again, makes a nice even pair down bow, up bow.

at measure 12, I would suggest changing the bowing to something a bit shorter on beats 3 and 4. have the 16th notes go 4x4.
doing 8 notes in one bow will not place the bow in the correct position for the next measure's initial down bow.

NOW, the question.
measure 13, those staccato notes, do you really want them to be played spiccato/saltando? (a bouncing bow type of staccato)
if so, then Id modify the articulations a bit as well as the slurring.
If you really only want detached (which is what the notation implies, if the tempo is slower), no problem, leave as is.

However, if you want a bouncing saltando, then this requires that all saltando notes be up bow. So:
Add a staccato to the 1st 8th.
Slur the two 16ths together. (up bow)
Slur the Bb to the C, add a staccato to that C.
Slur the next two 16th notes.
Leave the first 16th note of the final group alone, but slur the last three 16th notes together.

Any slurred staccato notes will then be up bow, AND played saltando.

The same pattern more-or-less repeats at measure 17, so slur together the dotted 16th notes. leave the 8ths alone, but add a staccato dot to them.

Measure 14.... what exactly are you looking for as an effect here?
As written, the initial 8th note will be bowed, the bow will stop (cutting it short), then the bow will continue in the same direction to play the dotted quarter.

You could include it in the saltando grouping from the previous measure. (you'd then remove the slur on beat one of measure 14), the dotted quarter would be down bow.

I suspect you want it included in the saltando grouping, rather than bowed with the dotted quarter.


Musically:
I get the whole "independence of voices" thing going on, but, it's a bit much at times.
There are a LOT of triplets of different values set against regular, dotted, and syncopated rhythms.

How about a few spots where, rhythmically, the viola and piano actually play together?
Just because it's a piece for two instruments doesn't mean they cannot share some rhythmic material.

for example, measure 11 into 12, why not have the viola's notes match (more or less) the rhythms of the piano part?
that quarter note triplet that straddles the barline could, instead, be
two eighths, last one tied into measure 12.
then two eighths again in measure 12, followed by a quarter.
it's a nice regular rhythm,  but with JUST enough differentiation from the piano part to set it apart (due to the tied notes).

The last two beats of measure 12 would be a spot to include something in the viola part that has a freer, more cadential feel to it... so why not make it a very irregular passage? like a free upward then downward arpeggio/scalar passage, that takes up, I don't know, 11 or 13 notes? (you'd place a fermata in the piano part)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 02:28:52 PM by Michel.R.E »
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gogreen

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 02:21:00 PM »
Mark: This initial idea sounds promising. I would have preferred a much more pronounced slowing in measures 4-5, and the staccatos in measure 13 seem out of place. I like the dreamy fluid quality you created, and I hope you contrast this with a more staccato and more tutti section. And with only mp and mf dynamics (plus two hairpins), I hope you go for a much wider dynamic range when this piece is fleshed out.

I'll be interested to see where you take this piece.

What led you to start a duet for viola and piano? Just curious about the origins of works.

Art

mjf1947

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 04:26:30 PM »
Quote from: gogreen link=topic=2500.msg26835#msg26835

What led you to start a duet for viola and piano? Just curious about the origins of works.

Art

[/quote

Art,

This is how the piece started.  I played an Ab scale of the Oboe with a D natural.  I played about with it for a while - shifting melodies about.  I liked what I heard.

So I wanted to write something, first for Oboe with that tonal quality.   Then I added a piano  line.  There was something strangely inviting about the harmonies.

After a while ... I felt the Oboe didn't have the sonority that I wanted with the feeling of the piece so I first tried a solo violin....that didn't do it for me.  I needed something with more depth so I changed to a viola (maybe a cello?).

The music called to me - it has a mysterious foreign flavor. The strings felt more aligned with that metal image.

Mark

mjf1947

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 04:30:49 PM »
Michel,

Thank you for providing such a wonderful critic of my initial undertaking.

You provided me with a great plan of action ...... something to dig my teeth into immediately. 

I look forward to working on this piece and sharing with other on the forum and with my mentor.

With such guidance and encouragement .... I will myself forward!

Mark

Michel.R.E

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 05:01:33 PM »
I made a quick and dirty "guide to bowing".
it doesn't contain everything, obviously.
I have 3 textbooks JUST on bowing, so it's actually a HUGE part of string technique.

just remember that the bow itself has a specific length, that how long a note is is partially dependent on its volume, that where you start a note on the bow (are you right at the heal? right at the frog? in the exact middle?) will affect how many notes can follow.

"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"

sandalwood

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 05:25:55 PM »
Mark this sounds definitely worth pursuing. I don't know if you envisage this as the opening but I think it could be an inner section, as well. I imagine the other sections could be contrasting but not some triple, cheerful stuff contradicting with the solemn, pensive atmosphere here. Just some ideas! :)

gogreen

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 05:53:17 PM »
Quote
This is how the piece started.  I played an Ab scale of the Oboe with a D natural.  I played about with it for a while - shifting melodies about.  I liked what I heard.

So I wanted to write something, first for Oboe with that tonal quality.   Then I added a piano  line.  There was something strangely inviting about the harmonies.

After a while ... I felt the Oboe didn't have the sonority that I wanted with the feeling of the piece so I first tried a solo violin....that didn't do it for me.  I needed something with more depth so I changed to a viola (maybe a cello?).

The music called to me - it has a mysterious foreign flavor. The strings felt more aligned with that metal image.

Interesting Mark. Thanks.

Art

Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2020, 09:08:35 AM »
Mark,
 
I like your opening theme on the viola. It engages me immediately.
 
My full attention is on it, so I don't really notice all the detail in the piano. Maybe the latter could be simplified to (1) set up a rhythm against the viola, (2) coincide with the viola, and (3) do a call and response with the viola.
 
I was able to play the piano part with some difficulty (I'm not much of a sight reader, but I'm referring to the intervals). With a stretch in the left hand I can reach white note tenths and most minor tenths. With the right hand I can't go beyond a ninth, and that only with certain note combinations. Makes me wish I were Art Tatum. Measure 14 is particularly problematic.
 
Tenths do provide beautiful resonance underneath. Perhaps they could be distributed between the two hands.
 
Cheers,
Jer
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 09:15:09 AM by Jerry Engelbach »
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SallyS

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2020, 10:12:13 AM »
An interesting start Mark. Good luck with it and I'll look forward to hearing more of it later. Michels comments are very in depth... and very interesting for me as well. Thanks for sharing the guide to bowing Michel.

mjf1947

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2020, 12:00:58 PM »
Hi all .... thanks for the feedback which I take very seriously. 

Many of the suggestions are and will be incorporating in the piece.

I have some ideas for a mid-section ...which will be dance like.

Mark

amdg

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2020, 01:53:33 PM »
Hi, Mark:

I, too, will offer good wishes for a promising start.  The complexity of your material and handling of it seems to be developing quite a bit over the last few years.  I shouldn't be surprised, though, with the feedback you receive on this forum.  This piece seems to be well on its way.

As far as the tenths go, I can handle most of them pretty easily -- even with the onset of some good old arthritis setting in.  However, in measure 12, for example, the lower notes on the black keys and the upper notes on the white make me break the notes into two tones struck as quickly in succession as I can.  This is the problem I have when playing Schumann or Brahms.  But I'm only an amateur!

Good luck with this and all your other projects.  I do enjoy seeing and hearing what you're up to.
Brian

gogreen

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Re: Duet Viola Piano
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 03:43:27 PM »
Quote
I have some ideas for a mid-section ...which will be dance like.
That sounds like an engaging, pleasant contrast. Go for it!

Art