End of Year Reflection

This year’s music has finally come to an end. In this reflection, I will address specifically at my learning progress of playing and music theory. I will start off with talking about my flute playing and then the theory knowledge.

Over the past month, we have completed 2 playing tests – a scales and jazz solo test. For scales, I chose C, D melodic and E, A, G harmonic minor scale, with a chromatic scale starting on G at the end. Unlike the November scales test, I was able to play all 6 of the scales with excellent note accuracy. This was because I was less nervous as compared to the first time, so I was more confident in playing the notes. I also practiced more frequently at home. The method that I found quite effective is by playing the scales frequently, so I can constantly remind my brain of the fingerings. Before the test, I would have my flute out on the table and every time I walk into my room, whether it be just coming back from the washroom, getting a snack or a cup of water, I would pick up the flute and run through all the scales once – this was how I practiced for the notes of the scales. Regarding articulation precision, this was done very well also because I chose to play the scales slurred. I only needed to play the scale in one breath, tonguing in the first note and hold the breath while letting my fingers do their work. The dynamics of the scales was not very prominent on the scales because it wasn’t a major factor in the performance. Therefore, it stayed constant the entire time. I can’t exactly say my tone quality was excellent, but I’ve been getting a thick, resonant tone when practicing, and I don’t think I did badly at all in this aspect during the scales test. Intonation wise, I tuned right before I went into the test room, so it was done nicely – perhaps here and there a little sharp or flat because of my embouchure caused by the nervousness, but it didn’t affect the performance notably. Lastly, I think the chosen tempo was appropriate which allowed me to connect the notes smoothly. It was a quarter note = 96, and I played it in one semi-quaver/note. As stated above, I played the scales attached, which I think contributed to the connection of the notes. I did not have any pauses in between the scales. However, one thing that I can improve on is the rhythm accuracy. I would start off at a quarter note = 96 but speed up while ascending and slow back down while descending. Although I am aware of this, it seems as if my fingers are out of my control. Hence, I will need to improve on making the finger movements more coordinated when practicing at home.

Moving on to the Stella by Starlight jazz test, I think I did quite well on it too. I received excellent for all of the strands from the performance, including note accuracy, rhythm accuracy, dynamics, tempo, swing feel, articulation precision, tone quality, intonation, connection, air and melodic shape. Overall, the beginning, middle and end were also excellent, as given by the teacher. One weakness that was stated in the comments was that the eighth notes at the beginning were a little jumpy – I tend to naturally play a staccato for eighth notes in jazz, which will be something that I need to work towards during practice. Disregarding the comments from the teacher, I personally thought that I could’ve done better during the triplets, specifically the second set, because it has a rhythm that was a little more complicated. However, I don’t think the rhythm was the main aspect that can be improved, I need to practice in tonguing low register notes without cracking it. In the test, because of keeping the tone quality, I chose to slur the first three notes of the triplets and then do tonguing for the last three notes. This is because by slurring the notes it decreases the chances of the notes cracking as it eliminates any “attacks” from the sudden air stream caused by tonguing. Thus, this will be another goal that I work towards during practice sections – to be able to tongue low register notes while keeping their tone quality. (The following is an observation that I made as a flute player of myself). After learning how to double-tongue, I’ve realized that I’m constantly ameliorating and utilizing this skill that I am starting to lose my single tonguing skills. The fastest single tongue I can do is semi-quaver at a quarter note = 70. Though, my double tongue can reach semi-quavers at a quarter note = 120. I’ve realized an imbalance in this situation so I am now spending more time at single tongue during my practices.

