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Topic: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

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  1. #1
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    Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    The first draft of the fourth and final movement of my piano sonata in g minor is finished just a few hours too late to be done in 2006. Updated 4th Movement 9:30 PM 1/2 Updated again, 1/7/2007 - see new post for details

    In early 2006, while taking composition lessons, my instructor had me write a piano sonata. He seemed to be happy with it and we moved on, but I never was very happy with it. After I stopped my lessons I went back over the late 18th and early 19th century. Finally, a little less than a year later, I have finished the piano sonata I originally wanted to write. (The fourth movement of the new work is almost as long as all three of the old and in total the new one is 3 times longer, yet it took me half the time to write.)

    This is in 4 movements, not because I thought I needed 4 to express my ideas, but because I have had problems finishing large scale works so I set 4 movements as a goal. Also, I haven’t written a minuet/scherzo or a theme and variation movement (arguably 90% of my pre-GPO work is in theme and variation form).

    Now about this movement –

    I wrote a slow, dark introduction. Part of this is because I wanted the transition between the 3rd and 4th movement to mirror the one between the first and second. I had also decided I wanted a bright ending, not a dark one – heroic instead of tragic (it’s not really heroic, but…). The main theme is a march for wind-up soldiers, which is then followed by 5 variations and a coda.

    I’m sure it is very different from the finale you were expecting, but it fits my idea of the whole piece.

    Anyway, here it is –

    1st movement – Adagio – allegro con brio
    2nd movement – Adagio
    3rd movement – Scherzo & Trio/Allegro
    4th movement – Adagio – Allegretto - Allegro
    Updated version with longer intro and some tempo changes.
    Updated again - 1/7/2007

    I hope you enjoy.

    Here are the goals I set when I started:
    I wanted to write a large scale, multi-movement piece where all of the movements were inter-related. I wanted to be able to keep a listeners interest for the full 20 minutes (or whatever).
    I wanted to explore the forms, harmonies and ideas of the early 19th century and yet I wanted the piece to sound like a living piece of music, not a study of a long gone era.

    Anyway, do you think I succeeded in my goals?

    If you are interested, here is the piano sonata I wrote in early 2006 – Little Piano Sonata in C Major
    Last edited by trentpmcd; 03-25-2007 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Another revision to 4th movement - expanded intro
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2
    Senior Member June-Bug-Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    hey,
    nice piece a great start to the '1st movement' a real great score.
    The GPO piano is used perfectly in dinamics and tone,
    Overall Fantastic A Piece!!!

  3. #3

    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Trent, I listened to some of each movement. It is a lot of music to listen to so I havn't heard all of it yet. That is quite an undertaking to write something so large in scope. What notation software did you use?
    I liked what I have heard so far. I would like to write something like this, but I need to study more on the traditional forms and how they are used in Sonatas.
    Thanks for posting. -Jay

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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Quote Originally Posted by June-Bug-Dan
    hey,
    nice piece a great start to the '1st movement' a real great score.
    The GPO piano is used perfectly in dinamics and tone,
    Overall Fantastic A Piece!!!
    Thanks for taking the time to listen and comment. Working on my own it is often hard to know if I am on the right track, so its nice to get some applause, even smilie applause
    Trent P. McDonald

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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01
    Trent, I listened to some of each movement. It is a lot of music to listen to so I havn't heard all of it yet. That is quite an undertaking to write something so large in scope. What notation software did you use?
    I liked what I have heard so far. I would like to write something like this, but I need to study more on the traditional forms and how they are used in Sonatas.
    Thanks for posting. -Jay
    Thanks for commenting Jay. I know its a lot to ask to have people spend about 21 minutes listening, so I'm not surprised you didn't have time to listen straight through.

    I use Sibelius. In the past I played around with Overture and found it easy to use, but I like a few of Sibelius' features better. I exported a midi file and recorded in Cubase.

    In the last few months I listened to a huge amount of music, mostly Mozart, Hayden and Beethoven, and studied the scores when possible. I also read a few books that I highly recommend. “Classical Style” by Charles Rosen is a great book as is his book “Sonata Forms”. If you can only get one, read “Classical Style”.

