Author Topic: Challenge: variations  (Read 4870 times)

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Ron

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Challenge: variations
« on: April 15, 2011, 10:02:40 AM »
I used to really enjoy the challenges on the "old" forum. So, I thought I'd welcome you here with a new one.

Variations are fun and a good way to get to know structure. A variation is taking a part of a given theme and transforming it in some way. You might augment it; change a few notes; vary the tempo and time signature; invert it; pick out some key notes or structures and make a new "theme" of them. The possibilities are almost endless.

Attached is the melody of an old English folk song. Your challenge is to harmonize it and write three variations. Use any instruments you wish, but keep the number to four or less.

As always: have fun!   ;D

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Ron
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mjf1947

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 07:12:43 AM »
Ron,

How about sending the little song in XML?

Mark

Ron

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 07:59:47 AM »
XML attached and I've posted a version with a suggested harmony to get folks off and running.

[attachments older than 60 days deleted for space]
Ron
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bandcoach

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 09:39:26 PM »
So at  the moment I have only written two variations, although some might say the first one is only a harmonisation, but listen and you might change you mind.

The second variation is more a meditation on the tones of Country Garden. A third is eluding me at the moment, but I will probably have it done by the weekend.

http://ww.bandcoach.org/composeForums/pdf/CGVariation1.pdf
http://ww.bandcoach.org/composeForums/pdf/CGVariation2.pdf
http://ww.bandcoach.org/composeForums/audio/CountryGardensVariation-01.mp3
http://ww.bandcoach.org/composeForums/audio/CountryGardensVariation-02.mp3
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 08:19:00 AM by Ron »

Ron

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 08:18:30 AM »
First, I trust you won't mind that I edited your URLs so that they worked. (You had http://ww.bandcoach....)

Though you have some interesting ideas here, I feel that you went on for too long with each. Five minutes of repeating the same basic stuff over and over is a bit much. In the first one, the drone is a nice touch, but, it gets tiresome after a while. It needs a break: a shift to the subdominant perhaps? a subtle change in the rhythm? or a rest from it for one of the repetitions?

The 2nd one has me falling asleep waiting for the next chord. Long drawn out chords work best is small quantities. You've lost our interest after the first pass through the tune.

For a set of variations I'd make tbe entire thing one composition. Perhaps starting with a statement of the theme and then morphing into variations immediately. As variations are a kind of showing off one's technical skills, I wouldn't keep at each variation for long--just enough to get the idea out there. Contrast each section with a different time signature, a different tonal centre, a different meter, etc.
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 12:05:57 PM »
Ron, this is a fun little challenge.
I'm leaving for Vancouver tomorrow for my trombone concerto's premiere, so I won't be back for another week.
I've started jotting down some ideas for this. I've always loved Country Gardens. it's a lovely tune, and a sprightly rhythm.

Stay tuned for my version in another week or two.
"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"

Ron

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 02:28:54 PM »
I'm looking forward to it Michel.

...and: enjoy your trip! I hope all goes well and that all the trombones are in tune.  ;)
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 06:52:10 PM »
ok, ok, ok, I couldn't resist.
I spent all afternoon working on this.

Recording: Variations on Country Gardens

Score: Variations on Country Gardens

Ok, it's a pretty standard harmonization of the theme, sort of in character with Percy Granger's version.
Follows three variations, per the challenge's quidelines.

1) Toccata
2) Arioso
3) Fugato

The first variation is relatively "modern", as is the 2nd.
The fuga is considerably more traditional.
"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"

Ron

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 08:22:40 PM »
Delightful. I especially like the fugue. I can tell you had fun doing this. Maybe I'll try my hand at it.
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 09:36:34 AM »
thank-you Ron.
I've actually enjoyed this so much that I've decided to continue the set of variations.
I am aiming for 12 variations.

Will post as I continue them.

(leaving later this afternoon, btw)
"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

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2011, 09:25:55 AM »
I'm back from B.C. (it was great), and will be posting more of these variations on Country Gardens as I get them done (I'm up to five of them, now).

I'm taking a rather improvisatory tack on these pieces, they're mostly for fun and giggles.
"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

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 01:51:54 PM »
I've been away from the forum for a while so am a bit late to the game.  Here are 3 very small variations Country Gardens - more window boxes than gardens. Three separate short compositions rather than  a "Theme and variations" piece.  (I know,  Ron,  you already complained about that to someone else.  You get to do it again.   :) )  
  • A little march for clarinet and piano
  • A waltz for wind quartet
  • A dirge for 'cello and piano

All 3 are basically ABACABA.  (Ron didn't include the "C" phrase but Granger did so I assume it's legit.)  No attempt to go beyond common practice here.

I purposefully haven't listed to any of the submissions yet - including Ron's sample.  I'll listen once I submit.

Country March mp3
Country March pdf

Country Waltz mp3
Country Waltz pdf

Country Dirge mp3
Country Dirge pdf

Pat

Edit:  Oops!  I had the wrong links.  Hopefully I've got the right ones now.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 05:12:12 PM by pokeefe »

johnc

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2011, 07:24:47 PM »
Here's my offering.  Pretty quiet spot, so don't know if anyone's still following this thread.

Sorry this doesn't completely follow the rules.

I left in some of my notes to myself.

Anyway, her ya go. 

My apologies in advance.  ;)

Thanks for posting this challenge.

John C

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Michel.R.E

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2011, 07:37:12 PM »
LOL
that was certainly different!

hey, at measure 67, did the organist suddenly grow an extra arm?
"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"

johnc

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Re: Challenge: variations
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2011, 11:33:47 AM »
Thanks Michel (i think??)

Yeah, wasn't really expecting it to be played, except by the little mice in our computers (who might not want to, as I think about it!)  So, figured an extra leg and arm or two was OK.

I have the new Sibelius program (Sib 7), which has some pretty decent organ sounds.  Thought I'd try a couple out.

John C