String Quartet in g minor - second, third and fourth movements [WIP]

• Dec 23, 2018 - 17:23

Yes, I'm still working on this quartet. I'm doing revisions on the Scherzo, and I've completely rewritten the third movement. I also removed the slow introduction of the finale because I think it would be too dramatic in comparison to the rest of the movement. I'm not sure where to go from here, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment.

As for the first movement, I'm not so sure if I'm going to work with what I have or make a complete overhaul.

You can check out an earlier version of the string quartet here:


I'm not sure where to go from here, so if you have any suggestions...
Get used to it. It's called composing...

What you've done is write what you knew. As I've said in a previous post, it is good to get things down on paper lest you forget. I've noticed in several places there are gaps, usually between idea A and idea search of the proper transition. The good news is that you've written A and B down. The idiotic way (which I've often utilized) is to fret over the transition and in the process forget idea B. The bad news is that you've got to come up with it; no one can do it for you. As you are quite familiar with the period, look how the masters did it. I'll offer you another quote, this from Igor Stravinsky: "A mediocre composer borrows; a great composer steals."

It is difficult to recommend or comment when everything is in an incomplete state. You've got the right material, the technique, the passion (I presume) so now comes work. Another quote: "it's 10% inspiration, 90% persperation." (Thomas Edison?)) You have to sweat, fuss, cuss until you get what you are satisfied with.

Do you really want to overhaul the first mvmt? The material is good for motivic development and you know your way around the harmonic field. There are a few observations I could offer. 1) You would want the 1st mvmt to stand out. The sonata development is the key, as long as you are writing in this style. Your scherzo is filled with ebb abd flow of tension and release. You would want the 1st mvmt to have at least that much dramatic weight. You could lift ideas from your own scherzo which will, in turn, give the piece more unity.
(BTW- I like the way the trio section offsets the scherzo!)

2) writing in the classical style confines you. It is fine as an academic pursuit; you sharpen your skills until you develop your own style. But when you are engaged you have to follow the order of things. In you 1st mvmt allegro look at bar 43. (take what I say with a grain of salt. This is a subjective opinion.) For a few bars you've either thinned out the texture (a welcome move) or you are going to fill in parts when you think of something. I cannot be sure. If it is the former, it seems odd in this classical setting. When you write in a particular style something which you may regard as an innovation may come off as awkward. In this case the thinning out of texture comes off as a loss of momentum. Again this is a problem you are having with transitions. You have good material in g minor and well as for the relative to join the two? You've got to solve it. As it stands now you've got two contrasting ideas suitable for sonata development.

Yeah. It's a challenge.

I hope I was in some way helpful.

In reply to by penne vodka

Now that I think about it, you're actually right, and I've never noticed it before. Whenever I compose, I have an idea usually at the beginning of the piece and another idea somewhere else, and I can't seem to connect them. I'll try to focus more on working out those transitions.

About the first movement though, I just don't like how it turned out. I attached my most up-to-date version of it, and it just doesn't sound powerful enough for an opening movement. I especially don't like what happens from bar 39 onward; it just sounds really clumsy. I'm tempted to make an overhaul, but that doesn't mean scrapping my original material entirely.

I guess composing in the classical style in some way confines me. I try to look into other styles; I've been listening to Brahms's piano quintet and Holst's The Planets, and I really enjoy those pieces. Maybe listening to lots of Bach, Mozart, and Schubert just has a bigger influence, and I'm trying to work out a style that's a combination those three.

I'll take your word for it. I should work hard to finish my pieces, but I'm short on time since I have piano lessons and still go to school. Do you think spending around five or ten minutes a day trying to compose is worth it, or should I just stop entirely & wait until I have enough free time to compose, like during the summer break?

PS. The attachments above say "stringquartetbb". That's my mistake, but I can't edit it anymore.

Attachment Size
stringquartetg-i-allegro.mscz 48.06 KB

In reply to by drowssap

Afterall, a transition is what propels the music forward. As we get into the late Romantics, such as Brahms, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky, the transitions were multiple, each an entity on their own.
Writing in any style confines you to the particulars of that style. The Bach to Viennese school is an excellent choice in how it will prepare you. The one thing I'd be concerned about after you master the style is the need to think about developing your own. It's perfectly fine to be neo-something or ( as I prefer) an eclectic approach like that of Stravinsky. And you don't have to be "modern" for its own sake. If your heart ain't in it you'll lose your soul. If you prefer traditional tools, fine...just at some point think of a way Drowssap can sound different from others.
In those 5- 10 minutes you may discover something rich. (Aaron Copland once said he discovered things fiddling with the piano.) Besides, it keeps you in the game. Waiting for the perfect moment is a monumental waste of time, especially when you find that anticipated moment not so perfect. As I've previously mentioned, Life throws all kinds of crap at you, from all directions, no matter what time.
The "perfect moment" comes when you've got as great idea and do not want to be bothered with Life.

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