#1
Hey guys, I would put this in the "original recordings" section with a midi file, but my midi can't do cello for shit, so all I've got is the score.

Anyways, I'm in a composition seminar where the topic is music for the cello. Since I'm a pianist, I figured it'd be fun to do something for cello and piano for my final project. So I'm writing a cello sonata. I've just finished the exposition, so if anyone would like to tell me what they think, I'd be very interested in any comments.

Also, any cellists/string players that could comment on the playability of the cello part. I'm still becoming familiar with it, so any comments on the actual cello writing would also be appreciated.

So here's the score:
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B9wYtm5NwTTVZGUyODg5ODAtMjc1Ni00ODRiLTk3MDktYWRkYjdkZjUwOGIz&hl=en


NOTE: measures 34 and 36 are the same, but I was unsure what the best way to notate what I wanted was, so I wrote it in two different ways. Also, in measure 48, the bass notes are supposed to be Gs
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Mar 18, 2011,
#4
What program did you use to render that? It's difficult to see where the notes lie exactly. Like the very first note; I thought that was an A originally but the A# at the end of the measure is placed higher up, so it had to be a G not an A. However the second and third notes, F and F# presumably, are so close to the first staff line that I wonder if they are actually Fs. Don't mean to nitpick but it is somewhat confusing.
#5
Its finale, but I think the issue is with Google Docs. The more you zoom in, the clearer it becomes, though. It looks fine on the printed page, but since the note sits just barely above-center on the lines, when its in PDF format, it looks like its off the line when your zoomed out.

It becomes clear on my screen whenever your zoomed in so that the page width just about matches the computer screen width.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Mar 18, 2011,
#6
m.6: this chord and trill seems very unfeasible. A, D, G, and F# are not one of the primary partials of the C, G, D, and A strings. The notation is also unclear. I'm not sure if you mean to touch the node there or if that's supposed to be the sounding pitch, or which string each node is on. The trill is very confusing as well for the same reasons. It seems like you want to trill between the C node and F# node (between 1st and 4th finger?). Extremely hard to produce effectively. Also, any nonstep-wise trills should be indicated by slashes between the two trill notes, not as tr.

m.7: the end point of the sustenuto should be on the piano staff, not the cello.

m.8: unclear whether those cello 8ths notes are triplets or regular because of spacing and the triplets from previous bar.

m.12: not sure what N--S.P. means. If N means normal, write "normal/norm./ord." Harmonic chord is again, unfeasible.

m.19/B section: the tempo change is going to be hard to follow. Make it a more tangible change from the first tempo, such as double or cut time, at least in notation.

m.22: I'd respell the Eb as D#, because it's awkward for string players to conceptualize a double augmented 4th as intervallic finger distance.

m.34: at that tempo, the gliss is very hard, and the notation isn't clear either.

m.39: reorient the rhythmic values so that we can clearly see the metric subdivisions

m.47: these chords in the cellos are not feasible. Quadruple stops on cellos should really be limited to at least 1 open string. While it is possible to have a higher note on a lower string than the next open string, it doesn't seem to be the case here.

Development: harmonics are unclear and most likely unfeasible.

Textures look very interesting, especially in the B section of the exposition. A better transition from A to B might be nice. And be more careful about all the things I mentioned above. Caution: I wouldn't expect anyone to sightread this.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 20, 2011,
#7
I really appreciate the comments, I do have a couple of things I'd like to reply to.

First, like I said, this is only the exposition, not the entire sonata, the development would begin on the second ending (nothing is written there as of now)

Quote by Xiaoxi
m.6: this chord and trill seems very unfeasible. A, D, G, and F# are not one of the primary partials of the C, G, D, and A strings. The notation is also unclear. I'm not sure if you mean to touch the node there or if that's supposed to be the sounding pitch, or which string each node is on. The trill is very confusing as well for the same reasons. It seems like you want to trill between the C node and F# node (between 1st and 4th finger?). Extremely hard to produce effectively. Also, any nonstep-wise trills should be indicated by slashes between the two trill notes, not as tr.

those indicate natural harmonics played at the node. since that chord is rolled from low to high, and is underneath a fermata, I was thinking it would be slow enough to work, but maybe if it were written as say four 16th notes (with the last tied to the trill/trem), would that be more feasable?

Also, the composer I took that figure from (Kaija Saariaho) has the cellist place his/her hand over the fingerboard, sort of like when using thumb position, to allow the execution to be easier. Is there a way to indicate that?


m.7: the end point of the sustenuto should be on the piano staff, not the cello.

thats actually an error in finale, it replaced the marking I intended to be there (a "ten." for tenuto) with the '*' marking.

m.8: unclear whether those cello 8ths notes are triplets or regular because of spacing and the triplets from previous bar.

Hmm, I didn't notice that, what would be the best fix for that? placing a "4" over the eighths in bar 8?

m.12: not sure what N--S.P. means. If N means normal, write "normal/norm./ord." Harmonic chord is again, unfeasible.

N & SP are for normale and Sul Ponticello. When the finished product comes, I'll have a page explaining this as well as the notation for harmonics.

m.47: these chords in the cellos are not feasible. Quadruple stops on cellos should really be limited to at least 1 open string. While it is possible to have a higher note on a lower string than the next open string, it doesn't seem to be the case here.

How about this voicing:
I: F# (unchanged)
II: Db above mid C
III: Open G
IV: Bb (above III's G)

Does that fit better?
#8
Quote by nmitchell076

those indicate natural harmonics played at the node. since that chord is rolled from low to high, and is underneath a fermata, I was thinking it would be slow enough to work, but maybe if it were written as say four 16th notes (with the last tied to the trill/trem), would that be more feasable?

Also, the composer I took that figure from (Kaija Saariaho) has the cellist place his/her hand over the fingerboard, sort of like when using thumb position, to allow the execution to be easier. Is there a way to indicate that?
Yes, that would be much clearer for practical purposes. The thumb sign is a small circle with an even smaller triangular hook at the bottom of the circle, indicated above the notes.

thats actually an error in finale, it replaced the marking I intended to be there (a "ten." for tenuto) with the '*' marking.
Use Sibelius

Hmm, I didn't notice that, what would be the best fix for that? placing a "4" over the eighths in bar 8?
The main thing is the way you grouped the 8th notes. If you grouped them in 2 instead of 4, that will clear things up. And as for spacing, they didn't seem even, which again makes it deceptive. Manually move them or...use Sibelius

N & SP are for normale and Sul Ponticello. When the finished product comes, I'll have a page explaining this as well as the notation for harmonics.
I would write these out, at least their abbreviations: norm. & sul pont.

How about this voicing:
I: F# (unchanged)
II: Db above mid C
III: Open G
IV: Bb (above III's G)

Does that fit better?

That is somewhat doable on violin or viola, but given the considerably wider board of the cello, its thicker strings, and higher action, that fingering configuration may be too difficult. But you can try it out.

Just remind yourself what you are writing for. If this is an experimental project to see what the cello can do, by all means write things that you want to test. However, if it's more focused on the music itself or if it needs to be performed as a concert piece, be a little more conservative in what you ask from the players.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 21, 2011,