Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Writing my first symphony, nervous even with all the preparation

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    73
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Writing my first symphony, nervous even with all the preparation

    I am especially nervous because I decided to write my first symphony in C minor. I am afraid I will get tons of "Beethoven's 5th is better than your first" comments. But I always get nervous when I try to write a symphony no matter how well I have prepared both composition wise and orchestration wise. '

    Most people that I have asked about how to start writing a symphony said to start with motifs and some even went to the extent of saying:

    Use a single motif to base the entire symphony or at least an entire movement off of like Beethoven did for his 5th symphony.
    I know, a lot of symphonies have been written in C minor but the only one that everybody recognizes is Beethoven's 5th. It also happens to be my favorite symphony of all time.

    But going a similar route to that of Beethoven worries me. Even if I use a completely different motif, I'm still afraid that people will dismiss my symphony as being worse than Beethoven's 5th, even with the final draft.

    Symphony writing in general feels to me like solving a system of equations and going nowhere fast. So many things to think about. Instrumentation, which instruments play when? Articulation, pizzicato? Staccato? Legato? Marcato? Dynamics, forte or piano? Along with lots of other aspects of it. It stresses me out, makes me feel nervous, and makes me stop writing my symphony to such an extent that I might not start again until a few months or even years later. Thus I have a lot of unfinished symphonies and all of them are unfinished first movements with no other movements written.

    With piano sonatas, I get this stress but not to nearly the degree I get with symphonies. I mean I feel like the symphony is really where my individual style flourishes or is supposed to flourish. But at the same time, I am so influenced by Beethoven that a lot of my works contain some part of Beethoven's style. It is like when I compose, I become Beethoven II, even though the Beethoven bloodline died long before I was born.

    I am in fact writing a piano sonata right now. It is my third one and it is dedicated to Beethoven. So I am making it emotional by using Beethoven's style(makes sense if I am dedicating that piano sonata to Beethoven) and choosing a key that is very variable in emotion(Cm is the key I chose for the sonata).

    I don't handle stress well so you understand how symphony writing makes me nervous to the point where I stop composing it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    339
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You worry too much about what other people think. Just write what you want and let it speak for itself.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    73
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Well that might be a component of the stress but I honestly think most of it comes from symphony writing feeling like very complex algebra. I mean thinking of which instrument to start the piece, which motif or motifs to use, whether I want that section piano or forte, etc. has nothing to do with whether people will think it is worse than Beethoven's 5th or not and it is where the majority of my symphony related stress comes from. With writing a piano sonata, the instrumentation is obvious and there are fewer notes to think about so the stress hits me later on in the work, perhaps at the development section of the first movement instead of the exposition.

    Even getting the first measure of my symphony down is hard so you can imagine that it feels almost impossibly hard to get 1000 measures down and finish the symphony. With orchestrating a piano sonata, at least I have a template to work from. With writing a symphony, I have to do it all from scratch.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    339
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by caters View Post
    Well that might be a component of the stress but I honestly think most of it comes from symphony writing feeling like very complex algebra. I mean thinking of which instrument to start the piece, which motif or motifs to use, whether I want that section piano or forte, etc. has nothing to do with whether people will think it is worse than Beethoven's 5th or not and it is where the majority of my symphony related stress comes from. With writing a piano sonata, the instrumentation is obvious and there are fewer notes to think about so the stress hits me later on in the work, perhaps at the development section of the first movement instead of the exposition.

    Even getting the first measure of my symphony down is hard so you can imagine that it feels almost impossibly hard to get 1000 measures down and finish the symphony. With orchestrating a piano sonata, at least I have a template to work from. With writing a symphony, I have to do it all from scratch.
    Huh? Wait, are you writing the piece without having already "composed" it in your head? If you haven't already the idea of what you want to write, of course you're going to be stuck. Before going into a piece I at least already have the main themes and motifs set, sometimes even the whole piece. Perhaps you should try and develop a mental version of the piece you want to write before even heading to pen and paper.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tchaikov6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    3,220
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    If you can play piano or another instrument, improvise on it and see what you come up with. From there develop a melody or motif that you can base the piece on.

    But I think that choosing that you are going to write a symphony before knowing what the motifs and melodies are isn’t the most productive way to go about doing things. Perhaps your ideas will work better as a sonata or concerto, or a more programmatic piece. You don’t Have to prove that you are as good Beethoven or better, but understand that most great composers took melodies and motifs and decided they wanted to write a symphony with that, not the other way around.

  6. Likes Phil loves classical liked this post

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •