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Music composition for grade 5 theory, your help, comment advice, please

MandyH

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I'm going to be brave and have attached my first attempt at a grade 5 composition excercise.
I fully expect to be ripped apart, but be gently none the less.
My guidance so far has been: to move up and down gently, to end the first part on the dominant (or implied dominant) and to end the whole piece on the tonic (or implied tonic).
To give some indication of speed and dynamics, and I was advised to imagine that I need to teach this to a class of 4 year olds as an indication of complexity of tune and rhythm.

I know I have ended this on the subdominant, primarily because it sounds better to me than the tonic, but I am happy to be corrected.

Fire away :D
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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:welldoneWell done! It's a nerve wracking experience...

Umm, I was going to upload some files, but there seems to be a restriction on permitted file types.... I hope you don't mind, I've put it into Sibelius and I've created a Sibelius Scorch file copy (should work with IE if you have the Scorch download - available from the Sibelius web site). I've also created a midi file copy of it which should just play on opening. It might help with assessment.

If you're OK about it, if you pm me your e-mail address, I'll send them to you. Meanwhile, I've attached a graphic png file of it.

Observation I would make is it's usually 'safest' for an exam to stick with the 'rules'. If you have reached a cadence in the text, then you should have a cadence in the music. So for example an imperfect or interupted cadence on a comma or a colon, but a perfect cadence or possibly a plagal cadence at the end of a sentence or paragraph. It might help to write out what harmony you're trying to imply, for example a classic cadence sequence would be IIb V I (good enough for Bach...).

It's whatever you're comfortable with.

Good luck
 

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  • But slumber hold me tightly.jpg
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Young Col

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Yes, it seems to work Mandy! I agree about the cadences (not that I know much...) and wonder if you intend to leave it at MF to the end or prhaps dim. down to something softer.
I'll PM you too. YC
 

saxnik

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Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not a theory tutor, but I think what you've actually done is ended on the tonic?

By which I mean, you've put an Eb key signature, but actually your tune is in Ab, and finishes on that note, i.e. you're starting on an Eb but that sounds to me like a dominant going to the tonic (Ab) on bar one beat one.

I like what you've done with the tune, adding another flat to the key signature makes it 'correct'. Unless your tune is supposed to be in Eb...

Nick
 

MandyH

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Hmmm interesting point.
I had intended it to be Eb major, as my teacher advised pitching a vocal part totally within the stave, and choosing a suitable key that would do that. But, I see I didn't use any Ds, so adding the extra flat to the key signature wouldn't make any difference, other than I would then end on the tonic.
... goes away to cogitate....
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not a theory tutor, but I think what you've actually done is ended on the tonic?

By which I mean, you've put an Eb key signature, but actually your tune is in Ab, and finishes on that note, i.e. you're starting on an Eb but that sounds to me like a dominant going to the tonic (Ab) on bar one beat one.

I like what you've done with the tune, adding another flat to the key signature makes it 'correct'. Unless your tune is supposed to be in Eb...

Nick

Very good point you make.

It's 'usual' to establish the tonality at the outset, which is done mostly by having either a firm statement of the tonic (usually by repetition), or a perfect cadence straight into the tonic (a perfect cadence is accepted as stating the key).

The anacrusis is there I suspect because the first word of the text ('but') is not important (this is part of the use of rhetoric which was well-understood by Renaissance and Baroque composers and seems much neglected since). The first beat of the bar is the most important and you don't want the major stress of that first beat falling on an unimportant word (this is the downside of the bar line - poor choirs over-emphasise the first beat of the bar, regardless of the word they are singing....yuk!). The anacrusis is a good way of getting round that. It's also a perfect opportunity to start on chord V and land on chord I on the strong beat of the first bar.... which is what we have if the key signature is adjusted to Ab!

Just some random thoughts...
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,997
Hmmm interesting point.
I had intended it to be Eb major, as my teacher advised pitching a vocal part totally within the stave, and choosing a suitable key that would do that. But, I see I didn't use any Ds, so adding the extra flat to the key signature wouldn't make any difference, other than I would then end on the tonic.
... goes away to cogitate....

Vocal range of an alto would be about E/F below middle C to E 10th above middle C (that fits). Soprano about B below middle C to A 13th above middle C.
 

MandyH

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So, following on from your various help and advice, I took the exam at the beginning of November, and got the results back yesterday....

I can honestly say that I am feeling a little pleased with myself :D

I don't have the full breakdown yet, just the final mark.

I know I made a 2-mark mistake in answering one of the other questions, there may have been another mark or two lost elsewhere.

This means that worst case scenario, I scored 11 out of the possible 15 marks available for the composition part.

94% - Distinction

Oh so happy :welldone :w00t: :thumb:
 

Young Col

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Well done Mandy. Congratulations!
What you describe is exactly what I did and I got 94% as well!

I'm sure you'll find that knowledge really useful in your playing.
YC
 

Tenor Viol

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Well done Mandy

Sorry to be slow replying - I've been struggling to keep up recently! Too much work and a lot of rehearsals....
 

ArtyLady

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Well done!! :welldone

I've got all the work books for theory but have never had the patience to sit and complete them let alone the confidence to sit a written exam :ashamed

I thought I'd do G5 Jazz Flute ABRSM (purely as a sub for theory) as I want to go on and attempt the higher ABRSM piano grades as I prefer their repertoire to TG. :thumb:
 

jbtsax

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A very well crafted melody. It passes my test for a good tune which is upon hearing it once or twice you can hum or whistle it throughout the day. I encourage you to expand upon what you have done and perhaps write music to the entire poem along with harmony as you learn more about theory and harmony.
 
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