*Click on image for full view

So, I had two previous blog posts called Composition Study – Rhythm and Composition Study – Melody. Now, I am following up with a 3rd blog post. Now, I have extended the song from 8 bars to 16 bars, while still trying to make it sound like one song.

You can listen to it here: 16 Bar Melody

This was probably the most time-consuming of the three parts I’ve done so far as I apparently didn’t back up the file when I started using a new computer so I had to go back and copy my existing melody into Finale. The melody was quite simple though, I would admit, so it actually wasn’t that difficult. The next 8 bars of the melody are meant to continue the existing 8 bars and extend it into pretty much a (however short) full song.

Give me feedback!

  • Do you have a combination of conjunct and disjunct motion?

Yes / No

  • If there are any large intervals, have you changed direction by step?

 Yes / No / NA

  • Does the melody have an appropriate range?

 Yes / No

  • Does it start and finish on the tonic note?

Yes / No

If you haven’t already, please take a look at my previous post regarding the rhythm aspect of this composition study.

*click image for full size.

This continues our study on composition and use of Finale Notepad as a useful music composition and transcription tool. This time we were asked to make a melody out of our previously generated rhythm. The criteria were that we had to be able to play ourselves it on our own instrument, which is why this melody is written for flute.

Here’s what it sounds like, instruments rendered on GarageBand:  Composition
(I would recommend turning your volume down – apparently master volume doesn’t make a difference when I export to iTunes)

I made the melody fairly simplistic. I wanted it to seem like a basic study of rhythm and intonation with little emphasis on melody. When I listed back to my melody it reminded me of one of the grade 3 piano pieces I played for my exam, which was somewhat repetitive, but not unusual for pieces of its time.

Here’s what I think:

  • Do you have a combination of conjunct and disjunct motion?

Yes, I think I do.

  • If there are any large intervals, have you changed direction by step?

Yes, I think I did, if you count any of those as large intervals.

  • Does the melody have an appropriate range?

Yes, I think so. It’s a very simple melody without any extremely high or low notes.

  • Does it start and finish on the tonic note?

Yes, it begins and ends on G because it’s in G major.


Give me feedback using the same template:

  • Do you have a combination of conjunct and disjunct motion?

Yes O No

  • If there are any large intervals, have you changed direction by step?

O Yes O No O NA

  • Does the melody have an appropriate range?

O Yes O No

  • Does it start and finish on the tonic note?

O Yes O No

*Click on image for full view.

So now we’ve started composing our own song! It’s just a little 8-bar exercise. Today we only worked on rhythm. We spent the first 40 minutes of class (almost) just talking about how you can’t have a note that doesn’t let the beginning of the third beat be shown, at least when it’s sight-read. If the sound bridges it’s okay. I made 6 out of the 8 bars in my little rhythm, and we were asked to have a partner do our third and fourth bars. We were asked to name our pieces, and I tried to make it sound professional, but I think my French grammar needs some fine-tuning (J’ai étudié le Français pour trois année, en école).

I tried to make my rhythm seem not totally random, I tried to have a similar rhythm or way of counting at least every 2 bars. I guess I became more aware of this after seeing my flute exam song: Cantabile et Presto by George Enesco. There’s some good recordings on YouTube. The song seems as if the composer made no attempt to make rhythmic patterns, it’s a pain to sight-read and the syncopation is difficult to follow.

Give me feedback on this rhythm!

  • Does it finish on a long note?

  • Are the phrases balanced?

  • Is there variety?

  • Is there repetition/imitation?

Reflection on The Greatest Song Ever – Transcribing Music digitally.
No, this has nothing to do with One Direction.

This is what it sounds like (with the MIDI imported into GarageBand):
Greatest Song Ever

We had to copy, as precisely as we could, this mini-song by ‘Big D’, onto Finale Notepad, a music notation software. We had to insert intonation, expression and dynamics into the piece. The last time I had used finale was 2 years ago, and since then, because I had not been able to find the correct font packs to install, I had been using MuseScore. I found that Finale Notepad 2012 was not that different from Finale Notepad 2009, though, so the interface was not at all unfamiliar.

If you’ve had a look at my Soundcloud widget, you may have seen that I transcribe music sometimes, usually doing BGM (Background Music, usually refers to video game soundtracks). I try to get the instruments as precise as possible in my transcriptions. I’m not as good at working with drums though, but at least the transcription that we had to do for this assignment didn’t include dealing with MIDI drums.

Example: (Tomorrow Will Be Special, Yesterday Was Not from the Touhou Project: Mountain of Faith)

At least now that I have Finale working again, and since I’ve just gotten my computer’s internal hard drive replaced, I don’t think I’ll download MuseScore again.