I will now proceed to comment on my knowledge of theory concepts. I have received a mark of 68/75 in the recent theory test, which equals to a 7 in the IB system. My strengths are drawing intervals, triads, identifying chords and cadences according to melody and NT/PTs, areas where I got full marks for. The trick to intervals is that I always used C major as a starting point. Since C major has no sharps or flats, I first think of the written interval according to C major, then I will count the semitones and apply it to the key of the question. For example, if I was given an augmented 5th, I will first look at C major. If C to G is a perfect 5th, then C to G# is an augmented 5th. C to G# is 8 semi-tones, so I will apply it to the given key – in this case, B major. If B was the tonic, then 8 semitones would be F double sharp. For triads, I used my own trick of memorizing a table of intervals between each note in the triad. For example, a major triad has a major 3rd, then a minor 3rd – Take C major as an example, C E G is a major triad. C to E is a major 3rd interval while E to G is a minor 3rd. A diminished triad would be 2 minor 3rds. C# diminished is C# E G because C# to E is a minor 3rd and E to G is another minor 3rd. This trick was very effective and it helped me 100% of the times while figuring out the triads. I found the labeling chords quite straightforward and easy. This was because I simply had to write down the notes of each chord once given the key and see which of chord’s notes were used most in the melody. If there was a mixture of chord and non-chord tones, I would see which notes were on the heavy beats – the down beats. Part of this question also included labeling cadences, which was easy to me as I have just recently completed an ABRSM exam two weeks ago which constituted of identifying the cadences in the aural component. I had a clear understanding of neighbor tones (NT) and passing tones (PT), which made the last section easy to me too. When I was deciding on the time signature, I was hesitating between 4/4, 6/8 or 12/8, these were the time signatures that popped into my head at the time. Since I had to include exactly 3 PT and NT, no more or less, I thought that 4/4 would mean that I have to split the quarter notes into eighth notes, which would complicate the situation ( I wanted to find a time signature where I didn’t have to sub-divide the notes). If I used 6/8, I would have 6 semi-quavers per bar, meaning that in total (2 bars) I would have 12 note. So this wouldn’t work too as some of the chord tones would need to overlap. Therefore, I chose 12/8, where there would be 24 notes in total. I wrote 2 PT and NT in the first bar, 1 PT and NT in the second bar and ended with a three semiquavers and a dotted crotchet, which worked perfectly without any sub-dividing.

For weaknesses, I have performed the same error that I made in the theory test at the beginning of the year – mistaking double flat for an x, which signifies a double sharp. However, this has caused me only mark. The other mistakes were actually mistakes that I actually was not aware of, meaning that they were not careless. I have now learned that when writing the key signatures of a tenor c clef, the first sharp – F sharp needs to be on the second line (from the bottom) instead of above the top line similar to the treble clef. Another thing that I have learned is that when descending in a scale, the leading tone is the second note, instead of the seventh note like an ascending scale. In addition, I learned that when a transposition question states to transpose a note from concert pitch to concert (an instrument), concert means the note that the audience hears, different from written, which means the note on the stave.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

As a flute player, I wouldn’t say I’ve made an immense improvement throughout this year. The area that I saw myself improve the most is probably in playing scales, I can play all scales by heart now! Yet through another aspect – theory, I can say that I have learned much more in this year’s music course. Through being a reflective learner, I have taught myself to constantly look back on the past quizzes and tests to improve on future tests. One of my methods of revising for this time’s theory test was looking back at my first test and seeing the weaknesses. I was able to improve from a level 5 at the beginning of this year to a level 7 now. Overall, I would say that music this year has taught me a lot in the written aspects such as composing music ( Ternary composition & Stella by Starlight composition), music history (Theory epub & Jazz epub) and music theory. It gave me a chance in being more balanced, learning things that I would not be exposed to in typical piano/flute/violin lesson, which I am very grateful of. Although I will not be taking music as a subject next year, I will still be having weekly music lessons and I will ensure that my music knowledge stays with me forever.

