A photo taken by myself of South Cinque island in the Andaman Islands which is the inspiration for my piece.
The final composition that we have to complete this year is a more traditional composition than the previous one we had to complete. The compositions must be based off an image or video of our choosing and must include a variety of nonchord tones and other elements of composition writing that we have been studying in music class this year. The photo that I chose for this composition was one that I took while on holiday on a tropical island in the Indian ocean, and therefore I wanted the theme of my composition to be a relaxed theme with a tropical feel. This photo is shown above this paragraph. To represent this theme in my music, I chose three instruments which I thought would perfectly portray the tropical feel I was trying to create. These instruments are the marimba, trumpet, and piano. My piece is in a 24 bar ternary for, meaning that the layout of sections is A-B-A, each section being 8 bars long.
I had a lot of trouble starting out my composition as I was really unsure of what kind of melody I would try to pursue in this piece. I ended up going with a quite a flowing melody with not too many variations in rhythm, although there are some more complex rhythms in certain parts of the piece. The tempo of my piece is quite fast at 130 beats per minute in four/four time. I selected this tempo as pieces of this genre are often at quite a fast tempo, and I wanted my piece to fit in with other pieces of this genre. The piece is in the key of C major, which makes the transposition between different instruments much easier. I decide to have the music in a major key because I am trying to create quite a jovial mood in my song, and therefore a major key would definitely fit this mood. In my piece, the two a sections are similar as they share the same base chords and also both include the main melody being played by the marimba, and a trumpet and piano accompaniment. There is not much of a variation in the dynamics of the piece, however, the marimba part is by far the loudest as the goal of my piece is to be focused on the marimba part with the other parts just as background parts. This section does include some variation of rhythms as well as articulation, with the majority of the variations creating more disconnected sounds to add some flavor to a piece which is mostly quite flowing. Section B uses a different progression of chords from section A, and also only features marimba and piano. The dynamics of the instruments in this section are slightly different, with the piano part being a bit louder and the marimba part becoming softer in order to balance out the dynamics of the two instruments. The melody played in this section is also quite different from that of section A, as the more common rhythms in this section are different to the more common rhythms in section A. Each section in this song ends with a plagal or perfect cadence, making it obvious where the transitions between different sections are, and both contain a number of different non-chord tones, creating more diversity in the notation of the piece.
As mentioned at the start of the previous paragraph, I really struggled as I usually do to start the piece and actually restarted it complete after having about half of it done around 3 or 4 times, as I was unhappy with the way that the melody was progressing and with the balance of the different instrument parts. But after listening to some pieces of a genre similar to mine, I was able to get some ideas for some of the rhythms and notes that would make a melody that was appropriate for the theme and also was easy for other instruments to accompany. We were given around 6 class periods to work on the piece, and I would say that for the first 2 or 3 I really struggled to get a promising start on my composition because I was being very indecisive in determining what I wanted the piece to sound like. However, in the last few classes, I was able to focus and really start to get a decent composition together.
In my opinion, the strengths of my piece are that it contains a variety of interesting diverse rhythms over all the different instrument parts of the song, has an appropriate selection of instruments for the image that the music was created to accompany and that the melody flows very well over all the sections of the piece. While creating this piece I asked not only some of my peers who also take music for feedback but also my parents as well as my saxophone teacher who all gave their own thoughts on the piece. Their views on the strengths of the piece were very similar to mine, and I think that this definitely helps to confirm that my piece is definitely strong in the areas that I thought after completing it. Based on the feedback I received as well as my own personal views, some things that I need to work on or disadvantages to my pieces are that there is not a lot of dynamic variation over the entire song and also that there is not much of a variety of non-chord tones. In my piece, the dynamics of each instrument stay quite static throughout the piece, and I as well as those who I got feedback from all feel that adding more variation in the dynamics would definitely make the piece more interesting and add more “color” to the piece. Although my piece does include quite a few non-chord tones, there could definitely be more of a variation in the non-chord tones used in order to change up some of the sections of the melody and again make the piece more interesting.