A month after the Ternary Melody Draft, here is the final 24-bar ternary composition.
You can listen to the composition below:
And see the score below (the file is a PDF, so click the link below to see it):
Even though I have been playing classical music on instruments for a while now, I don’t often get the chance or am not often tasked with composing a song, other than in music class. Last year, in Grade 8 Music, I was able to compose a 16-bar melody. This year, I have completed an 8-bar melody, as well as a jazz solo for Stella by Starlight. It can be said that these three are the only proper compositions that I have done recently. Because of this, I feel as if some aspects of the composition are not the best they can be.
In my composition, I wanted to build upon the tonic (F major), add on the tension, and create a climax at the end of part A. This was achieved through sequences, using higher notes, and moving up the scale with a crescendo and ritardando to create a dramatic effect. The A part was created to be cheerful, with heavy chords in the left hand piano accompaniment to establish a strong and grand opening. On the other hand, the B part was meant to be more light and sweet, in the dominant key and with the use of solely major chords. This helped to create a different mood, but keep a similar theme at the same time through the means of notes and rhythms, to show the connection between the two parts, an essential part of the rubric.
I tried to maintain balance in terms of the melody and rhythm, so that the piece could come together and pass as a convincing piece of music. In my composition, I used a combination of quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, half notes, dotted notes and triplets; spread throughout the piece. I also tried to include sequences or similar rhythmic phrases within the composition, so that it would sound united as one piece.
I also added performance directions when necessary, including dynamics, tempo and articulation, to further enhance the musicality and melodic interest of the composition. This was done by listening to the piece a few times, and imagining in my head how I would play it. I developed melodic phrases in my mind, and thought of the ways the piece could be built up with crescendos or diminuendos, as well as ways to display the contrast between the two sections. Furthermore, I believe that the piece is indeed playable, as I tried to keep the flute and piano parts simple. Some parts might be a little challenging at first, but are definitely manageable with practice.
The chords and chord progression were left entirely up to us, with the condition that each bar had to have two different chords. This allowed for more freedom with the way the composition progresses and flows, and let us display our creative abilities. However, this was an aspect that I feel that I could have done better in, as my chord progression isn’t typical. Instead, it’s rather irregular and abnormal, unlike how a normal classical piece would progress. Even so, I feel as if when everything is put together, it sounds alright and there does not seem to be a huge problem with it, with the help of perfect and imperfect cadences at the end of every four bars.
From the feedback that I got from my peers, as well as listening over the composition multiple times, I made some changes accordingly. In the comments for the 8-bar melody and the Ternary draft, it was mentioned multiple times that my A part was rather busy and messy, with both the flute and piano going full-out at the same time. To fix this, I simplified the right hand piano accompaniment – from continuous eighth notes to mainly quarter notes – which allowed the beginning to sound more simple and clean. As this was the main comment that I received, this was what I focused on in the editing process. However, looking back, I still believe that I could have simplified it even more with the use of rests. There are no rests in the entire composition, and everything goes without stopping. Pauses are needed to allow the audience to take in the melody, to allow the player to take a break, and to create space within the piece.
Overall, I think that this unit was useful, as it allowed us to explore our musical potential in being creative and creating a composition. Starting off with an 8-bar melody was a good way to be introduced, as 8 bars are short and simple to create, and can be used to develop the Ternary composition as the A section. I was able to recall my previous knowledge of composing and ternary melodies, and apply it to this task. I believe that I did pretty well, but there definitely are parts of it that can be improved to produce an even better end result.