Action Model Plan



  1. I have participated in the Kids4Kids program one time. I am planning to participate in an elderly home this month to help elderlies in their everyday struggles. I will be going with my friend and I aim to go once every week. I also plan to go to the Po Leung Kuk children organization to spend time with the kids there and learn more about their challenges. In summer, I plan to provide food for homeless people who live in Hong Kong. I will deliver food for these people.
  2. This action connects with the participating and connecting.
  3. Elderly home:
    1. Contact head of the elderly home, then have an interview and set a date to start volunteering

Po Leung Kuk

  1. Contact manager of the Po Leung Kuk children organization, see what volunteer work I can do there

          Handing food for the homeless

  1. Find my friend’s mom to help contact her friend, which can bring us to the food drive to help the homeless people
  1. Elderly home volunteer: May 6th
  2. Outcome: This will be commented on later on after the event is completed.
  3. Strength/Weakness: 1) (Event) The strength of this volunteer work is that I can help with the elderly in the center when they are bored I can talk to them. I am aware that although I cannot specifically help the elderly physically, such as caring for their health, I can spend time talking to them and it can bring them an interest in their lives. The weakness, however, may be that I am still young and do not have a lot of volunteering experience, meaning that I will have to learn a lot of things which will spend a lot of time. Also, another strength is that I can encourage my grandparents to go to this place, which I have always wanted them to do so. (Personal) The strengths of this event is that I will be able to learn how to communicate with elderlies, as I am not always exposed to these sort of people.
  4. Challenge: I think the challenge may be that I will need to learn a lot of things to be able to provide suitable care for these elderlies. Also, I will need to adapt myself to learn how to talk to these elderlies because their ears and eyes are probably deteriorating, so I will need to learn to be patient when communicating with them. These will be a challenge when participating in this event.
  5. Evaluate: I will be able to carry out this volunteer work. Firstly, I have already contacted the volunteer head of this elderly center. I have already done an interview with her and discussed about the first volunteer work. Secondly, this elderly home is very near where I live, so I can go to the location without any difficulty.
  6. Cross Culture International mindedness: I think it’s a very good way of having exposure to those in the previous generation. The difference between our’s, the modern “culture” and the elderly’s, the older “culture”, it’s a perfect chance to merge the two together.
  7. Ethical Implications: These elderlies in the center, they usually are people who have family members that do not have much time to care for them. Therefore, by helping these elderlies, even simply just by talking to them, is a way of caring for them.
  8. Collaboration: Of course, there will be multiple volunteers in the center. I’ve seen them and they are mostly adults that are much older than me. I will learn how to collaborate with these people and strengthen my communication skills with them.

Stella Solo Final

Attached below is my final Jazz Composition, created based on the chords of the renowned Stella by Starlight tune.

*Note that the composition is to be played in the swing rhythm (this is because the version of Finale that I have does not allow this when being played)

FionaChan9G_Final Stella by Starlight

After completing the ternary composition, we transitioned into composing Jazz.Comparatively, I think this task was much more difficult to do than the previous one, probably because I’ve had more experience with classical style music than jazz? However, I believe that I did a fair job at this project, looking back at the two-week process. I will first address the points of the actual composition, then talk more about the process.

When composing this type of genre songs, true Jazz musicians will know the importance of the 7-3 resolution is. Before this unit, I’ve only ever heard about this concept but never actually understood it. Now, I understand that it’s a way of playing Jazz to highlight the changes of chords throughout the piece in between bars. In this piece, I would say that I demonstrated substantial use of guide tones. This is because I have followed all the mandatory guide tones provided in the task sheet, though I have not used this resolution in any other place. An example would be bars 1-2 and 2-3. In bar 1-2, I followed the instructions of ending the measure with D (7th of Emin7b5 chord) and starting bar 2 with C#(3rd of A7b9 chord). Yet for bar 2-3, because there were no guidelines, I chose the ending (F) and starting notes (Eb) of the corresponding bars which were not guide tones. Theoretically, this shouldn’t sound too good, as if I was just putting random notes without any reference to the chords. However, I think it is because the given guide tones were spread out in the piece, thus although the tune might sound off track at certain times, those guide tones brought the song back into track. Also, it might be because I’ve chosen to use chord tones most of the times in the song so there was a connection with the piano chords.