    Thanks again for your comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  6. #6
    Senior Member June-Bug-Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Hey again,
    I only just had the time to listen to your final piece because i've been busy lately!!
    I think this may have been my favorite out of all four, it really seemed to atract my ears to hear more and more!
    Overall a great piece!!



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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Quote Originally Posted by June-Bug-Dan
    Hey again,
    I only just had the time to listen to your final piece because i've been busy lately!!
    I think this may have been my favorite out of all four, it really seemed to atract my ears to hear more and more!
    Overall a great piece!!


    Thanks! In some ways I was a little worried about the 4th movement since it isn't as "serious" as the others so I'm realy glad you liked it. BTW, I just this minute posted a slight revision to the 4th movement. There are only a few small changes so you won't gain much by listening again.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting again for an even bigger smilie applause.
    Trent P. McDonald

  8. #8

    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    You've struck a rich vein in the start of this final movement, Trent;
    that opening is golden.

    Two comments I might make, one compositional, the other in terms
    of performance. I'd suggest another look at the transition from the
    opening to the more regal material that follows. And in performance,
    perhaps some further thought on tempi. It's tricky to get this just
    right; but I think maybe some parts would have been well served by
    a somewhat brisker pace... not much, just a little.

    A marvelous achievement, Trent; a major effort, and one of which
    you can be justly proud! I well know what it takes to write a
    piano sonata of this magnitude -- my hat's off to you!

    Always my best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  9. #9
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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    You've struck a rich vein in the start of this final movement, Trent;
    that opening is golden.

    Two comments I might make, one compositional, the other in terms
    of performance. I'd suggest another look at the transition from the
    opening to the more regal material that follows. And in performance,
    perhaps some further thought on tempi. It's tricky to get this just
    right; but I think maybe some parts would have been well served by
    a somewhat brisker pace... not much, just a little.

    A marvelous achievement, Trent; a major effort, and one of which
    you can be justly proud! I well know what it takes to write a
    piano sonata of this magnitude -- my hat's off to you!

    Always my best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .
    Thanks David.

    I just put up a new version with a longer intro and few tempo changes. Hopefully I'll like it as much in the AM as when I posted it (9:30 PM on 1/2)

    The transition between the intro and the actual theme is a bit quirky… I’ve been going back and forth on this a little. On the one hand I can see putting in one more step between the dark beginning and the bright march – going from the descending bass to the ascending and then the switch to major slowly brings in the light, but then there is a big discontinuity. On the other hand, that sudden and unexpected silence has a little humor in it so you can’t take the march too seriously. Hmmm, I’ll have to play with a few ideas…

    I started with the whole thing a little slower, trying to get a more stately feel, but it tended to drag. When I say “a little slower”, I’m talking 4 bpm. I also tried about 6 bpm faster and it didn’t seem right. Are you suggesting maybe changing the tempo in just a couple of places, say the first and second variations? I’ll have another look at tempo.

    There are a few other minor changes I might make. For instance, the “fanfare” part isn’t varied as much as the rest of the theme and might be a little too repetitive…

    Anyway, thanks for your kind comments.
    Trent P. McDonald

  10. #10
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    Re: Piano Sonata in g minor - 4th Movement

    Sorry for bumping this back up to the top. I had to explain the new version in case anybody listened.

    When I was writing the march for the fourth movement, while still in my head, I counted out the rhythm and notated it the way I thought it should be. Well, I later realized that the strong beat was on 4 and the secondary strong beat was on 2 – everything was shifted a beat – in my mind I had the strong beat pictured in a different place.

    I didn’t think it mattered, since nobody is going to notice while listening to the mp3. Well, it bugged me and I changed it. In the coda I had a deceptive resolution which a beat later turned into a dominant 7 chord – I took out the first chord and had it go straight to the dom 7, shifted everything a beat over and put an extra beat of silence between the intro and the march (most of the coda had the beats notated correctly).

    One effect is the fanfares are now notated as being syncopations, but I guess they always sounded that way any way….

    Anyway, sorry again for bumping this up. If you listen again (or for the first time) I hope you enjoy.

    (BTW, this is about the sixth new version since I originally posted this back on the first.)
    Trent P. McDonald

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