As per the thread title, compose a piece of music with an A section, a contrasting B section, and then a section which consists of a variation of the opening material. Post results in thread, preferably by the 23rd of June or thereabouts. Post in thread to sign up so I can order your names alphabetically.


Life Is Brutal

Completed Entries

Life Is Brutal
Last edited by Nietsche at Jun 23, 2013,
I'm in.

EDIT: Just an idea, would it be acceptable to reuse a section from Minuet/Trio compositions to rework if we wanted?
We're all alright!
Last edited by Mathedes at May 23, 2013,
With regards to redoing your Minuet and Trio piece you can do it if you want. It negates the benefit of having a completed new piece at the end of the challenge though. Personally I'm going to attempt a completely new piece for classical guitar.
Done writing, just need to record. Do we need to submit in alphabetical order?
We're all alright!
No, just post in the thread and I'll link to your submission in the OP.
I'm in. I warn you, my computer is in the shop, I don't know when It'sgetting fixe, so I might not be able to start until the end of the week.
Got my piece all done.


I wish I had kept in all my markers and stuff, but they kept getting ruined in the exports. Its in C minor with a B section in G Major. It uses a lot of progressions in the vein of;

i - II - V - VI - bII - V - i

Which is just a large extension of V, but I thought it was cool.

The B section uses some similar stuff and also uses augmented 6ths moving to V. Some slight voice leading errors with parallel fifths are in the bass, but those could easily be corrected by inverting a chord to first position.

Anyway, any criticism is appreciated.
Ternary Thingamajigger.mid
Ternary Thingamajigger.pdf
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Jun 13, 2013,
Shouldn't this been in the T&C section?
Dean RC7X (Bareknuckle Coldsweat pickups)
Ibanez Rg2570Z (Bareknuckle Juggernaughts)
Schecter KM-6
Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid 7 String
Engl Powerball II
Orange PPC412
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Quote by amonamarthmetal
Shouldn't this been in the T&C section?

We've had tons of these type of things in the past. Freepower even started a couple and he's a mod.
I'm recording a pseudo-guitar quartet for my piece this weekend. Soprano/Alto on El. Guitar, Tenor/Bass on Bass Guitar. I'll see how it sounds compared to just a piano midi.
We're all alright!
Just t comment on Mathedes submission, which I looked over a few days ago but forgot to post on, so forgive me if my memories a little foggy, but it seemed to me that the actual form was ABA'A. At first I was confused because I didn't see the varied A section but then I saw the part which has the same harmony from the A section but with a different melody. The problem to me was that overall it sounded like a regular ABA, the A' section didn't have much in terms of motivic similarity to the original A section so it sounded like an extension of the B section before the reprisal of the A section again, which is perhaps why you put the reprisal in in the first place, in order to restore some sense of balance. I think what would be good is if you could take the original melody you had for the A section and then have that same melodic countour as an outline for the second A section but embellish it.
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Got my piece all done.


I wish I had kept in all my markers and stuff, but they kept getting ruined in the exports. Its in C minor with a B section in G Major. It uses a lot of progressions in the vein of;

i - II - V - VI - bII - V - i

Which is just a large extension of V, but I thought it was cool.

The B section uses some similar stuff and also uses augmented 6ths moving to V. Some slight voice leading errors with parallel fifths are in the bass, but those could easily be corrected by inverting a chord to first position.

Anyway, any criticism is appreciated.

PRE-EDIT: Reading back, this is pretty critical. Don't get offended I wasn't trying to be mean, I swear.
Few things:
1) The melodies to me were very unconvincing. I wasn't really sure of the direction of them for the most part and the phrasing especially seemed a little off. I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to be hearing the phrases as they went by and I think the reason is...

2) Rhythm. The rhythmic profile of this piece is frankly pretty boring (I should know I struggled and continue to struggle with creating rhythmic interest in my music). It's exhausting to listen to what seems like straight eighth notes constantly, even for only a minute. The only time the eighth notes are really broken up is when you use a trochaic (long-short) rhythm that you accomplish with eighth-rest-eighth. The only problem is that rhythmic pattern just comes over and over again and it adds to my frustration of not going anywhere rhythmically.

I felt the B section would have been a great opportunity to switch up the rhythm, but really the only strong contrast I felt was in the key change, which to me wasn't enough to really grab my interest. I get what you were trying to do with a little rhythmic motive, but in a piece this short and condensed, hammering a small idea like that so hard is a tough sell for me. I like the concept of using a small rhythmic cell, but just not in this concentration.

3) I listened to it again and while what I've already typed is definitely valid and part of the problem (hence why I'm not erasing it) another issue with phrasing is that it feels very chunky. Each bar almost seems like it's own entity and the melody doesn't flow naturally in and out of each bar. I would say one of the only times this ISN'T the case would be measures 4-6 which flows really nicely.

