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Old 02-02-2014, 05:53 PM   #1
Duaneclapdrix
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Composition Challenge:Canon you write an Invention?

All right MT denizens, it's time to get composing again.

This time: Inventions! Why Inventions you ask? Because they are a great way to practice good composition. You have make an entire piece with a very small amount of musical material so you have to make the most out of all the possibilities contained in your theme. You also have only two voices to work with, so you have be very aware you direct your lines to clearly spell out the harmony.

But what is an Invention?

An invention is a short contrapuntal work for two voices that loosely follows the basic form of exposition, episode and recapitulation.

The Exposition: In the exposition, a theme is introduced by one of the voices and then repeated in the second voice while the initial voice either plays a countertheme or plays in free counterpoint.

The Episode(s):The main function of an episode is to modulate and to show off how clever you are. How does one do that?Well, the composer (this means you) takes the theme or motives from it and does cool stuff with them.
  • inversion
  • fragmentation
  • extension
  • repetition
  • repetition
  • sequence
  • canonic imitation
  • stretto
  • double counterpoint
  • augmentation and diminution
  • any combination of the above, especially sequence and imitation
Once you have found what clever thing you're going to do, you use that to modulate.

The Middle Entry: After the first episode there is usually a restatement of the theme in the new key followed by more episodes.

The Recapitulation: The recapitulation is the end of the piece. After you've have modulated around you have to come home to the tonic key and restate the theme.

Here are all of Bach's Inventions:http://imslp.org/wiki/15_Inventions...ohann_Sebastian)

And here are some Youtube vids for reference

show


show


Here's a little bit about Invention no.4

Exposition. Ep.1 PAC/ (Middle Entry/Ep.2) Ep.3 PAC/ Ep4 Recap. DC Codetta PAC
m 1-7_____7-18_____18-30_____________30-38____38-44_ 44-49____49-52

d:________F:_______F:_________a:_______________d:_ _____________


Some extra things to pay attention to.
  • Sectional cadences are very important. They stop the piece from sounding like a run on sentence.
  • In between the big cadences it's important to use elision. Look how Bach smoothly transition into Ep.1 with a IAC on the 3rd. It's important to keep smooth transitions like that in mind when you're writing your theme.
  • Try to outline clear harmony. 3rds, 6ths and 10ths will usually be featured on the first beat of most measures to accomplish this. Look at Invention no.4, they're everywhere.

How about we have this done by next Sunday, then we could write more inventions or try a canon.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
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I can never get the initiative to do one of these things unless they're in the /sg/ thread and I'm in charge. Sounds like a great idea though, I played some of Bach's inventions last year, I'll look over them again and try to get something up.

Cheers on the initiative to start this too.
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:52 PM   #3
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I don't know about anyone else but personally I don't see myself being able to get this done satisfactorily by Sunday. I have other music-related projects to work on.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:51 PM   #4
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@Nietsche How about the Sunday after next?

@one vision Just to clarify, you're in right?
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:13 PM   #5
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:16 PM   #6
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Oh. I didn't think anyone was doing this. I don't actually have one done. Yall gotta tell me if you signed up or not!

I"ll give it a crit later if you want. I don't have time atm.

Do you want to keep this up? I'm talkin to errybody here. Let's have another one done next weekend or the next next weekendt. I don't care. Join and compose yall know you want to... Come on.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AETHERA


I don't completely understand what's going on in this piece. Like what is the main idea, the phrase in M.1 top voice? I like that you're trying to work with inversions at the beginning but the material is too weak imo. When I hear the first bar of Bach's invention 1 I know exactly what's up. Your beginning just sounds like some random phrase to me. The subject needs to create more rhythmic and melodic interest yours is essentially an arpeggio in straight 8s.. Or maybe start canonic like Bach often does so everyone understands what the subject actually is before you start developing it with your inversions and sequences.

Kudos for finishing it though!


I'll try to do one soon.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:27 PM   #8
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OK. Here we go. Keep in mind I'm not an expert or anything

What I liked: You modulated to the parallel minor for your ME. I wasn't expecting that.
The harmony was clear for the most part and there were a lot of 6ths and 10th to that end. Over all it sounded like an actual piece of music that just needed a few tweaks and not a contrapuntal exercise, which is a problem with inventions.


Some things to work on: Your theme wasn't very strong because there wasn't any characteristic rhythm or interval to differentiate it from the rest of the counterpoint. It also didn't appear that often. Bach really saturates his Inventions with the main theme or ideas generated from it.
There weren't any strong sectional cadences. And when I say that I mean your cadences didn't break up the motor rhythm, in this case 8ths. It's important that cadences temporarily break up the rhythm as well as establish the key or else the sections kind of run together.
You have a few contrapuntal issues. In m.2 you leap into an octave in parallel motion which made me temporarily lose the voice. Measure 4 starts with a 4th and measure 6 is a 9th which obscures the harmony. In m 21 you have parallel 5ths.

Anyway, I'm really glad you posted something. I thought the thread was dead because no one seemed interested. I hope you're game to post more stuff.


