Assignment 3


This piece roughly follows my plan of an ABA structure, with a few modifications.  I decided to introduce a change in time signature to 6/8 half way through section B; I think this change from quadruple to duple meter has the effect of carrying it forward towards the climax.  I then inserted an extra bar at the end of section B as a transition point back to 12/8.  I also shortened the final section to six bars which I think works better than a full repeat of the beginning and keeps the overall time down to just over two minutes.


This assignment was an exercise in polyphony and I really enjoyed the process of weaving together the different parts.  My aim was for all three parts to sound melodic by themselves as well as to work well together.  Each instrument takes a turn at having the focus – I did this quite explicitly in the first half of section B for example, where the main melody moves between the parts while the other instruments play an accompanying texture at a softer dynamic.

I learnt quite a lot through the development of this piece.  One thing I noticed is that the middle line (in pitch) is not as easy for the listener to distinguish as the top and bottom lines, and so is often better suited as an accompaniment.  I also found myself having to make some small adjustments to the melodies where I found that one line was ‘colliding’ with another line (e.g. the oboe moving down to the same note that the clarinet was just playing), which makes it hard to identify where the melodies are going.  This wasn’t so obvious when I was playing them on the piano, possibly because of the instrument sound but also possibly because you’re more aware of the melodies when you are playing them yourself.

On the performance side I noticed the importance of having consistent phrasing and articulation between the parts.  If a melody is passed around the instruments for example, it is much more effective if it is performed in the same way.  Similarly when two parts are playing together, e.g. in the first half of section B.


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