4) Formally speaking, not bad. You technically have an ABA' here, but like I said earlier, I would love to hear a bit more variation and a bit more exploration away from the main idea in the B section. Also, the A' is pretty tame as far as A's go. So much so that if I were analyzing this I would probably just call it a straight ABA, even though I realize you changed up a couple of the elements, specifically early on in the melody. Although I was critical of it, you've built something very stable in the first A with a melody of limited range and melodic fragments mostly contained within one bar. It would be cool to hear you start ranging a bit more with larger runs and maybe faster rhythms, while still recalling some of that trochaic feeling from the first A.

5) Harmonically speaking it seemed fine to me. I didn't look with a microscope at your voiceleading or anything because a) I can't think of anything more dreadful than critiquing tonal voice leading and b) that's not really what the challenge is about to me. There were some dissonances that were perhaps a bit jarring, but overall I think the harmonies made sense. The one thing I'll say is that I wasn't particularly convinced by your modulation into the major key. It could have definitely used more preparation before just dropping us into the new key area.

That's probably a bit hyper-critical for the purposes of this challenge, but whatever you can deal with it. Don't think I hated it, because I didn't, I actually thought the harmonic framework you had had a lot of interest and the accompanying figures were pretty strong. I just think there could be more there melodically and rhythmically that would take the piece to a different level.

Hug it out

I'll talk about Mathedas' later, haven't listened to it yet.

As for mine, I've got a good start on it and I'll definitely get it done at some point, just not sure when.
Last edited by jazz_rock_feel at Jun 22, 2013,
I've always valued harmonic schemes and melodic ideas over rhythmic ideas for some reason, and I wasn't too concerned about the rhythm as a whole in the piece because I just wanted something simple to do a variation on.

I'm really thankful for the critique though, I agree with a lot of it and I thank you for the time you spent on it.

I still stick to straight 8ths most times, for whatever reason, but their respective weight or importance is determined by their pitches.

I'm actually not entirely sure of what I'm trying to say here, but yeah, thanks for the crit.
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

I'll talk about Mathedas' later, haven't listened to it yet.

We're all alright!
@Neitzz, when's the next challenge?

Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Forgot I said that.

Check back later today.

Ha okay.
We're all alright!
Quote by Mathedes
@Neitzz, when's the next challenge?

Dunno. Response for this one was poorer than last time. These things tend to go in cycles in terms of people's general enthusiasm. You can start one yourself if you feel like it. I'll join in if it's there.
(Same goes here as for Life Is Brutal. I haven't written my critique yet, but it could get messy. Not trying to be mean, hopefully I won't be.)

1) After a first listening, my impression is that the piece is very clear. I understand the form really early on and I understand most of the melodic figuration right away without having to work at it. Overall, I really appreciated the clarity.

2) Although it was clear I felt the melody really wanted to soar at times and you kept it restrained. There were moments where you could have explored A LOT more range. As with LIB's, I think you've given us a really good idea of the A section material and you were afforded way more license to work with the material in the A' than maybe you did. In fact, looking again, your A' is almost identical to your A. I think you've really set us up for something coming back to, what I think, was a really good initial idea. I just wish that it took off and went somewhere I hadn't heard before in the piece.

In a more general sense as well, I'd say explore more range in your melody. The A section melody only has a range of an octave. That wouldn't necessarily be bad if your A' ranged further because that would've been a nice way to expand the material, but as it is, it just seems a little flat.

3) I really like your syncopations. There are a couple moments that are really nice as a result of the rhythm. I especially like it when you bring that figure back in measures 25-26, that works really well. One thing though, YOU USE IT TOO MUCH! Like I said for LIB, it's great to have a rhythmic motive, but you just pound and pound and pound away at the same rhythm for so long, that it just ends up being an annoying ostinato. The annoyance becomes even more heightened because you use the same rhythm as a base for your transition back into the A (by the way, I'm interpreting your form as A-B-trans-A in 8 bar phrases). I do like how you got away from it in the B section though.

4) Overall, the B section was a nice contrast from the A. It worked okay, but I didn't find the melody had the same drive as it did in the A section. What I liked a lot about your A melody was that it flowed pretty nicely from bar to bar. There were a few moments it kind of got bogged down, but it more or less worked. I felt the B melody really dragged. It plodded along measure to measure because you end a lot of measures with long note values so the melody comes to rest seemingly at the end of each bar instead of flowing through the bar line. Really try and focus on doing what you did in the A section, which is keep the melody moving and flowing through the the end of the phrase, as opposed to the end of the barline.

