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Thread: Finished arranging Piano Sonata in C minor, Feedback needed

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    Senior Member caters's Avatar
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    Default Finished arranging Piano Sonata in C minor, Feedback needed

    This is my first full Mozart arrangement. I plan to do multiple more(maybe even all 18 Mozart sonatas). But this is his Piano Sonata in C minor. All 3 movements are there. Here is the link if you want to listen to it:

    Piano Sonata in C minor for String Trio

    I found it perfectly fit for a trio, so I arranged it for a string trio. As for the triple and quadruple stops in the rondo. I put in arpeggio signs and then immediately made them invisible in the Musescore software. So it will look like chords, but it will sound arpeggiated, which is the way a violinist would actually play a triple or quadruple stop. The cadenzas in the second movement, I wrote using the tuplet method and then simply making the numbers invisible so that it would look like any old cadenza. So don't be tripped by the feedback of those cadenzas, it isn't like how it would be played by real performers.

    Did I write anything impossible? Did I write anything difficult for the player and that could be changed to be easier while still getting across Mozart's intentions? Are the octave double stops that I wrote, hard for the players(yes, every instrument has some octave double stops)?

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    Amazing work! Arranging is fun isn't it? Is it PERFECT for trio and not quartet? This sonata sounds good on string instruments. But, some of the octaves are unnecessary I think, like 15:28. Can this just be with violin and viola? Also, maybe the cello doesn't have to play the left hand note for note in some parts, in my opinion. I just mean mixing up the instrumentation a little bit. "Spreading" out the notes. This is why I think string trio is a little restrictive and quartet has much more potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swosh View Post
    Amazing work! Arranging is fun isn't it? Is it PERFECT for trio and not quartet? This sonata sounds good on string instruments. But, some of the octaves are unnecessary I think, like 15:28. Can this just be with violin and viola? Also, maybe the cello doesn't have to play the left hand note for note in some parts, in my opinion. I just mean mixing up the instrumentation a little bit. "Spreading" out the notes. This is why I think string trio is a little restrictive and quartet has much more potential.
    Well, I mean, I heard 3 melodic voices when listening to the original sonata(and that is for all the movements, not just 1 movement), and I know from experience arranging the K545 sonata along with other works, that if you have more instruments than melodic voices(counting any Alberti bass or octave alternations as 2 voices instead of 1, a true bass voice and an elaborating voice), you have to resort to one of 2 routes, those being:

    1. Harmonization - Figuring out what notes are consonant with the pre-existing harmony
    2. Doubling - Usually done at the octave or unison, 2 or more instruments playing the same line at the same time

    I know that doubling amongst 2 string instruments is to be limited, so as to not sound bad, and that any doubling must be at the octave in that case, especially if the 2 instruments that are doubling are both violins. With 3 or more string instruments, doubling at the unison becomes okay, but doubling at the octave is still preferable to avoid difficult pitch ranges for the players.

    When the harmony is already full as it is in a lot of the measures of the sonata, especially at the cadences, harmonization becomes difficult, as it is hard to add to the harmony without either:

    1. Adding a dissonant note
    2. Doubling at the octave

    Adding dissonance might be fine if the harmony is a seventh chord that then resolves, as long as you resolve that dissonance to the resolution harmony. But if it is a stable point such as the tonic chord, it crushes the composer's intentions. And I already said that doubling amongst 2 string instruments should be minimized.

    As for the octaves at 15:28, I only wrote down the octaves there because Mozart wrote octaves at that same spot in his original score. While with a Beethoven arrangement, I might go all orchestral and write in octaves that Beethoven didn't even use in the original score, with Mozart, I stay conservative, even if I am arranging for a symphony orchestra, at most going an octave above the original in the woodwinds. With arrangements of his sonatas, I tend to be even more conservative than that and only use the notes that Mozart wrote unless at some point I have fewer melodic voices than instruments.

    Here in this sonata, I never heard 4 melodic voices, and I rarely ever heard 2 melodic voices, so I figured that string trio would be best, since string quartet would mean a lot of doubling(a lot more than what I already have) since the harmony is already full in a lot of places, thus making harmonization much harder.
    Last edited by caters; Sep-09-2019 at 00:29.

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    Well, you did a lot more analysis than me haha. So I believe you!! But, I would gladly go "beyond" the composer's intentions when arranging from sonata to strings (trio or quartet). In the end it is personal preference I suppose!
    Last edited by Swosh; Sep-09-2019 at 04:18.

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    What do you mean by this?

