The piece above is a short composition that I created. The main focus for this year’s composition unit was phrasing. Making the phrases connect with each other and to use chords or rhythm to support the phrasing. We started off by creating our own rhythm, then gradually progressing and creating an 8 bar long melody, then finally transforming it into a complete 16 bar piece. The way the melody was taken slowly made it more enjoyable and less stressful to complete. We had sufficient time to enjoy the process of composition, instead of rushing it through, which makes the experience more remarkable and helps with the creativity.
Speaking of the composition process, I will continue by talking about the some of the choices I made when creating this piece. My original intention was to create a formal, classical piece, but my idea changed because I just wanted to keep things simple. Therefore, I went back to look at the 8 bar melody task that I have done previously and gained some inspiration from there. At last, I decided to create a piece that is fun and enjoyable, so I also changed the title of the song from ‘Pleasing Classic’ to ‘A Bundle of Joy’. The title change also makes the music much more interesting. A cheerful atmosphere reminds me of children jumping around. A majority of the notes that I used were either one beat or shorter, which creates a distinct and clear sound along with a“skipping” effect. Articulation, specifically staccatos, were used in the downbeat (the second beat of some bars), which are relatively weaker beats. The staccatos help to emphasize the weak beats to create more presence for the weaker notes. However, I did not add staccatos in every bar because it will be too repetitive and boring, so it will be more predictable or even somewhat unpleasing to the ears. Additionally, the unbalanced use of staccatos can strengthen the “skipping” feeling that I am trying to create.
There were not a lot of surprises for the dynamics. For the dynamics, I connected two phrases at a time to create the soft and loud sounds, so the first two phrases were together and the last two phrases were together separately. For example, for the first two phrases, it began with piano (soft) and I it gradually got louder in the middle of the first segment (crescendo). Then from the middle to the end, I used a decrescendo to signify that the first half of the song (two phrases, 8 bars) are over along with the use of the half note which is one of the notes with a longer beat value. I also chose to lower the pitch of the notes in the second half of the first segment along with the decrescendo. Even though that it is not necessarily true that lower notes are more quite, but when I incorporate the downwards movement with the decrescendo, it helps create the feeling that it is near the end of the first segment. The second phrase was more random in terms of the last bar because of the unexpectedness that I wanted to create, which is ultimately how people feel when they are happy since they are often surprised at the first place.
Pleasing Music Final Composition SummativeThe pitch range of this piece for the melody part is quite wide, from the B flat below middle C to high G. This was done on purpose because I wanted to have more variation. Just like speaking, I didn’t want my song to be monotone, I want it to be more vibrant and colorful since it is supposed to create a happy atmosphere, therefore I went for almost two octaves in such a short piece. The piece started with a pitch in the middle and ended with the lowest pitch so the beginning would not be too abrupt and the ending will close up, like the feeling of going back home/ back to the base. On a side note, I did not want to limit myself too much with the notes that I used, so I decided to keep the wide range.
I find this piece vibrant and somewhat unique, but not so attractive or memorable. It follows all the rules and guidelines of this task accordingly, but it does not have that many surprises. The notes that I used are all chord tones based on the chord that was assigned to each bar, which will definitely create a consonant melody with a pleasant sound. However, if I want to make my piece more interesting, a creative choice will be to include some non-chord tones throughout the piece. This creates a dissonant sound, which should be more unique. This song is not too difficult to play on both instruments, especially on the piano, so it is great for beginners especially for clarinet players to practice crossing the bridge and moving from low to high notes.
Here are screenshots of constructive feedback I’ve given to my peers throughout their creation process: