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Topic: Sonata 1 in C

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  1. #1
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    Sonata 1 in C

    My composition instructor assigned me to write a short piano sonata in the classical style. Well, I just finished it – I’ll show it to him tomorrow.

    Besides the compositional goals of this I wanted to write something I could play with my feeble piano skills (no, this isn’t me playing).

    So, keeping in mind three things: 1. this is an exercise, I am not planning on spending my life writing in a 200 year old style; 2. since my instructor hasn’t seen or commented on this I can’t call it complete – I may make changes based on his suggestions; and 3. it isn’t meant to be virtuosic - let me know what you think. I am very curious in everyone’s opinions – if you like it why, if not, again why not, what is successful and what isn’t. Of course, I'm looking for critic of the composition, not the quality of the mp3 rendering.

    Sonata 1 in C mp3
    Sonata 1 in pdf

    Some of you may have seen the first movement of this, which I posted a couple of weeks ago.
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2

    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Your instructor may bark at you a bit for instances such as measure four where the V. chord resolves a suspension in the bass clef upward to the fifth, whilst leaving that second chord bereft of a rather necessary defining third.

    On the overall, though, minor stylistic technical faux pas aside -- this is a fine piano piece with some excellent moments in it.

    The writing also "falls well under the hand" -- very pianistic.

    And though you mention you're not looking for comments on the .mp3 rendition particularly, I think you did quite well with it. The use of dynamics really is first rate.

    Great job on this.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Tovan's Avatar
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    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Great sonata, definitely easy to listen, the dynamics are beautiful.
    Ke Yang (OMG I'm using mah name)
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    Note: You might have noticed there's nothing there, yet. Massive editing going on.

  4. #4
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    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Thanks David and Tovan.

    I made a couple of changes near the begining - taking out one or two parallels and correcting the resolution David mentioned. The links should go to the new files.

    And BTW – this isn’t cheating – I’m not in a graded class, I am taking instruction because I want to learn. Whether I learn from you or my instructor it comes out the same – I learn.

    Thanks again for listening and your comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  5. #5
    Senior Member valhalx's Avatar
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    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Bravo! Excellent work. You have a sound grasp of the classical style. And I will agree with others, your use of dynamics makes this piece. Let us know what the prof thinks.

    Bill
    Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them. Richard Strauss

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  6. #6
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    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Thanks Bill. Getting the right dynamics doesn't always come easy to me and getting the sequencer to play what I actually is even harder (it had the pp's about where I wanted the mp's). I had to go through the file with a fine toothed comb making sure all the dynamics were correct.

    Thanks for listenbing and for your comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7

    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to make any intelligent comments on the technical music theory side of the piece, but I hope you don't mind if I simply say that I enjoyed it very much. It seems elegant to me, and continually interesting, something I'd love to hear played live I agree your mp3 rendition was done very well (though I know your not particularly looking for comments on that, I hope you don't mind a compliment on it ). I'd be interested to know what your instructor says about it, so that perhaps I can share in learning by learning from your learning
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  8. #8

    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    First off: it is very pianistic and a pleasure to listen to.

    Now for my humble critique. :P
    The main thing I notice is the development section of the first movement introduces new material and is longer in proportion than the other sections. The A and B sections in the exposition of each around 10 bars, while the development is 33 bars. Although this is not wrong by any means, the development section didn't really become this much it's own until after Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament and his new "symphonic ideal". If you look at scores by Mozart you will notice that the development is usually rather short and plays on material from theme A and B. Now since some consider Beethoven both a classical and a romantic composer, this may not be a problem. If you were going for Beethoven's take on the sonata form, you did a fine job.
    On a minor note, the key change during the development is rather extreme and would definately have frazzled the ears of listeners back then. I like it, but is might be something your teacher will comment on.
    From a notation point of view, you might consider inserting a key change or two in places with lots of accidentals to make it easier to read.

    Very nice piece, and please take my comments in stride.

    Bravo!

    J
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9
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    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Thanks Sean.

    A few people have written that they are afraid to write critiques unless somebody specifically asked for one so that was why I was asking. Though it is nice to hear more than “nice job” I certainly not going to turn down anybody saying “nice job”!

    Anyway, thanks for listening and your comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  10. #10
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    Re: Sonata 1 in C

    Thanks Jess.

    I’m not trying to be strict classical (as may be obvious) so I’m not too concerned with some of the stylistic points as long as they work. For some of this I was thinking more towards Mozart’s age but for other parts, the development here in particular, I was thinking Beethoven.

    The material from the development actually came from a deleted codetta that was based on the second motive. The codetta was a little redundant and so I deleted it making the first half of the development sound almost like it is coming out of no where. I’m going to make a slight change to this, which will actually make it closer to the first theme.

    What concerns my more is the second half – going over this with my instructor I had to agree with him that the counterpoint part is very weak and needs to be redone. Here the modulations were a bit, well, not well done.

    I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m blowing off your comments and suggestions. I’m gathering suggestions and ideas from different directions before I start my revisions.

    Thanks for listening and commenting.
    Trent P. McDonald

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