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#2130615 - 08/10/13 03:54 AM Original Composition - Onwards to Happiness
kayl_95 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/13
Posts: 2
Hi everyone this is my first post on the forums

This is my original composition "Onwards to Happiness". The draft of this piece was my first composition; later I went back to it to flesh out the piece and enter it in a notation software. I recently entered this into my first ever composition contest so I hope it will be recognized.

As of now, my piano techniques aren't good enough for me to play this piece the way I want it to sound, so if anyone here talented enough (and kind enough) to post a recording of this piece, it will be greatly appreciated!

Any comments or constructive feedback is welcome. I just turned 18 a few months ago and I only started learning piano and music in general when I was 15 and a half, so I don't know much about the theory in detail. Also I don't have much chance to practise real technique because I only have a keyboard.


Link to sheet music and midi

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#2130763 - 08/10/13 12:08 PM Re: Original Composition - Onwards to Happiness [Re: kayl_95]
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3217
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Hi kayl_95,

Welcome to the Composer's Lounge. Your piece is very cheerful and it brought a smile to my face, despite the fact that a midi rendition is a poor substitute for an actual performance.

As an 18 year old this is good work, but I will offer ideas or suggestions to help you improve. The first thing is it's very easy to fall in love with your creation, resist that temptation. Listen with an ear to how to make it better, if the rhythm's a bit square, mix it up; if the harmony needs to be spiced up, do it; if the dramatic arc of the piece doesn't go anywhere, add in significant variation.

Your piece has its charms, but could also be improved in each of these areas. However, let's go back to the beginning, the initial theme. The rhythm is the same for each of the eight bars, the harmonic progression is a very standard I V vi iii IV V I I and the second to last bar was so good you repeated it. Haydn or Mozart could have composed your piece, there's nothing about it that says 21st century. I hope these thoughts give you something to think about.

Once again your piece is quite charming and as a first effort is quite ambitious. Like any endeavor one gets better with practice and experience. So keep at it. If you're serious about composition I'd suggest finding a teacher.

#2131065 - 08/11/13 01:45 AM Re: Original Composition - Onwards to Happiness [Re: kayl_95]
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6195
Actually quite well done. The good stuff:

1. Good melody. Catchy, natural, sensible.

2. Good structure. Sensible developmental arc, sensible recap.

Now some suggestions:

1. When repeating stuff, consider introducing tiny little variations here and there instead of repeating literally. (Example 1: mm. 14-17 is a repeat of mm. 10-13; a "tiny change" may be as simple as changing the second "g" in m.16 to a "a-flat." Example 2: mm. 23-24 is a repeat of mm. 21-22; a "tiny change" may be as simple as changing the melody's "a-flat" in m.24 to a "b-flat" and reharmonize m.24 accordingly with a V chord.)

2. Let it "breath" from time to time ... ever since the end of the intro (m.9), the music just keeps chugging along relentlessly; there is always some notes playing in every beat from m.10 all the way to the end. Yet in there you have switched motives many times. See if you can find places for the music (not just the melody, but also the accompaniment) to "take a break" from the constant movement. (These opportunities typically occur when you change motives; e.g., m.40 wink ).

It's usually a very good thing to have and keep a groove going, but since you're not really arranging for a night club dance track, it wouldn't hurt to let the music "pause" every once in a while to enhance the drama.

3. Rhythmic or style change in the accompaniment ... can consider occasionally changing the rhythm or style of the accompaniment, especially when you change the motive in the melody. The ears fatigue if they keep listening to the same sort of thing over and over after a while, so occasionally changing things up helps keeps the music appear "fresh" to the typical human ear.

About the harmony ... yeah, pretty standard chord progression, but as a piece of pop/easy-listening music, that's actually par for the course. Many pop/rock/blues artists have no problem entertaining millions with songs using only simple chord progressions repeated over and over and over and over again. You can sprinkle in more imaginative/unusual chord progressions (and it would be a good composition exercise), but it ultimately hinges on what you really want that piece of music to be (who it is for, what it is for/about).

Very good job over all, I hope you enjoyed your composition experience so far! smile
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

#2132613 - 08/14/13 03:24 AM Re: Original Composition - Onwards to Happiness [Re: kayl_95]
Lindacharlotte Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/13
Posts: 13
I'm not a professional or pianist, just give some words like someone from public. It sounds nice, and I like the idea of bringing happiness. However, I just feel it's so simple, maybe good to put some lyrics and make it a children's song?
Look for UU

#2132628 - 08/14/13 04:36 AM Re: Original Composition - Onwards to Happiness [Re: kayl_95]
kayl_95 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/13
Posts: 2
Hi everyone thanks for the comments, I really appreciate it

@Steve Chandler, yes now listening to it again it feels stilted and the chord progression is really fixed. I am learning some theory right now such as chords other than major and minor to see how to spice the piece up

@Axtremus thanks for the advice for introducing contrast and not making it so "pushing"

@Lindacharlotte yes a simplicity was my intention, but I intend to compose more complex pieces once I learn some more theory. Adding lyrics might be a good idea.

#2135115 - 08/18/13 11:48 PM Re: Original Composition - Onwards to Happiness [Re: kayl_95]
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 268
I have a suggestion. There's a particularly dramatic part of the piece where you have those fast right hand sort of glissando chords, or whatever the term is. It might add to the contrast of you do a more minimal left hand part there, because it seems like a fairly important part of the song but doesn't really stand out as much ad it could because the accompaniment is pretty much doing the same thing as it does through the whole song. A sparser left hand part, or a different left hand rhythm, maybe with octaves or something, could really add to the drama of that particular section. I'm not sure if that was your intent with this particular part, but it seems like you're hinting at it.


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