I had substantial use of digital patterns and chord tones throughout the piece. I wouldn’t say that I’ve used a lot of digital patterns. Though, I did keep chord tones in my mind when composing the piece, therefore I am confident in saying that my song does include mostly chord tones. For instance, in the first three bars, 5/7, 6/8 and 5/7 tones were chord tones respectively. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention in using digital patterns because I felt that the mood of my song was not suitable for them. When I tried incorporating digital patterns (1235, 1253 etc.) into the composition, it was very protruding than the other phrases of the piece. I’ve taken a little twist to this project as compared to jazz solos that are heard from famous musicians. It is seen that in this composition, there is a relatively low number of rests and the notes are constantly flowing and moving up and down the register, unlike the slow, swinging feel of other solos. The tempo of the song is set at a rather fast pace and the rhythms include all sorts of combinations. Therefore, I neglected the usage of digital patterns as I thought it would halt the feeling created in other sections of the piece. What I said above describes the digital patterns provided by the task sheet, I did generate a few arpeggios based on the chords like in bar 28 and 29, the first beat of measure 28 is four descending eighth notes (B♮, G, Ab, F) for G7b9 chord and measure 29 has the same rhythm with (Eb, C, Bb, Gb) chord Cdim7.

I think this composition has demonstrated excellent rhythmic interest. Firstly, there is a mixture of many different types of rhythm. Examples would be the repeating sets of a sixteenth, eighth, sixteenth and eighth note, the triplets, as well as sets of four eighth/sixteenth notes. I have included a wide range of rhythms in the composition, the most prominent being the two sixteenth and eighth notes, evident in bars 5, 22, 23, 25 and many more. I introduced this rhythm at the beginning of the song and reinforced it at the end by repeating it multiple times. Triplets were also used in this piece, most obvious in bar 21. The majority of the note values are eighth notes as I wanted this to be a fast-paced composition. I’ve included a small amount of syncopation which can be seen in bars 12, 20, 22, 23 etc. These were added to build on to the jazz feeling of the song due to the notes being played off the down beats. In bar 24, I marked “ad lib” on top of three sets of sixteenth notes. This was because I felt that jazz compositions should have components of improvisation so I composed this to allow the player to use his/her own interpretations of the song to deliver this phrase. I placed a decrescendo there to suggest that the dynamics should be similar to this in that bar, however it is up to the flutist who makes the ultimate decision. There isn’t a specific melody in the piece, but I guess that’s how jazz is suppose to work…? The notes range from the lowest to highest register on the flute and contain a variety of conjunct and disjunct notes. I think the overall tune of this piece is composed quite well because it doesn’t sound dull (like I thought it might be at the beginning) with many repeated notes.

Regarding the playability of the song, I think that this piece is absolutely playable with some practice. It may require a certain level of skill, however it is not too extreme. The highest note in the song is the high register D and the lowest note is the low register D. This song would probably require fast fingers as there are a few areas with sixteenth notes that are quite fast. Other than this, I believe that it shouldn’t be too hard to play. For the fast notes, I also added slurs so that the player doesn’t need to double tongue! 🙂 To facilitate the musician in conveying the song in a more particular style, I’ve indicated performance directions on the score. The piano part only has the dynamic markings “pp” as it only plays the chord so it doesn’t need to be played loudly, whereas the flute part has various articulation and dynamic markings. I didn’t include as many directions as in the ternary composition as I feel that jazz compositions should remain quite uniform throughout, therefore I mainly used slurs and at times staccato.

In this final version, I’ve made many improvements from my draft. Firstly, I’ve changed the rhythm of the first few bars from eighth and sixteenth notes to only eighth notes. In the draft, I did this because I wanted the composition to sound like it was played in a swinging style (since Finale is not capable of playing this), so I changed the value of the notes based on this. I believed doing so also made playing the piece much easier when sightreading! <– This suggestion was given by Mr. Otoole. Then, to address Mikayla’s comment of adding a more distinct melody, I took away the number of notes in each bar to make the melody of the flute less messy and more apparent. An example of this would be in bar 6 and bar 27. In response of Yubin’s comment, I added the performance directions such as dynamics and articulation to the piece for this final version. For commenter 084373, I made the rhythm of a sixteenth, eighth, sixteenth, eighth note more notable by adding slurs to it and dynamic changes to make its existence more outstanding.

