IB themes and variations music composition work

Essay by jasonyuetHigh School, 11th gradeA-, March 2009

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Jason Chan

Themes and variation composition

In this composition, we were given the chords G - A - C - D - G - C - D - G and our task is to use these chords to write a themes and variation song. My composition imitates the style of Pachelbel's Canon in D. This song is played by the string quintet instruments (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola and Cello), and a harpsichord. This song starts out with harpsichord, viola and cello. Cello is playing a basso continuo of G - A - C - D - G - C - D - G thought out the whole song. Harpsichord also supports the cello but repeating the chords in the song. After the harpsichord and cello finishes playing the chords once, Violin 1 joins in. Violin 2 is added as a canon to play with violin 1 after 4 bars.

Violin 1 turns from 4th notes to 8th notes after 4 bars. On bar 17, Viola starts to play quarter notes and violin 1 introduces the theme. Violin 2 repeats the theme after 4 bars while violin 1 is playing the harmonic notes of the theme. Violin 1 has 12 inversion notes from violin 2 on bar 22. On bar 25, there is a syncopation happening from the theme in violin 1. Notes that are played are broken chord notes from the basso continuo. Viola on bar 25 changes to 16th notes, playing the tonic notes from the chords of harpsichord. On bar 29, violin 1 plays the inversion of violin 2, but on the strong beat. Viola slows down and repeats what is played on bar 21 again. The theme is repeated once again on bar 33 from violin 1 except that for every 2nd note of the theme it is replaced by the tonic note of the chords the harpsichord is playing. On bar 27 the song slows down with violin 1 playing 8th notes. Bar 9 is repeated on bar 41 till the end.

Throughout this song there were several large changes I had to make in order to finish the song. My first idea of the song was to have different instruments playing the theme plus variation. It's more of a solo showoff rather than a canon. By imitating 'Canon in D' by Pachelbel, it improved my song. I've tried Pachelbel's canon in D style, which is starting off slow and changing the notes twice as much each time the bass notes are looped.

On the syncopation duet part, I had to make sure the notes wouldn't create a big dissonance. It is relativity difficult to make sure the inversion in the duet stays within the instrument range, but the final results wasn't as expected. The notes excided the range of the instrument. In order to fix this problem, I had to set the notes a little nearer to the tonic so the inversion won't be out of the range.