Copyright © Joe McGowan 2016
Composing Workshop 1: Bar-
A Section bar-
Bar 1. Uses the chord notes of C major (C, E, G)
Bar 2. Uses the chord notes of G major (G, B, D) with a C note added to continue a smooth line of descending notes.
Bar 3. Another ascending phrase, beginning with a longer note (minim or half note) which helps give the melody some rhythmic shape. The notes, A, B, C just sounded good to me as notes leading up to the long G note in bar 4. The A and C notes are found in the chords of F major and A minor, whereas the B could be harmonised with a G major chord. The third note, C, will of course fit with a C major chord, which would produce a nice imperfect cadence (Chord I – V) when followed by the G in bar 4.
Bar 4. A long G note (semibreve or whole note) not only completes the question phrase with an imperfect cadence (chord I –V), but also creates a sense that the music is pausing, or taking a breath before the next phrase begins. This structure resembles vocal music, and for this reason we sometimes say a musical passage is ‘lyrical.’
Bars 1 -
How to Pass National 5 Music, Page 33: Step 3: the A section Question phrase (bars 1-
Bars 5 -
Bar 5. This is a repeat of bar 3.
Bar 6. Repeats the previous bar (bar 5) in ascending sequence.
Bar 7. The note F is used for the first time. It is the highest note of a descending stepwise line towards the key note, C, in bar 8.
Bar 8. A single C note completes the phrase (and the A section) with a perfect cadence. I made this a long note (dotted minim or dotted half note) to emphasise the ‘full stop’ effect, adding a crotchet (quarter note) rest afterwards to create a slight pause before the B section begins.
Note: Bars 5, 6 and 7 use the same rhythm
Note: the ascending-
Page 36: For information on major keys and their relative minor keys, see the Reference Pages of this website
Page 35: Step 4: the A section answer phrase (bars 5-
B Section bar-
Page 37: Step 5: the B section question phrase (bars 9-
Bars 9 -
Bar 9. This is a simple repeat of bar 3, but it conveniently has two notes from the new key chord of A minor (A, C).
Bar 10. Uses two notes (E, G#) from the chord of E major (chord V in the new key of A minor) with a Scotch snap for rhythmic variety. The key of A minor has a G#, so this note also strongly establishes the new key.
Note: a tie is used in bar 10. A tie is a line which joins together ('ties') the time duration of two notes of the same pitch. The second note is not played but its duration is added onto the first.
Bar 11. Uses notes of the A minor chord (A, C, E) with a passing note and ‘step’ sequence.
Bar 12. As in bar 10, this bar uses just two notes (E, G#) from the chord of E major, with the longer note (minim or half note) suggesting a slight pause on the imperfect cadence. The two notes after this create an anacrusis to lead into the next bar.
Page 38: Step 6: the B section answer phrase (bars 13-
Bars 13 -
Bar 13. Once again, bar 3 is repeated. I didn’t do this because I was running out of ideas! It helps to maintain a nice sense of unity in the music, and because it ‘felt’ right. If used with careful consideration, repetition can be very effective.
(Where it sounds right, repetition creates a sense of musical unity and ‘familiarity’ to the listener, which can be satisfying to the listener – think about how the repetition of a chorus in a song can be very pleasing and anticipated.)
Bar 14. Although not a sequence of the previous bar, bar 14 has the same rhythm as bar 13, with the notes at a higher pitch.
Bar 15. The first half of this bar is based on a scale-
The G natural eases the key back towards C major again.
Bar 16. A dotted minim (dotted half note) on the note C, followed by a crotchet (quarter note) rest, emphasize the return to the original key of C major and also create an effective pause in the music before the A section begins again.
Bars 17 -
A Section repeat, Variation 1, bar-
Page 41: Step 7: the A section repeat, Variation 1, phrase bars 17-
Bar 17. (variation of original bar 1). I simply lengthened the first note, C, to a dotted crotchet (dotted quarter note), and shortened the second note, E, to a quaver (eighth note).
Bar 18. (variation of original bar 2). A single passing note, A, altered this bar.
Bar 19. (variation of original bar 3). Here I swapped the note values around from the original bar 3 by making the second note a minim (half note) instead of the first. Simple but effective!
Bar 20. (variation of original bar 4). I added another G note to this bar, an octave higher than the first.
Bar 21. (variation of original bar 5). As in the bar 3 variation, here I swapped the note values around; making the second note a minim (half note) instead of the first.
Bar 22. (variation of original bar 6). This bar is unchanged from the original bar 6.
Bar 23. (variation of original bar 7). A rhythmic change (the same one used in bar 1 variation) is used here, with an extra F note added.
Bar 24. This bar is unchanged from the original bar 8.
Bars 17 -
A Section repeat, Variation 2, bar-
Page 43: Step 7: the A section repeat, Variation 2, phrase bars 17-
Bar 17. (variation of original bar 1). The main variation in this bar is the use of quavers (eighth notes) and extra chord notes. These add movement, or momentum, suggesting the music is building up to something – its conclusion! From the example above you can see how simply this has been achieved with passing notes and two extra chord notes, E and G.
Bar 18. (variation of original bar 2). To keep things flowing in this bar I have used ‘step’ sequence, adding notes a step up from the original notes in bar 2 (compare bar 2 and bar 18). The only exception is the last note of this bar, which goes down a step – I did this just because I thought it sounded better!
Bar 19. (variation of original bar 3). I really varied the rhythm in this bar, keeping three of the original notes (A, B, C) and adding two others (G, F). The G is a passing note.
Bar 20. (variation of original bar 4). To keep the music flowing here I removed the imperfect cadence and continued with quavers (eighth notes) using the notes from a G major chord (chord V) and a couple of passing notes.
Bar 21. (variation of original bar 5). Another bar consisting entirely of quavers, this time I used two notes from the chord of F major (F, A) and added a passing note (G) and an auxiliary note (E).
Bar 22. (variation of original bar 6). I wanted to indicate that the music was reaching its conclusion now, so in this bar I used an ascending scale-
Bar 23. (variation of original bar 7). In this second-
Bar 24. (variation of original bar 8). A single C note completes the last perfect cadence of my melody. I have used a pause symbol (fermata) above this final note to indicate that it can be held longer than the minim (half note) value.