I think the areas of improvement would definitely learning to incorporate more rests into the piece. I recognize the lack of rests in the composition which makes the song sound crowded/ not enough space to breath. Also, if we were going to do this project again, I would certainly consider using more longer valued notes. I would improve the current creation by trying to use more of the 7-3 resolution to make the piece flow even better.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot from this jazz unit. After all, this is probably only my second or third official experience with jazz music (the first time was at summer music camps). I can’t deny but admit that I am now comfortable in teaching others on the basic fundamentals of the genre of jazz, which I could not do prior to this project. I liked how we were given the chords and only required to compose the flute solo because if I was asked to design the chords too, I probably would not be able to complete the task. Throughout this activity, I was able to effectively use my PJ to make progress – I posted my composition on my iFolio and received feedbacks on improvements. Instead of approaching a peer in real life to ask them for comments on my creation, my blog acted as an online platform to record down constructive criticism on how to further develop. Through commenting on others’ blogs, I also saw the pros and cons of their composition and could apply it in my final version.


Stella Solo Draft

Attached below is the PDF to my draft version of the Stella by Starlight composition. Listen to the MP3 too from the recording bar!

FionaChan9G_Stella by Starlight

This is the draft of my Stella by Starlight jazz composition. The solo instrument is Flute with Piano as accompaniment. The tempo of this piece is not too fast, I chose this because it has many notes that have short value, so even if it is set at a slow tempo, it wouldn’t be too boring. I found that this project was a little more difficult than the first ternary composition and I propose that the reason is because jazz music normally does not have a set melody, so I cannot write the piece revolving around any specific element – most of the notes have to be devised from the chord and there wasn’t any guide lines. Feel free to listen to my draft jazz music and leave a comment down below to help me improve my composition! 🙂

Ternary Composition Final

Below is the final version of my ternary composition.

A Spring’s Tale

This is the final version of my ternary composition – A Spring’s Tale. This composition is created for the flute and piano, with an A, B, A structure. I started on an F Major and moved to its dominant key – C Major, in section B. This was because, as mentioned previously that I wanted my piece to have a joyful and lively, which I feel going to the relative minor would ruin. I always liked the tune of classical music over modern songs, because I think they express meanings more effectively, hence I took a more classical-music like approach to this composition compared to some of my peers’ pieces.

Before talking about the changes that I made to my final piece compared to my draft, I would like to comment about the process of this composition creation. I started this piece with the 8 bar composition and transformed it into this 24 bar piece. The area that I think was the most well done was not a particular part or tune, but how I used the main melody in multiple sections and made it reoccur in the piece. The melody of Section A was used as the accompaniment in Section B and became melody again in the second Section A. At the beginning, when I was first starting to transform the 8 bar melody to this composition, Mr. Otoole suggested me in making my second phrase as the melody for my Section B in the ternary composition. I thought this was a good idea, but the problem was that because the Section B could only go to either the dominant key or relative minor, if I were to change key and at the same time change the melody, my Section A and B would be too different. Therefore, I thought of the idea of using the Section A melody as part of the piano accompaniment, to reinforce the tune among the Section B, but not too prominent, so that at the same time there would be a connection between the two sections. The big difference between my 8 bar composition and this version would be the additional second phrase in Section A. This is because it is a whole new melody that I came up with according to the tune of the first phrase; it has never occurred in the previous compositions.

In this final piece, I mainly made alterations to the B section, with some articulation markings in other areas as compared to the draft. Firstly, after asking for Mr. Otoole’s opinion on my draft, he said that incorporating the staccato triplets in bar 11 and 12 (first phrase of Section B) into the second phrase would be a good idea as he thought that the mood created by the light, active notes should remain until the end of the B section. Therefore, I added triplets to the right-hand accompaniment in bar 13-15, imitating the flute melody in bar 11-12. From my previous post, many of my peer’s comments stated that the piano was overpowering at times and covered the flute. I translated the recording into an MP3 through Garage Band, which messed up the dynamics of the piece. However, I then realized that part of the problem was actually on the composition; because the piano accompaniment mostly had more than one note to play, the sound of it would be very loud even when indicated pp as compared to the single notes played by the flute. Therefore, I changed some of the places to ppp from pp, which I felt made the flute melody much more distinguishable.