5) I liked the simplicity of your A section rhythmically, and I think that's part of what made it flow so well (also, I respect the nutsack it took to have so many notes repeating, especially across barlines, and even more so because it worked so well). However, I think there was opportunity for faster or at least varying rhythmic ideas. I realize now that I've already talked about this, so I'll leave it at that.

6) I thought the transition worked really nicely (or at least what I'm calling the transition, 17-24). You've split it up into two four bar segments and I think it would've been better if you hadn't brought back the rhythmic/melodic cell from the first four bars at the beginning of the second four bars. I think you should've worked that for four bars and then worked what you have in 23-24 for the second four bars.

- Variation in the second A would've been nice. As it stands it's really an ABA, not an ABA'
- More rhythmic variation. Not so much as to muddy the clarity of the ideas, but just enough to keep my interest a bit longer.
- More flow in the B section melody and more range in the melodies in general.

Hug it out.

I'll get to Nietsche's after the weekend and hopefully have my own to post after the weekend to.
Here we are http://musescore.com/user/21980/scores/37506

I've decided to rewrite the entire piece, but that will probably take another week or two and I'm already a week late. It's alright as a proto-piece, but I'm going to re-work and re-order a lot of it so it will flow much more smoothly.

I also think the next challenge should be another ABA' but this time the focus is thinking of lots of different ways to transition from A to B/ B to A', as well as thinking of multiple A' variations. So at the end maybe three different versions?
Okee dokee.

So the form is obviously ABA', I didn't really do anything fancy with it in that sense. The material for each section is really different, probably too different for how short the piece is. I feel I didn't really deal with everything I had enough to justify having such a huge contrast. The A section is pretty representative of my overall style: non-tonal, but also not particularly dissonant and very contrapuntal with all the voices moving constantly with no strong melodic line. The B section on the other hand, is super weird and I've never written anything like it. It's more or less tonal which I almost never do, with a clear accompaniment figure separate from the melodic line, which is again something I rarely do.

The material of the A section is built on 4 ideas/motives. First and most obvious is fourths. I use a lot of harmonic and melodic fourths all over the place. As a result it has a fairly ambigous tonal colour. It doesn't really sound tonal, but it also doesn't sound particularly dissonant. The second major idea is the cello figure of rising fourths which first comes and measure 10 and then repeats throughout the A section. The third idea is the cello flourish at measure 20 which also comes back later. The last is the melody in parallel fourths that comes right at the start (measure 3-6). That melody I actually lifted from a real string quartet I wrote a year or two ago. I kind of used this exercise as a way to collect some ideas for a second movement to that piece so I wanted to bring some material from that into this (the melody was a fugue subject in the original string quartet).

One thing I want to point out is dynamics. I've noticed, of the two pieces I've looked at for the challenge, that no on uses dynamics. Dynamics are super important to think about because, among other things, they are an effect that can really add to the melodic and harmonic ideas you have. I would say there are moments in this piece that I have enough dynamics, and others where I don't. For example, from measures 12-16 I have almost nothing which makes the shaping of that section really ambiguous.

The B section is really simple. It's actuall pretty much fluff if I'm being honest. It came out of the fast cello figure which I kind of had in my mind from the start, although I didn't realize what would come of it. I struggled a lot with how to make the line realistic to play (i.e., having the cellist play that line straight through for 16 or 20 measures would be impossible) without sacrificing the flow of the line. I decided on doubling part of the melody (C-Eb-C at measure 32 and all the others) to give the cellist a break. Other than that teh B section is basically three statements of a melody, varied a little bit each time, with different accompaniment each time.

There are two middle fingers to MT in this section. First of all, it's so obviously in D phrygian, which happened totally by accident. I didn't realize I was even writing something that was going to have a tonal center there, but when I wrote that bass line I knew the melody would have to center around D. It was totally by fluke that I happened to use Ebs as well (but once I noticed I used an Eb, I knew I had to keep using it just to be a dick). That said, it does resolve to G minor right at the end of the B section (mm. 50-52).

The other middle finger is specifically towards Aeolian Wolf, with whom I had an argument about the effectiveness of slowing down the rhythmic profile of a section outside the context of a cadence. For the last iteration of the melody (mm. 43) I purposely cut the rhythm of the accompaniment from sixteenth triplets to eighth triplets while still building momentum.

The A' comes in with the four motives strongly represented, although I made a conscience decision to use more harmonic dissonance. I use the rising fourths in imitation, the cello flourish comes back, and the melody from the beginning comes back and bookends the piece (this time in unison/octaves). I bring in some pizz which I wish I had more time to work into the piece better because I really liked the effect it had. There's also a tiny little reference to the B section in the cello at measure 58 with the C-Eb-C figure, which was never even supposed to be a motive, but turned into one because I had to give the cellist a break. Mostly though, I just really put that rising fourths figure through its paces.

Ugh... I wrote way more than I wanted to.