I wasn't going to post this because it was a bit of a rush job, but whatever. I'm in a songwriting game in the Pit where you have to write a new song every week. I procrastinated and put this together in two days. There are numerous things I told myself I was going to go back and rewrite, but I haven't yet. Bad sequence, the sections all feel a bit rushed, I could go on...

Invention No.1 in Gb Major

I was going to write a fresh one for this thread but I haven't yet. I didn't think anyone else was doing it. I suppose start one up now.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duaneclapdrix
You have a few contrapuntal issues. In m.2 you leap into an octave in parallel motion which made me temporarily lose the voice. Measure 4 starts with a 4th and measure 6 is a 9th which obscures the harmony. In m 21 you have parallel 5ths.


the exposed octave is very much a contrapuntal issue, as are the parallel fifths. the 4th and the 9th, however, are acceptable because they resolve as suspensions. dissonances are perfectly acceptable in two-part counterpoint provided that they resolve.

i have one coming but i can't put a definite time frame on it.

duane, i like how well you've saturated the invention with the theme, but it feels like you haven't explored anything else with it, like countersubjects or anything. i know it's not a fugue but there's still plenty of room to explore. that said, that's more of a choice of artistry than of form, so to each his own.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
the exposed octave is very much a contrapuntal issue, as are the parallel fifths. the 4th and the 9th, however, are acceptable because they resolve as suspensions. dissonances are perfectly acceptable in two-part counterpoint provided that they resolve.


@ATHERA like I said, I'm not an expert. I'm pretty weak on suspensions. I'm gonna go review some of my books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
i have one coming but i can't put a definite time frame on it.


Glad to have you participating!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
duane, i like how well you've saturated the invention with the theme, but it feels like you haven't explored anything else with it, like countersubjects or anything. i know it's not a fugue but there's still plenty of room to explore. that said, that's more of a choice of artistry than of form, so to each his own.


I completely agree about not really doing anything with my theme or the countersubject (which I was pretty lax with).It wasn't really "artistry" so much as a deadline.
I'm going to go back and rework a lot of it. I think it has potential to be more interesting, and hopefully I have the ability to realize that. That's why I made the thread. I need to practice.
Thanks for the crit. Really appreciate it.

I'm going to try to post one up soon, but I probably won't be able to start working on one till the weekend. Keep em coming everybody.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:47 PM   #11
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Got inspired by watching Wagner's Meistersinger, I'm going to start writing this today.

It's probably worth noting that Inventions aren't really a strict formal type, there are inventions among Bach's which violate the conventions laid out by the OP, for example, Invention No. 1 doesn't recapitulate the theme after the second entry at the dominant. Neither does No. 8. Invention No. 13 in Bb major doesn't restate the theme in the lower voice in the exposition, the statement of the complete theme in the first voice in bars 1-3 is followed by a sequence which ends on the dominant leading into the middle entry.

There's probably more but those are the three I've played through before.

There are some other two voice pieces by Bach that might be worth looking at. The Fugue in E minor from the WTC for example, the only two voice Fugue in the WTC.

Also the OP mentions repetition as a technique twice.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nietsche
Got inspired by watching Wagner's Meistersinger, I'm going to start writing this today.


Great! I really need to start back up on mine now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nietsche
It's probably worth noting that Inventions aren't really a strict formal type, there are inventions among Bach's which violate the conventions laid out by the OP, for example, Invention No. 1 doesn't recapitulate the theme after the second entry at the dominant. Neither does No. 8. Invention No. 13 in Bb major doesn't restate the theme in the lower voice in the exposition, the statement of the complete theme in the first voice in bars 1-3 is followed by a sequence which ends on the dominant leading into the middle entry.


Yeah. That's part of the fun of inventions. They're more of a procedure than a strict form


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nietsche
Also the OP mentions repetition as a technique twice.


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Old 02-16-2014, 09:43 PM   #13
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Bach invention 8 in F is my favorite one.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:49 PM   #14
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The OP mentions repetition as a technique twice.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:50 AM   #15
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Constructing a sequence from your initial material is about ten times harder than it looks on paper.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:36 PM   #16
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Is the invention the same as the sonata form?
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by macashmack
Is the invention the same as the sonata form?


No. Inventions are far less defined than sonata-allegro form. Any forms that can be seen in Bach's inventions are a result of Bach's musical athletics. Inventions don't really have a conventional form, just some commonalities because Bach composed them. Invention No. 2 is a canon and Invention No. 5 is in simple ternary, but they're both still Inventions. Formal structure is a lot more important for sonatas, as well as key relationships between sections. Inventions also focus on one idea, whereas Sonatas usually have two theme groups.

So,

Invention: Be in two voice counterpoint. That's it really. Also, don't have a bunch of tonic/dominant entries of the theme or else you'll be a fugue.

Sonata: Use Sonata form.

Hopefully that helped. Maybe someone else can explain it better.




I've started to mess around with the stuff I can do with my theme and countertheme. Now I have to find a way to organize the possibilities. That's the hard bit.
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