Although the three sections (A, B, A) are different, they are all connected at the same time. I have used similar rhythms and melodies throughout. I would say that the melody heard in Section A was used in the entire piece, which revolved around this main idea. Although it may not have been the melody in Section B, it was the counter-melody that supported the main melody and brought out the uniqueness of the flute part. The rhythm changes were apparent in the different sections, in fact, the rhythm was a whole new story in Section B as compared to Section A. The notes transitioned from flowing sixteenth notes to triplets labeled staccatos. From here, the mood of the piece also changed from a flowing, smooth like to a vivid, lively atmosphere. Although so, the Section B still sounds connected to the first section because of the melody played by the piano. Regarding the second Section A, it can be seen that there have been changes made to it relative to the first Section A. This can be mainly identified through the last two bars of the first phrase (bar 19-20) – Sixteenth notes were used in contrast with the quarter and eighth notes in bar 3-4. Change can also be seen through bars 22-23. Instead of descending from an A to an F in bar 6-7, the notes went ascending from D to F in the second Section A. Though, the main melodies and rhythms have still been kept throughout, such as in 17-18, 21-22. In addition, the variation in the sections can also be evident through the key change – F Major to C Major to F Major. This is what I personally think, but a few of my peers addressed the fact that the melodies in Section A and B were too alike (They were Ethan, Tiffany and commenter 110075). They stated that an improvement would be making the overall piece more distinct. On the contrary, I received a comment saying that I did a good job on the contrast in the phrases from Natalie. Thus, I believe that whether the three sections were similar or not wasn’t actually based on the piece itself, but according to the preferences of each person; some people might think that the piece is too alike, but others may disagree.

The transition between sections were done very well. From the first A Section to the B Section, I used three triplets in proposing the key change. Other than this, the triplets also act as a “hint” to show the rhythms that are going to appear in the coming section. I used a B♮ in the triplet to show a key change to C Major, because of the nature of this key having no sharps of flats. I believe doing so has guided my audience through the two sections easily while introducing the new key. From the Section B to second Section A, I used a fermata to indicate a pause, which shows an end to a phrase. Then, I used an eighth note C at the last beat of bar 16 to lead to the tonic (F) of bar 17, also the start of the second Section A. Several commenters mentioned that my composition has a smooth melody (Commenter 063771 and Tiffany). This shows that I was successful in composing a song that consisted of melodious transitions between phrases.

I this piece will have to be played by players who have around 1-2 years of experience with the flute. Reasons are because it is not too hard, yet it has some parts that require special skills to be able to play. This composition doesn’t include many extreme high or low notes, it also doesn’t have too many complicated rhythms, which is what makes it easy to play. However, it is in quite a fast tempo, has places which might require double-tonguing and fast fingers, meaning that a beginner will not be able to play. Despite this, the composition is totally feasible to be played, an example would be myself, I could play this song easily without any trouble and am sure that several other flute players in my class will be able to do so. I even received a feedback (Natalie) saying that the difficulty of my piece was unique, suggesting the composition is successful regarding its playability. Regarding the piano part, I believe this can be played by beginners simply with practice. This is because there aren’t many big spans of notes or weird movements of the hand from chord to chord. No one comment on the difficulty of the piano part, therefore I infer that it was probably feasible for playing; hence it didn’t receive too much attention.

I have included a wide range of performance directions in A Spring’s Tale. This can be evident throughout the entire score, dynamics, tempo and articulation markings. I chose Allegretto, (♩=110) for my piece and decided to keep the same tempo throughout, to maintain the fast-paced, playful mood of the composition. Dynamics ranging from to ppp have been utilized for both the flute and piano part, with decrescendos and crescendos every now and then. I constantly used slurs and staccatos, as well as fermatas, turns and trills in the piece, enhancing the player’s/audience’s process of playing/listening to it.