    "Adding dissonance might be fine if the harmony is a seventh chord that then resolves, as long as you resolve that dissonance to the resolution harmony. But if it is a stable point such as the tonic chord, it crushes the composer's intentions."

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    Congrats on this, it's a lot of hard work in there!

    For the amount of effort you're putting in it may be time to think about moving to a better notation and rendering system. MuseScore is great, and 3 is even better (can finally alter dynamics during notes) but it doesn't support NotePerformer, and I think if you moved to a notation system that did, you'd be amazed about how much better things can sound, and this can actually alter how you write, what you choose to do.

    If you'd like I'll happily render your sonata in Sibelius with NotePerformer for you so you can get an idea about that. I would just need the MusicXML to import. Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by adrien View Post
    Congrats on this, it's a lot of hard work in there!

    For the amount of effort you're putting in it may be time to think about moving to a better notation and rendering system. MuseScore is great, and 3 is even better (can finally alter dynamics during notes) but it doesn't support NotePerformer, and I think if you moved to a notation system that did, you'd be amazed about how much better things can sound, and this can actually alter how you write, what you choose to do.

    If you'd like I'll happily render your sonata in Sibelius with NotePerformer for you so you can get an idea about that. I would just need the MusicXML to import. Cheers
    The reason I have stuck with Musescore since its early years besides being used to Musescore is the fact that it will always be free. Sibelius, with a similar level of sophistication is like $80 a month for personal plan last I remember. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure if being able to type in articulations and dynamics and have it play those articulations and dynamics and the presence of col legno makes it worth the steep price. And besides, at the rate that Musescore has been improving recently(more realistic default soundfont, single note dynamics, etc.), it might outdo Sibelius in a few years, even if they don't add col legno to the Musescore software.

    What do you mean by this?

    "Adding dissonance might be fine if the harmony is a seventh chord that then resolves, as long as you resolve that dissonance to the resolution harmony. But if it is a stable point such as the tonic chord, it crushes the composer's intentions.
    If you add dissonance to a seventh chord that resolves, and then resolve the added dissonance to the resolution harmony, that added dissonance will just make the resolution all that more satisfying. If the chord is stable before adding the dissonance, the dissonance is going to make it quite unstable. If the composer intended for the harmony in a certain area to be stable sounding and you make it unstable, you crush the composer's intentions.

    And the easiest way to make a stable harmony unstable is to add dissonance. So if you must add dissonance in an arrangement, add dissonance to dominant function chords(of which the 3 most commonly used are all seventh chords(dominant seventh, half diminished seventh, and diminished seventh)), in unstable areas of the piece preferably and avoid adding dissonance to tonic function chords in stable areas of the piece.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caters View Post
    The reason I have stuck with Musescore since its early years besides being used to Musescore is the fact that it will always be free. Sibelius, with a similar level of sophistication is like $80 a month for personal plan last I remember. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure if being able to type in articulations and dynamics and have it play those articulations and dynamics and the presence of col legno makes it worth the steep price. And besides, at the rate that Musescore has been improving recently(more realistic default soundfont, single note dynamics, etc.), it might outdo Sibelius in a few years, even if they don't add col legno to the Musescore software.
    .
    Sure, col legno is only something promoted by sample library vendors for lack of any better ideas (like more usable articulations like muted pizz). It frustrates me no end how clueless the sample library vendors seem to be (especially Spitfire Audio). Col Legno is almost never used in the canon, mainly because people don't like taking chips out of their $10,000 bows to make some noise that is hardly audible and not in tune.

    But if you're not really interested in the quality of the rendering then soundfonts can suit your purposes. I was just offering to do a render for you so you could compare. Last I looked into it, it was a lot of work to make MuseScore support VSTs or some kind of pluggable rendering interface which would be the minimum requirement to allow something like NotePerformer to work with it. Maybe someone needs to make a free MusicXML player that supports VSTs. Then you could code up your work in MuseScore, and do a final render with the player and NP.

    As for $80 per month it's nothing like that. In any case Avid has so many problems with their online license management system that you're better off purchasing a perpetual license (which is what I did).

    I too started in MuseScore, and used it for a couple of years. It was only 2.0, so couldn't do crescendos on longer notes etc. This plus collision avoidance, and how it bogged down on bigger scores prompted me to move to Sibelius. I also have Dorico, but haven't switched to it yet until they sort some final rendering issues and allow video export.
    Last edited by adrien; Sep-30-2019 at 03:23.

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    Hey caters, does this sound ok?

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    The viola in m. 129 should be playing B-natural, not B-flat.

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