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Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: beet31425] #1630843
03/01/11 04:53 PM
03/01/11 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by eweiss
Originally Posted by ll
... do you even know anything about literature or art?

It's not like those styles are 'limited' to the times they began. People still paint in impressionist style today, and Poe's "Romantic" era is still in effect because all forms of writing are continued.

I know enough. As I said before, if someone wants to paint [exactly] like Monet or write like Poe, go for it. Why would I care? The point I'm trying to make is it's antiquated and not relevant for TODAY. It was relevant when it was originally done. Is that hard to understand?


I think it's a fascinating and complex issue, not well served by ll's "do you even know anything about art", nor by eweiss's condescending "is that hard to understand?". Because, yes, it is hard to understand.

I had a friend in graduate school who wrote sonatas in the style of Schubert. Beautiful themes, complex, unexpected modulations, overall balance. Schubert himself might have been proud of some moments-- and I don't say that lightly.

So I had great respect for my friend's compositions, but I couldn't help thinking... what was the point? A part of me always felt his pieces to be derivative, mere copies. But why? Schubert's music has timeless value, not depending on the century it was written in; why then can't my friend's music (assuming for the sake of argument is was on the level of Schubert, which of course it isn't) be judged on its own merits, independent of its century?

It's a really interesting issue, I think. The only wrong opinion is the simple black-or-white one.

-Jason



I'd agree except for one reason.

Who said the sonata would be in the style of SOMEONE?

Was Beethoven just copying Mozart? Or Mozart copying Hadyn?

No. We're talking about a style. Someone shouldn't be limited to what's going on now - God, I'd rather never think about music than believe that I'd have to write in the style of Lady Gaga. That doesn't mean I'd never want to try pop music at all.

And really, the OP never specifies what 'classical' means. Classical era, or just classical music?

Would you say that a Mozart sonata is similar to a Rach sonata?

eweiss has made similar posts like this before. They end in one thing: promoting his own style. How is that any better? Just because it's been recently used?

Last edited by ll; 03/01/11 05:00 PM.

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Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: ll] #1630846
03/01/11 05:00 PM
03/01/11 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ll
I'd agree except for one reason...

I'm not sure what you're agreeing with. smile All I was trying to show was that the question of the validity of composing in older styles is complex, and I personally have quite conflicted feelings about it.

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: ll] #1630849
03/01/11 05:04 PM
03/01/11 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ll
I'd agree except for one reason.

Who said the sonata would be in the style of SOMEONE?

Was Beethoven just copying Mozart? Or Mozart copying Hadyn?

No. We're talking about a style. Someone shouldn't be limited to what's going on now - God, I'd rather never think about music than believe that I'd have to write in the style of Lady Gaga.

eweiss has made similar posts like this before. They end in one thing: promoting his own style. How is that any better? Just because it's been recently used?

Beethoven was making music for his time. So was Mozart. They weren't interested in writing music like Bach (although they acknowledge the influence.) They were interested in expressing their voice through music.

Of course I want to promote my style. But I'm not writing these posts to do that. Just bored and killing time. smile


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Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: eweiss] #1630860
03/01/11 05:14 PM
03/01/11 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by ll
I'd agree except for one reason...

I'm not sure what you're agreeing with. smile All I was trying to show was that the question of the validity of composing in older styles is complex, and I personally have quite conflicted feelings about it.

-Jason


I was agreeing on the complexity of the situation: why write music in that style if you are just 'copying'? But at the same time, why not write it if you wish to and can create it in your own way?

My argument was against 'why you shouldn't do it' - in the end, it does lose its merit.

Originally Posted by eweiss
Beethoven was making music for his time. So was Mozart. They weren't interested in writing music like Bach (although they acknowledge the influence.) They were interested in expressing their voice through music.

Of course I want to promote my style. But I'm not writing these posts to do that. Just bored and killing time. smile


Who said the style Mozart and Beethoven wrote aren't music for our time? Last time I checked, plenty of people listen to and play their music.


II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.
Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: ll] #1630862
03/01/11 05:17 PM
03/01/11 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ll
Who said the style Mozart and Beethoven wrote aren't music for our time? Last time I checked, plenty of people listen to and play their music.

Dude ... 'rap music' is the music of our time. It reflects the values and morals of our lovely society. smile

But right now, Lady Gaga is the queen of all things musically relevant. But give it a few months and another 'star' will take her place.


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Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: ll] #1630873
03/01/11 05:29 PM
03/01/11 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ll

I'd agree except for one reason.

Who said the sonata would be in the style of SOMEONE?


Shall we get one thing clear? No-one requires our permission to write anything they like in any style they like!

Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: Exalted Wombat] #1630881
03/01/11 05:38 PM
03/01/11 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by eweiss
Originally Posted by ll
Who said the style Mozart and Beethoven wrote aren't music for our time? Last time I checked, plenty of people listen to and play their music.

