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Thread: Theme and Variation basics

  1. #1
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    Theme and Variation basics

    What are some Basic Variation tricks?

    If i write a motif,Lied,melody line,theme how do i write variations ?

    I know composer Max Reger takes Beethoven,Mozart,Bach theme or melody lines and writes variations how does he do this?

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    Max Reger Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 86
    Has 9 variations from the Theme how does the composer do this?

    Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J. S. Bach
    this also has 10 variations or more on the Bach themes

    Reger:Variations and Fugue for Orchestra on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 132
    this has 9 variations on the Mozart themes

    Does Variations take a Theme and ADD in new parts? has different cadences?
    Shifts the Tempo of the theme? changes Time signatures? different keys?

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    Hey Brent,
    This sounds like an exam/homework question that's probably
    been thoroughly discussed since these variations were written.
    There must be archives on the Net on this subject!......
    ...It's probably been discussed to death!
    If the sheet music is available for the originals and also for the
    variations ,can't you compare ,analyse them and determine the differences yourself ?
    That's what I'd do! Innit!?!

  4. #4
    I am not very nice DemonSorcerer's Avatar
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    There are sooooo many classical compositions that use the Theme & Variations thingie...

    For example, Niccolo Paganini used to play popular, short themes and play spectacular variations of the theme...his most popular ones were his 24th Caprice, the Carnival of Venice and the Variations on the Moses Theme...Some other great Violinists such as Ernst composed great Variations on popular themes...there's a great composition by Ernst that's called Die laste Rose....great, near-impossible violin variations which involve several techniques simultaneously....for example, arpeggiating chords while plucking the melody with left hand pizzicato...very Paganini.Like...but a lot harder.

    Several spanish guitar composers such as Fernando Sor and Mauro Giuliani did a lot of that too... Check Variations on a Mozart Theme by Sor...then there's Variations on a Theme by Handel by Giuliani...he plays some weird variations on the Harmonious Blacksmith theme...

    Good luck with it, the Variations technique requires too much creativity...i mean, anyone can write variations, but not anyone can write memorable variations... if you're making variations on a major-sounding theme, try writing a minor sounding one...

    David

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    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent
    What are some Basic Variation tricks?

    If i write a motif,Lied,melody line,theme how do i write variations ?
    take the given melody and write down the notes that fall on the down beats. Now find a chord progression in that key that emphasises those notes. You can come up with a different set of chords that work with the same melody line.

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    Thanks for the information

    If the Theme melody is in the key of E major

    The Variation would be in the Key of E major but with different note rhythms
    or can you transpose the Theme to different Keys or Modes

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    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent
    Thanks for the information

    If the Theme melody is in the key of E major

    The Variation would be in the Key of E major but with different note rhythms
    or can you transpose the Theme to different Keys or Modes
    Depends on how many notes tha melody has. You could switch to a different key that has all the same notes as the melody but the more notes the melody has, the less options there will be. My proposition above was intended on staying in the same key and just using different chords.

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    Why does having a melody or theme with not many notes has More options?

    What kind of Variation options is there?

    What kind of Variation tricks does composers do?

  9. #9
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent
    Why does having a melody or theme with not many notes has More options?
    Because you need to play in a key that has all the notes of the melody, right? Lets say the melody had all seven notes of the C major scale. Then you could only play that melody in the key of C. If all you had were the notes C,D & E, Then you could play that melody in the key of C,G or D because all those keys have those notes.
    Quote Originally Posted by brent
    What kind of Variation options is there?
    Well you could keep the melody exactly the same and play around with the chords in the same key. You could keep the melody exactly the same and play around with chords from another key. You could transpose the melody into a different mode and come up with new chords in the same key. You could transpose to a different mode and play with chords in a different key. You could alter the melody a bit and bring in a foreign chord.

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    Thanks for the information

    What about changing the Time Signature?

    To take the same melody but change the Time signature what would happen?The orginal note values would be shifted and have shorter or longer note values adding more or less measures.

    example taking a C major melody in 4/4 and changing it to 6/8 or 12/8 to make it longer or shorter to 2/4 or 3/4 would make the accents of the notes different also this would be a variation

  11. #11
    Registered User Madaxeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spino
    Hey Brent,
    This sounds like an exam/homework question
    Not to be judgemental, but It seems alot of Brent's questions are exam/homework based I don't know if having everyone spoon feed the answers is helping him LEARN the material. I may be wrong, if so please forgive me, but I used to teach, and I feel it is important for the student to learn, and not just supply the answers.

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    sorry not going to school just want to talk about music theory and exchange ideas

  13. #13
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    How to take the orginal melody and do a augmentation?
    diminution?
    inversion?

  14. #14
    Registered User tara_bara's Avatar
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    hey....

    as far as i know you can change what ever you like...
    so say if you start with a basic melody you can make it fancier...add notes etc!
    you can put it in a minor version, change what you want.
    if you keep the same chord progression you can ofcourse change the key signature as well. you dont have to keep the melody exactly the same...
    make it fun....!

    ps even if it was a hwk question it doesnt really matter...its still starting a gd topic!
    doctors examined my head, and found nothing.... surprise surprise!!
    -t

  15. #15
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    thanks for the help

    adding embellishments and trills to the orginal melody is a variation

    Bach,Reger used theme and variations like question and answering
    the answering phrase was a variation to the question mostly

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