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Old 04-01-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
Nietsche
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Composition Challenge: Ternary Form

We've had MT challenges in the past but one hasn't popped up for a while so I thought I'd take a stab at initiating one.

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to compose a piece in Ternary form (ABA) lasting three to five minutes. Everything else is up for grabs - tempo, time signature, instrumentation. The only real concern you should have is providing an effective contrast to the A section with the B section.

Extended deadline of May 15th. Well done to Chuckles and Mathedes for being more productive than the rest of us.


Submissions should ideally consist of the written work, preferably with staff notation, as well as an audio file.

Formal Suggestion: The Minuet and Trio

If you're stuck for ideas on exactly what to write, this section outlines one formal possibility, the Minuet and Trio. It demonstrates one way in which ternary form commonly appears in the classical world in order to provide a more detailed suggestion of how to approach the writing of your piece. Writing in this style is not mandatory, and it is possible to take ideas from here without going the whole hog (For example, you don't have to use modulations, or necessarily write in a tonal style).

Minuet and Trio is the typical form found in the third movement of classical symphonies as well as quartets and sonatas. It consists, as the name suggests, of two sections, a Minuet and a Trio, which are played in the order: Minuet - Trio - Minuet. Both sections are written in triple metre, and typically 3/4 time. The Minuet is typically written in a rounded binary form layed out as follows: ||: A :||: B, A1 :||. Where 'A' is the opening idea, 'B' is a contrasting idea, typically counter posing a different but related harmonic region (Usually the dominant), and A is a variation of the original passage which cadences in the home key.

As an example, you can take a look at the Minuet from Bach's French Suite no. 6 in E major. You can hear a recording here and take a look at the sheet music here. This is a pretty bog standard example of the form, there's an opening eight bar A section which modulates to the dominant of B major in the last four bars. Then you have an eight bar B section which moves through a couple of other harmonic regions before we have a varied repeat of the A section which cadences in the tonic key.

The Trio is written in a similar form as the Minuet. The important thing to remember with this section is that it should provide a contrast with the Minuet. For example, you could write the Trio section in the parallel minor/major. Or if the emphasis of the Minuet is rhythmic, you could write a more melodic/lyrical Trio section and vice versa. Or you could contrast a more contrapuntal section with a more homophonic section.

Remember that traditionally, after the Trio, the Minuet is repeated again. This ups the imperative for the composer to write a good, strong contrast in the Trio so as not to bore the listener. If your Trio is too similar in character to the Minuet, the repeat of the Minuet won't be as effective.

After Beethoven, composers tended more towards writing Scherzos as the third movements of sonatas, symphonies etc. This is basically the same form as the Minuet and Trio but at a livelier tempo. Here is an example of a Scherzo from Beethoven's second piano sonata. Sheet music can be found on the third page here.
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Last edited by Nietsche : 05-16-2013 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:15 PM   #2
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List of Participants

20Tigers
d1sturbed4eva
Duaneclapdrix
ChucklesMginty
evolucian
Han_Sulu
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Mister A.J.
mrkeka
Nietsche
Sn@il!
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TheReverend724
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List of Completed Entries

ChucklesMginty
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Nietsche
Xiaoxi
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Last edited by Nietsche : 05-16-2013 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #3
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:34 PM   #4
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I'm in. Good idea.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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I'm in.
This thread came at a pretty good time. I just got a book on musical form.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:12 AM   #6
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while im too busy to do it
i am curious as to what comes from it
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:33 AM   #7
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Dude, was just saying a few days ago that it's been a while since we've done this.

Still have to do a fugue which Easter was busier than I expected - and I'm one of those creative types whose mind wanders and work doesn't get done on time. (hence why Easter was so busy - catching up on paid work that had to be done before I started back on Tuesday. oops.

Oh - I'm in.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:52 AM   #8
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Ill be in.

Not to nitpick, but music consisting of midi signals is the most listened to in the world atm.

Not to mention that the most recognised instrumental music/ost came only in midi format.

I say if you can overcome the challenge...
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:11 AM   #9
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I hope people steer clear of GuitarPro/TuxGuitar. That stuff drives me nuts. I would honestly rather hear people play their own stuff poorly than listen to something written in GuitarPro.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20Tigers
I hope people steer clear of GuitarPro/TuxGuitar. That stuff drives me nuts. I would honestly rather hear people play their own stuff poorly than listen to something written in GuitarPro.


Agreed. That being said, i plan on recording through a 88 semi weighted key midi controller tru (midi) vst. I guess that should be acceptable.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:36 AM   #11
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The proof is in the pudding.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20Tigers
I hope people steer clear of GuitarPro/TuxGuitar. That stuff drives me nuts. I would honestly rather hear people play their own stuff poorly than listen to something written in GuitarPro.

Okay, why not. I'll do it with a bass guitar and electric guitar.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:29 AM   #13
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If you want to use MIDI in realising your piece and you have some appropriate sounds for whatever it is you're doing it's fine. I just don't particularly want to hear someone's attempt at writing for a symphony orchestra realised with some really cheesy default MIDI soundbank. Write within your means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by supersac
while im too busy to do it
i am curious as to what comes from it


You'll have written a piece of a certain length. Given the requirement of making it a ternary form, you should also ideally get some work in on writing effective contrasting sections.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:00 PM   #14
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I am in.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:44 AM   #15
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I have no idea how to do this. But I can always try. Do you want classical?
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evolucian
I have no idea how to do this. But I can always try. Do you want classical?


There's no style requirement. You can use whatever compositional language you want.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:26 AM   #17
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my problem is notating this shit.. but I'll give it a shot
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:20 AM   #18
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^Yeah I'm in the same boat.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:29 AM   #19
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Tab is fine if you find staff notation too difficult I guess.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:32 AM   #20
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Alright I'm in.
I'm not really sure if I'm able to record at high quality but i'll do my best!
And also, does anybody know ho to write out your ideas on the computer without GuitarPro?
Or should I just handwrite it and scan it?
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