Dude ... 'rap music' is the music of our time. It reflects the values and morals of our lovely society. smile

But right now, Lady Gaga is the queen of all things musically relevant. But give it a few months and another 'star' will take her place.


...uh, right. Whatever you say.

Originally Posted by Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted by ll

I'd agree except for one reason.

Who said the sonata would be in the style of SOMEONE?


Shall we get one thing clear? No-one requires our permission to write anything they like in any style they like!


Of course! Hence the conclusion of, "Why talk about why - talk about how!"


II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.
Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: Exalted Wombat] #1630882
03/01/11 05:41 PM
03/01/11 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Exalted Wombat
Well, the great argument AGAINST "contemporary Christian" is simply to note the bland, derivative pap that is presented under that label :-)

One man's pap is another man's pleasure. smile


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Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: Lingyis] #1631181
03/02/11 03:33 AM
03/02/11 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Lingyis

other than that, i think the main reason to write a sonata is because most of us have played so many of them so there's familiarity. and it's a neat and fun exercise.



I think the main reason is because as a musical structure, it still works for some composers, and so there is no good reason to discard it. As far as "relevancy" goes, I really have no idea what that even means in classical music. Seems to me that the composers decide what is relevant to them, and because of that, whatever they compose is going to be relevant by definition. Trendiness, now, that's different...



Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: beet31425] #1631198
03/02/11 04:17 AM
03/02/11 04:17 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by eweiss
Originally Posted by ll
... do you even know anything about literature or art?

It's not like those styles are 'limited' to the times they began. People still paint in impressionist style today, and Poe's "Romantic" era is still in effect because all forms of writing are continued.

I know enough. As I said before, if someone wants to paint [exactly] like Monet or write like Poe, go for it. Why would I care? The point I'm trying to make is it's antiquated and not relevant for TODAY. It was relevant when it was originally done. Is that hard to understand?


I think it's a fascinating and complex issue, not well served by ll's "do you even know anything about art", nor by eweiss's condescending "is that hard to understand?". Because, yes, it is hard to understand.

I had a friend in graduate school who wrote sonatas in the style of Schubert. Beautiful themes, complex, unexpected modulations, overall balance. Schubert himself might have been proud of some moments-- and I don't say that lightly.

So I had great respect for my friend's compositions, but I couldn't help thinking... what was the point? A part of me always felt his pieces to be derivative, mere copies. But why? Schubert's music has timeless value, not depending on the century it was written in; why then can't my friend's music (assuming for the sake of argument is was on the level of Schubert, which of course it isn't) be judged on its own merits, independent of its century?

It's a really interesting issue, I think. The only wrong opinion is the simple black-or-white one.



I think your friend's music should be judged on its own merits. And the point of it is that it got written - why should there be anything else? After all, Rachmaninoff and Medtner and Stenhammar all composed much fine music that was, if not in direct imitation of another composer, certainly thought to be anachronistic in style. And many composers have found themselves more-or-less stylistically obsolete by the end of their careers, but still continued to turn out good stuff - Hummel, Strauss, Sibelius, and Saint-Saens come to mind.

To me, the issue isn't so much about writing in an old style, but about whether it's authentic to the composer. And naturally enough, if it sounds a whole lot like somebody else's music, I start wondering about how authentic it might be. But I try to stay open to any possibility - there have been some highly derivative composers who still managed to write enjoyable stuff.

Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: dlee1001] #1631271
03/02/11 08:39 AM
03/02/11 08:39 AM
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There's always a place for modern reinventions of older styles. Dixieland bands doing original tunes exist. Bolcom's and Albright's revivals of Ragtime are brilliant. Arcadi Volodos, Stephen Hough, and Marc-Andre Hamelin write transcriptions and paraphrases that don't feel anachronistic at all. Even Radiohead's new album doesn't feel that much newer than what people like Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd, Kitaro, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Laurie Anderson were doing in the 70's and 80's.

Bach was old-fashioned in his day, as were Brahms and Rachmaninoff. Nothing wrong with that, they wrote what they felt.

Also, it's worth keeping in mind that sonata form is merely a dramatic archetype. Just as the love story will never go out of style, sonata form is probably here to stay for awhile. That being said, popular love stories today tend towards the "Twilight" variety and not the "Pride and Prejudice" variety. But even then, there are people for whom Pride and Prejudice is still relevant, and those who would read and enjoy something newly written in that old style.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: dlee1001] #1929036
07/19/12 10:59 AM
07/19/12 10:59 AM
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Hello. I'm coming late to this discussion and wonder if you are still interested in writing a piano sonata?

