Today I would like to share with you a creative experiment which we did with my students during the Analysis of Musical Compositions class. Our subject was externally expanded period form.. Everything was created in 8 simple steps.
1. We started by writing down treble and bass clefs and 3/4 meter and prepare 12 empty measures:
2. After that we decided that our period will begin and end in the key of C major. The opening two measures should be an introduction (external expansion) which would be followed by the theme from two sentences of 4 measures each. Everything should be ended with a short Codetta of two measures - another external expansion (total of 12 measures).
3. Next comes the decisive step. We had to agree on which chords we will use in this period. I wanted that this piece should be rather colorful but not too difficult. Therefore we decided to write major chords only. They were created in the following order: C-Eb-A-F#-Bb-G-E-F#.
We have repeated the opening chords (C-Eb) during the introduction, in Codetta - the last two (E-F#) and everything closed with the C major chord and the 13th measure.
4. After that we agreed to begin the left hand part with the 5th scale degree (G). In the following measures we only had to create the notes of the new chords in dotted half note rhythms which would be closest to the opening G (this is because we had to keep a smooth voice leading without large leaps).
5. After we had planned the harmonic structure of the piece, there came the work on the left hand texture. Because 3/4 meter often implies waltz, we used a typical rhythm of this dance.
6. After that we created a rhythm for the right hand part. Because the opening two measures were external extension of the period (Introduction) we left the rests in them.
7. After the rhythm of the theme was clear we only had to create the melody out these chords (or the notes that belong to these keys). We tried to avoid any repetitions as much as possible and aimed for the nice melodic contour.
8. In the last step there was a need to create the bass part (although this could have been one of the first steps). Here we wrote the root of each chord with the dotted half note rhythms.
9. We also could have made the bass part more interesting by creating a canon with the theme. In this case the canon would have gone with the same rhythm as in the right hand at the distance of one measure. But we ran out of time.
I think that what we came up with is interesting enough. If you are of the curious type, you too can try creating something like that.
PS The same 8 or 9 steps would have to be applied in learning to improvise such a piece (the bass part could be played with pedals).
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
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