Chords were used throughout this piece of music to help bring out the melody. I used a variety of major and minor chords to suit the chord requirements (see rubric). I was able to follow the guidelines and created cadences as suggested (ie. an imperfect cadence in bar 4). I matched corresponding chords with the melody to minimise clashing of notes, which I think was quite successful. I also did a good job on labelling the chords. This can be seen in the major chords labeled in upper case and minor chords labeled in lower case. I did not receive any feedback about my labelling of chords or cadences etc., suggesting that this was done properly in my composition.

I believe I effectively created a convincing piece of music. This can be reflected by the comments that I received. Almost everyone indicated that I have a very catching melody and that they “sounded good”. However, Michael said that at my B Section, the music sounded disorganised and that the flow was ruined by the half notes. Comparing his remark with the others, I think this was just his own thought, which might have been because he did not favor this type of composition. As a whole, many people had positive feedbacks to my composition, which signifies that I have created a convincing piece of music.

Of course, there will always be areas of improvement for a composition that a grade 9 student wrote. Personally, I think if I could add more “layers” to my piece, it would make the song sound much more resonant when heard. I think using the Section A melody as the counter melody for Section B was very effective, hence I think doing something similar will also make the piece more interesting to listen to. Other than this, I think adding more diversity into Section B will also improve the overall composition. As mentioned by a few commenters, they found that Section A and B was not distinct enough. I personally don’t really sense that the two sections were as alike as they said, however since these were my peers’ thoughts, it might really be the case. I think it would be a challenge to alter the Section B to make it more dissimilar to Section A without changing the melody, because I feel like if I took the counter melody of the right hand piano accompaniment away, the two will become very different and not sound from the same song anymore. If I were to make alterations to this Section B, I will probably attempt in making adjustments for the left hand of the piano part because I think that this will cause the least impact on the overall piece.

This unit was extremely enjoyable as we were able to run wild with our creativity and create what we wanted based on a few basic specifications. The PJ has allowed me in receiving feedbacks from my peers, which exposed me to different perspectives of my composition. I learned a lot mainly about chords and most importantly, the way to connect two voices – in this case Flute and Piano – together effectively in a piece. Not only was listening to others comment on my composition a valuable experience, listening to others’ composition and giving them feedback also allows me to see what I truly understand. Through giving comments to other composers in class, I also became aware of the aspects of composition and what makes an effective piece of music. Every time I listen to a new piece, I learn a new method of putting together rhythms and melodies to make a 24 bar song. The use of the PJ has allowed me in recording down my mistakes and successes throughout this unit, which has led me into refining my composition and perfecting it to the best I can from the most original 8 bar draft.

Ternary Composition – Draft

After completing the 8 bar melody, I transformed it into a 24 bar piece that contains three sections: A, B, A.

Before I explain the choices that I made, here is an MP3 of the piece and the PDF. Please note that the recording will not be the same as the score regarding the dynamics because when the midi. file is created from the finale file, it does not copy the dynamics from the score. Therefore, you might hear parts in the recording where the piano is overpowering the flute solo, but in reality, the flute is supposed to be louder.

A Spring’s Tale – Ternary Composition

The key that I started in was F Major, which I then moved from to its dominant – C Major in section B. I didn’t choose to use the relative minor for section B since my composition is a rather happy and lively song, which a minor key will disrupt. You will see that I did not use the same order of phrases in this ternary composition when compared to the 8 bar melody. This is because I took my second phrase in the 8 bar piece as my main melody in section B and developed a new tune for the second phrase of section A. One thing that I would like to comment on that I felt was quite successful was that I utilized the flute melody of section A as the piano accompaniment of my section B. Of course, I did not use the exact same phrasing in the accompaniment because after all, it is only the accompaniment for the flute part. Therefore, I used a similar structure of the notes and also made alterations to it. The left hand of the piano part that I originally had in the second phrase of the 8 bar composition was adjusted to suit the newly added part of the left hand piano. The main changes in the second section A were that I included much more semi-quavers, evident in bar 20-21 and bar 23.

I am sure this composition still has lots of its places that can be improved! Please leave a comment down below to help create a better version of A Spring’s Tale! Thanks!





