Category Archives: Suppose to Compose

MUS: Ternary Composition Final

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Ternary Composition Final

I think overall I was quite successful at having melodic and rhythmic balance between phrases because I used varied phrases, but also made sure I had some repetition/imitation so they would be more connected. I was also able to connect section A and section B by repeating some of the rhythmic phrases, and using the same melodic contour. I’ve added many performance directions such as slurs, staccatos, dynamics and tempo markings. However, I could have improved the transitions between the sections because sometimes it sounded quite sudden.

After receiving comments on my ternary draft composition, I made changes to mainly section B. A few people said that the draft section B didn’t sound connected to section A, and suggested that I try the relative minor key instead of the dominant key. Thus, I changed my section B to be the relative minor of the section A key, and also made sure I repeated some of the rhythmic and melodic phrases more so it would be more memorable.

To further improve my piece, I think I could make the melody more engaging because I feel as though sometimes the phrases were too similar. For example, maybe I could have varied the second section A more so it wouldn’t sound so similar. I also need to work on my transitions between the two sections, especially the first transition between A to B. I wasn’t too proud of this transition as it didn’t flow very well. I could try to transition with more chord tones next time. I also realized that some of the chords didn’t sound too well with the melody, so I should have been more careful with the chords I was choosing to go with the main melody.

I learned many new concepts this unit, such as passing tones, neighboring tones, and also became much more familiar with the chords and cadences. This will be very useful for me in the future while composing other pieces of music (such as how similar concepts were applied in the composition of the jazz solo). By becoming more familiar with chords and cadences, I will also be better with theory and understanding how other pieces of music are written. Writing the piano accompaniment also allowed me to know more about different instruments can be played together in the same piece of music, and how their individual melodies can enhance others.

At the beginning of the unit, I had a lot of trouble starting the composition of the melody because I didn’t really know how the chords could fit together to create a melody that was musically engaging. However, after developing my melody more and more (through the 8 bar melody), I’ve become a lot more comfortable with composition and also found the process easier as I had more phrases to develop my melody off of.

I think keeping track of my progress with the use of my PJ was useful because it allowed me to keep track of things that I was successful at and also possible improvements. For example, while developing my ternary composition, I was able to refer back to the comments I received for the 8 bar melody and use those as ways of improving my composition.

MUS: Stella by Starlight Final Solo

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Stella by Starlight Jazz Solo Final

Although this was a challenging unit for me, I was able to learn a lot more about the concepts related to jazz (7-3 resolutions, digital patterns, ligons) throughout the unit and the process of composing my solo. Before this unit, I had rarely played jazz and had never composed jazzy before. It took me a while to understand these concepts as they were completely new to me, but after playing through the patterns multiple times and becoming more familiar with the chords, I was able to have a much better understanding of them. However, I still had trouble incorporating the digital patterns and ligons into the solo. To help make the composing process easier, I first wrote out the chord tones of each chord so I wouldn’t have to keep thinking about which notes were in the chord, what notes to use for the transition between bars, etc. Being able to easily refer to the chord tones really helped with my composition process.

After receiving feedback from my peers, I made quite a few changes to my solo. Firstly, as a couple people suggested, I changed parts of the last eight bars (25-32) to resemble the first eight bars more so there would be more repetition in the melody, making it more memorable.  For some measures, I used the same notes and varied the rhythmic patterns, while some measures had similar rhythmic patterns with different notes. This allowed for more variation instead of just having two parts that were exactly the same. I also changed the overall rhythmic pattern of my solo a bit to have more variety and to “create a jazzy swing feeling”, as suggested by peers. To do this, I used more rests (especially eighth rests) and syncopated rhythms, as I realized I used those a lot in the beginning, but gradually turned back to more steady rhythms, which didn’t make my piece sound a lot like jazz. Someone also suggested that I add more performance markings. I ended up adding a lot more markings for articulation which I thought really changed up the style of my piece. The combination of staccatos and slurs was able to make my solo more interesting and also sound more jazzy. In addition to these changes, I also changed the melody of parts that were in the middle as I felt there was too much disjunct motion, which disrupted the flow of the melody. To improve these sections, sometimes I would use more digital patterns as I knew they were going to make my solo sound a lot more jazzy, or I would use more conjunct motion, with mostly chord tones.

To further improve my piece, I think I could improve on my rhythms even more, as sometimes they didn’t sound too interesting and sounded more like classical music. To do this, I could research more into rhythms typically used in jazz songs. Mr. Taitoko also suggested that I develop my melodic and rhythmic phrases more.

Overall, I think this unit was a good opportunity for me to explore more genres of music that I wouldn’t usually listen to or play. Writing my own jazz solo and playing it really allowed me to have a deeper understanding of some of the basic concepts related jazz, as I needed to make sure I understand the concepts before being able to write a solo.



MUS: 8 Bar Composition Final

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8 Bar Composition Final

After receiving feedback on my 8 bar composition draft, I made a few changes to my composition. Although they were all quite minor changes, I feel as though they have made a difference in my melody. For example, someone suggested that I repeat the bass in bar 5 somewhere else as an interesting part in the bass is usually repeated a few times. I ended up repeating the bass part of bar 5 (beats 1 & 2) in bar 7 (beats 1 & 2) as I had a similar rhythm in that bar. I also changed the chords for the last few bars because someone suggested that using these chords would fit the melody more. Also, since there aren’t many notes in my last bar, it would be good to use a chord for each note. Something else I changed was the first note in bar 3. I received feedback that whenever I used a chord I, I would start on a G, so to provide more variety to the melody I decided to change the this note to a B. Although it isn’t the root note, it is still a chord note. The eighth notes in bars 4 & 6 (before the eighth rest) have also been changed to a quarter note with a staccato marking, producing similar effect. I changed it because it allowed the score to be more easily read and also made it clearer. Lastly, I changed the last note of bar 5 to an f to avoid having the last and first note of the 2 measures the same. Changing it to an f also makes it a smoother transition because the leaps between each note are smaller.