I have been working with my professor for over a year on keyboard sonata movements. We are writing in the "Galant" style (the period directly preceding & leading to the Classicism of Mozart and his generation).
Galant forms are somewhat more simplified and easier to tackle than later styles, but the simple courtly exteriors conceal very characteristic and often complicated gestures, schemes & progressions.

Writing sonatas is challenging, instructive & fun. It will help you as a student of composition in any genre. We can chat about it more if you like.

By the way, Dr. Gjerdingen at Northwestern Univ has a wonderful site which explores composition & teaching methods of the late Baroque & Classical. Check out
http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/index.htm

Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: MUhlenkott] #1929055
07/19/12 11:52 AM
07/19/12 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by MUhlenkott
Hello. I'm coming late to this discussion and wonder if you are still interested in writing a piano sonata?

I have been working with my professor for over a year on keyboard sonata movements. We are writing in the "Galant" style (the period directly preceding & leading to the Classicism of Mozart and his generation).
Galant forms are somewhat more simplified and easier to tackle than later styles, but the simple courtly exteriors conceal very characteristic and often complicated gestures, schemes & progressions.

Writing sonatas is challenging, instructive & fun. It will help you as a student of composition in any genre. We can chat about it more if you like.

By the way, Dr. Gjerdingen at Northwestern Univ has a wonderful site which explores composition & teaching methods of the late Baroque & Classical. Check out
http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/index.htm


I have finished my freshman year of college. I'm a music education major and my primary instrument is piano. In my theory class, we did learn about the sonata form and even did an analysis project on the first movement of Mozart's K545. Basically what we had to do in that project was label the exposition, development, and recapitulation. The rest consisted of marking the phrases, motives, and sequences, along with the complete Roman numeral analysis.

In my piano lessons, I've been assigned the third movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and also the first movement of Mozart's K333.

Where does all this lead to? Well, you can safely infer that I know much more about sonata form now than a year ago. Of course, there's still a lot to learn, and I have yet to apply what I have learned so far into recreating my sonata.

I have, however, applied some other things that I learned in my theory class, such as the cadential 6/4, phrases, and motives. Right now I'm contemplating what to write in order to apply my knowledge of secondary-function (secondary dominant) chords. You can see my other compositions on my MuseScore page here.

I once informed my piano teacher that I wrote a sonata and, upon me telling her that I used the first movement of Beethoven's "Patétique" sonata as a template for the first movement of my sonata (link: http://musescore.com/user/2127/scores/26530), it was revealed that I needed to add more to the composition and rewrite some parts of it. I'll have to find time to work on it.

Last edited by dlee1001; 07/19/12 11:55 AM.

Words from a lifelong friend: "Always stay true to yourself and don't let anyone take away your happiness."
Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: MUhlenkott] #1929490
07/20/12 05:01 AM
07/20/12 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MUhlenkott


By the way, Dr. Gjerdingen at Northwestern Univ has a wonderful site which explores composition & teaching methods of the late Baroque & Classical. Check out
http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/index.htm


That does look interesting! Thanks for the tip.


Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: wr] #1929509
07/20/12 06:48 AM
07/20/12 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by MUhlenkott


By the way, Dr. Gjerdingen at Northwestern Univ has a wonderful site which explores composition & teaching methods of the late Baroque & Classical. Check out
http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/index.htm


That does look interesting! Thanks for the tip.



I guess, for once, you are happy to see a "zombie thread" resurrected?

Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: Damon] #1929527
07/20/12 07:24 AM
07/20/12 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by MUhlenkott


By the way, Dr. Gjerdingen at Northwestern Univ has a wonderful site which explores composition & teaching methods of the late Baroque & Classical. Check out
http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/index.htm


That does look interesting! Thanks for the tip.



I guess, for once, you are happy to see a "zombie thread" resurrected?


"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..."

And I didn't characterize it as a zombie thread, anyway - that's your characterization, not mine.








Last edited by wr; 07/20/12 08:29 AM.
Re: How to write a piano sonata? [Re: wr] #1929772
07/20/12 02:24 PM
07/20/12 02:24 PM
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I thought I'd bring the topic back because it is an interesting and helpful one which got sidetracked a while ago by a discussion of relevancy.

Besides loving this music, writing in this style and trying to do it as perfectly as possible, it has been an incredibly helpful process for me. Learning how to construct logical, forward-driven and listenable (I hope) pieces of music would come in handy for any composer!

Anyway, there are lots of details and complexities to sonata writing. Expo, Dev & Recap are very general - really just the tip of the iceberg!

If it would be helpful to anyone, I've posted several of my Galant-style keyboard sonata movements (and a few other student pieces) at Soundcloud here:
http://soundcloud.com/search?q[fulltext]=michael+uhlenkott

Pretty basic stuff but writing these fairly simple pieces has helped me a lot!

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