Reflective Account 3


Specific reflections on my tutor’s formative feedback:

The assignment indicated that you have a good subject-based knowledge and understanding. However, this knowledge has not translated fully to an accurate composition; you have let your taste (for non-repetitive accompanying material) get in the way of achieving a true facsimile of Baroque music. The accompanying part is too complex, however, and features a number of figurations and shapes that do not belong to the Baroque era. Your harpsichord part is, perhaps, too imaginative! There are many ideas here, including ones that are too dramatically contrasting in nature – in attempting to avoid something overly repetitive, you have pushed too far in the other direction.

This inability to put theory into practice has been evident in some way in every single assignment. I think a deeper understanding of the styles will come with further attempts and with time. I already mentioned in the reflective account of Assignment 1 that I struggle to write in styles not my own. I will have to become much more disciplined and stricter with myself to make sure I don’t ‘veer off’ stylistically speaking.

The score contains quite a lot of detail, arguably more than would normally be present in a Baroque work. Whilst the presentation is mostly neat, there are a few errors. For example, the first bar in the violin part consists of four crotchet rests, rather than a semibreve rest. Additionally, dynamics should not be placed under rests (and should be moved to the first note of the melody). Slur marks are particularly haywire in places – bar 14 is a particularly noticeable example; there are so many slurs (including ones which do not appear to ‘end’ on notes) that this becomes difficult to read. There is an error in the blog; the score consists of three pages, but the second page is presented twice (and the third page is missing entirely). This is a shame, as the material that begins at section C is arguably the most convincing.

I am a complete beginner when it comes to notation and am learning notation conventions as the course goes on. Equally I am a novice when it comes to the Sibelius notation software, which has compounded the problem and created additional confusion. I have in fact taken a Sibelius course over the last 12 weeks. Berklee online university have a degree unit on the topic which I completed on 25th September 2020. It has made my life a lot easier, I can now focus on learning notation rather than try to simultaneously understand what the software is doing.

It is clear that you did a lot of listening (using score follower videos), but all this material was accessed on the same date (01 February 2020) – there is nearly 2 hours of music here, which is a lot to assimilate in a single day. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial to listen to these whilst writing, comparing what you are composing to Bach’s material.

My time and date entries in the Listening Logs for this module are not accurate. Unfortunately, I did not write down the actual dates, so I ended up just entering the same date for several compositions. I did in fact listen to each piece over the course of a whole week. This is the amount I normally take for the listening logs. I also frequently revisit the works during the entire month and make edits and corrections to my logs. My approach is quite ‘cyclical’ in this respect.

General reflections on this module:

My conclusion is that I need a much greater understanding of what actually constitutes Baroque style, particularly in terms or rhythm. I also need to revisit Bach’s work with a clearer perception of his methods of varying and developing his compositions. I think that part of the problem is that I am not necessarily hearing all these variations and that my impression of the style being monotone is because I am not noticing everything within. I am missing a lot of the details and need to improve my listening skills in this respect. Again, this will be an ongoing process as my listening matures.