8 Bar Melody – Final

Here is my final 8 Bar Melody.

A Spring’s Tale

So I finally decided to give my composition a title, which I called “A Spring’s Tale”, seen above. I didn’t exactly know what I was going to call my piece, but Mr. Otoole suggested that this melody reminded him of a bird song. I immediately thought of the spring time because birds usually sing the loudest and vividly during the spring, for those of you who don’t know; spring is the best season for birds to mate. I merged my own opinions too and had a general picture of the arrival of spring and birds happily singing, it was like a story is about to begin, where leaves and flowers are beginning to grow back, like the re-birth of nature.  Therefore, I decided to name my composition “A Spring’s Tale”.

The main changes in this final piece is mainly the piano accompaniment. Almost all of the comments that I got from the first draft stated that the piano was sometimes a little too loud and would be improved by making it more simple. I think the reason to this was because of the double notes in the left hand (mentioned by Mr. Otoole’s feedback). Hence, you will be able to see that the left hand of the accompaniment is now more simple, such as bars 1 and 2.

Another thing that I changed was the dynamics of the piece. This final version includes more extreme dynamics (not sure if “extreme” is the perfect word, but I can’t think of another word that would be more suitable) that goes down to pianissimo in the accompaniment part, as compared to the first version, where the lowest dynamic notation is only piano . You can see that in bar 1, I have changed the mezzopiano markings to piano markings, as well as some piano markings into pianissimo, evident in bar 4 and 5. I have also added some dynamic markings to some of the bars, to make the phrase look more connected (the first two bars had dynamics, so I thought since the third and fourth bar had similar structures, they should have the same dynamic markings too.

I have been wanting to change the fermata in bar 4, as one of the comments indicated that the fermata is held too long. However, I was not able to change the fermata length on Finale, therefore the fermata is still held the same length. Despite this, when this is played in real life, I will suggest that players don’t hold the note as long, after all, the length is not really fixed, it is to the preference of the musician.

I was not able to change the clash in bar 5 as I said I would in my previous post. I have tried alternating the chord many times yet it really did go well only with the tonic chord, which I cannot use, hence I decided to stay with this chord because the other chords sounded worse. I didn’t change the melody any further after the first change (mentioned in the previous post) because I felt that the flute part is the main melody in this song, thus it should not be altered to suit the accompaniment, a part that is meant to support the major line.

8 Bar Composition – Draft 1

Here is the draft version of my 8 bar composition melody. The key is in F major and the tempo is Quater Note = 110. Feel free to leave any comments for improvements in the future for draft 2, 3, 4…! 🙂

8 Bar Melody

During the process of this first draft, I’ve made major changes to my composition a couple of times. Firstly, the melody of the first two bars was altered to become more complex. The very first idea did not have the sixteenth notes on the second beat. The bar had a half note, spanning from the first to second beat and the eighth notes for the third and fourth beats. I made this decision because I thought it was too simple at the beginning, which would make the flutist bored when playing the melody. The second major change that I made to my composition was at bar 5. Firstly, I changed the flute melody from F A F C A F (first triplet melody) for the triplets to C F F C A F (second triplet melody); what I have now. I also changed the beat at which the second chord of this bar was played. Rather than placing it on the third beat, like all the other second chords of the other bars, I placed it on the fourth beat, with a rest on the third beat.  This was because according to the composition requirements, there cannot be two consecutive chords of the same in a bar. The first triplet melody only went well with the tonic chord, I think this might be because the triplet started on a tonic note. As a result, this violated the rule, the bar started with a tonic chord and had a tonic chord on the third & fourth beat. Changing the placement of the chord might be one of the reasons to why the second triplet melody sounded better than the first triplet melody.  I am still aware, however, of the prominent clashing sound in the current version of the composition, which will be a problem that I look into for future adjustments.

What I like about my current version of the composition is that the flute melody is very protruding from all the voices in the composition. I also enjoy bars 6-8, where the piano and flute melody sounds like they are having a conversation; the flute melody finishes the triplets and hands it over to the piano (seen in LH part).