In my previous post I showed you how you can write a decent tune in the grade five music theory composition question by following a set formula. There are rules which you need to bear in mind: read the previous post for more details on what you need to be aware of.
The following questions appeared in the 2006 tests.
Why not have a go for yourself, then compare your answers to ours!
Here is a brief summary of the steps you should follow:
Bar 3 = bar 1 up a note
Bar 4 = bar 2 up a note, plus imperfect cadence
Bars 5-7 = bars 1-3 inverted
Bar 8 = scale and tonic.
Example 1 – Question
In bar 4, we changed the minim to a C# instead of D, in order to make an imperfect cadence (A-C#-E is the dominant chord).
In bar 5, we inverted the chord of D major. If we had used A major in this bar, the melody would be less effective, because A major was the underlying chord in the previous bar. It’s usually better to have a different underlying chord in each bar – it makes the melody more interesting.
Example 2 – Question
This is in a minor key – C minor.
In bar 4, we sharpen the Bb to B natural because it leads up to the tonic, C.
In bar 4, we make the minim a G instead of an Eb, because we want a note which is part of the dominant chord (G-B-D).
We use the melodic minor scale. In bar 5 we have Bb and Ab because the melody is descending by step, and in bar 8 we use A and B natural because it is ascending.
Example 3 – Question
Another minor piece – G minor this time.
Notice that this time the opening we are given is slightly longer than two complete bars. This means the second phrase has already begun (on the quaver E natural), and it didn’t start on the next scale note up. Instead, it started a third lower. That’s ok though – we just continued the melody a third lower instead.
In bar 6 we inverted the chord of D major.
This composition is the least effective of the three in my opinion. However, it’s still perfectly acceptable.
How did you do? Comments welcomed!