You need to include a reflection on the assignment addressing the Tuning, Timing, Tempo, Connection, Dynamics, Tone and Notes!

I played this song at 100 BPM, which I think is faster than when we played in in class, but I used a metronome (as can be heard in the background) to make sure I stayed on tempo. There was one spot before one of the high Cs where I thought I might crack the note, so I started the note a little bit late. I did not use a tuner prior to recording this piece, so I’m worried it might be a bit off-tune. I also cracked on one of the high Cs, despite recording multiple times and not cracking on any of the previous takes. Wrong notes were one of the reasons I started recording from the beginning again, but also because I had done the wrong dynamics at times. By the final take, which I have embedded here, I think this was the best I could possibly do in terms of dynamic range. I did vibrato to give the song a bit of a haunting feeling, like I feel that it’s supposed to have. I made my notes as legato as I could when they were joined by slurs.

Today, we had a test in music class. We were tested on our knowledge of tones and semitones; not quite intervals; and our knowledge of key signatures. I found the test easy, I think I knew everything until I got to a question asking what a key signature with seven sharps or flats were. I can remember all of the key signatures up to six sharps or flats. I think I should have prepared more than what I did, because then I would have spent some time at least drilling the seven-accidental key signatures into my head. I guess it was also because I had trouble understanding the ‘King Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle’ acronym after years and years of just knowing 0,2,4,1,1,3,5 and 2,4,6,3,5. Overall, I hope I did well on the test.

UPDATE: I got 51 questions correct out of 54, or about 94% correct! Hooray~ I had a really stupid mistake though, I wrote my sharps for A Major out of order. I wrote the G# before the C#… I also confused C♭with G♭, which I will admit could have been solved with a bit more practice. I don’t believe it… I wrote C♭ but I changed it because I thought it was wrong. It was actually correct! Oh well, that always happens on tests.

UPDATE: Here’s a scan of the test:

Theory Test

What went well?

We managed to create a presentation that effectively showed people how to take care of a flute. I think we did well by not reading too much straight from the presentation. We were able to confidently present and name the parts of the instrument.

For the poster, I think my poster did okay in terms of graphics though I think I could’ve had more graphics. In terms of information, I cited sources that I didn’t use just for the sake of uniformity with sections that I did require sources for. I think the poster is eye-catching without absolutely straining the viewer’s eyes.

How did you interact with your group? Was there an equal division of work?

I was unaware of who exactly my group members were until a class before my presentation. Before then, I had created an entire presentation on my own, but so had my group members. In the end, most of my presentation was used, but a few of the slides came from my group members.

Same goes for the poster, except that in the end I handed in one poster of my own and one I did with my group. I barely contributed to the group poster but my own one was done by myself.

What aspects of your presentation would you improve if you had to do this again?

I think I would try and be much, much more organized in terms of finding out who my group members were supposed to be. I would try and make it so that the presentation could be collaborated on more easily (ex. putting it on a Google Presentation instead of a Keynote.) I would read the rubric so that I would be able to ensure that I didn’t miss any aspects of the presentation.

Is your handout clear with detailed specific instructions?

I think my poster was clear enough, though I doubt it would make absolute sense to someone who did not play flute or at least another woodwind instrument. I gave instructions on how to assemble a flute as well as how to take care of it. I mentioned the materials that flutes could be made of but did not mention which are the most common.

Is your handout appropriate for the assignment and reflect the required amount of work?

I hope so. I spent about half an hour on the poster, including searching for graphics as well as compressing the information that I found or had. I think my poster would be able to help people who didn’t know exactly how to take care of their instruments.

Grade 8 Theory reflection questions…

Was I expecting this mark?

I expected to get most questions right except for a few careless mistakes. So, I would say that the 38/40 I got was around my expectation, if not over.

Did I study effectively for this test?

I didn’t study specifically for this test, but having learned other instruments for over 9 years now, I think I can safely say that what I’ve learned in my music classes outside of school have taught me enough to get most things right on this test.

How can I study more effectively in the future to get a better result?

I should consciously study specifically for the test and review any little bit of information that I don’t think I have 100% down.

How will I learn the information that I missed in the test?

I didn’t really miss any information, one question was wrong because I didn’t know the vocabulary, and that can be learned in a few minutes with the help of a theory book. The other wrong answer was a question of neatness.

Does my attitude to music need to be adjusted to enable greater success?

I think I need to stop thinking I know everything just because I’ve been learning music for over 8 years. I need to have a better attitude towards practice, not just in music.