GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composing and Performing => Topic started by: Hammerklavier on October 07, 2021, 02:32:09 PM

Title: Hammerklavier's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Hammerklavier on October 07, 2021, 02:32:09 PM

I’m a layperson who enjoys writing piano sonatas.  I have no formal training, or even any aptitude for music, just my own enthusiasm.

After years of writing sketches and short pieces in a variety of styles and picking up a bit of music theory on my own here and there, I completed my first piano sonata in 2016.  Seven piano sonatas later, it looks like this hobby is here to stay, at least for a while longer.  I’ve decided to create a thread where I can share these works and hopefully receive some constructive feedback from the wise and talented denizens of this forum.

My musical voice would be considered old-fashioned today.  I mostly write in a diatonic style while make use of traditional sonata, rondo and ternary forms.  Why?  I guess for all the advancements and new ideas that have emerged over the 20th and 21st centuries, I still have a strong attachment to the late classical and early romantic periods.

The more I compose, the more I seek to step out of my comfort zone and branch out into more modern sounds, hoping to discover my own idiosyncratic voice along the way.  In the meantime, you’ll almost certainly find me imitating some of the old masters (especially Beethoven) at times, particularly in the earliest compositions.

I greatly appreciate your feedback!  Just be sure to keep your expectations low.  ;)

My sonatas can be heard here, "performed" by the Garritan library playback feature in Finale: (
Title: Re: Hammerklavier's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Hammerklavier on October 07, 2021, 02:51:51 PM
I’ve recently completed a new piano sonata, my seventh.  It's my most ambitious sonata to date, clocking in at 43 minutes and containing seven movements.

With each new sonata I write, I try to explore some new ideas and take on different challenges to grow as a composer.  Here are some of the things I attempted for this sonata with this in mind:

I have my own interpretation of what I’ve created.  Feel free to disregard and arrive at your own conclusions, since the music should speak for itself.  But for anyone who might be curious as to my intentions, here are a few “program notes” to help give some guidance as to my intentions.

 Though I’m not religious at this point in my life, I was raised as a Christian.  As a child, I was terrified of the concept of Hell and eternal damnation.  I wanted to end the sonata by essentially attempting to compose an old Christian vision of Hell that might have scared me as a child, even if it might appear a bit bombastic and over-the-top from an adult perspective.  The last couple of movements aren’t intended to criticize or parody any religion; I only sought to revisit some of those childhood feelings.

The individual movements can be found here:

Mvt. 1: (
Mvt. 2: (
Mvt. 3: (
Mvt. 4: (
Mvt. 5: (
Mvt. 6: (
Mvt. 7: (

I hope to hear your feedback, even if just for a single movement!
Title: Re: Hammerklavier's Piano Sonatas
Post by: classicalgeek on October 07, 2021, 03:16:45 PM
Thank you for sharing! To start, I listened to several moments from your Sonata no. 7, and I heard many influences: Ravel and Debussy in the first movement, Beethoven and Mozart in the second, Prokofiev in the seventh. I listened to bits and pieces of your others - in Sonata no. 1 I heard echoes of Beethoven's op. 10 no. 1 and op. 13 in the same key; in your early sonatas in general I hear a lot of Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert. It's apparent in your latest Sonata your style has evolved!

I don't know your background in music theory or counterpoint, but if you're interested in developing further as a composer, I'd recommend you pick up some books on both those subjects, just to deepen your knowledge. Alan Belkin (Canadian composer) also has a very helpful YouTube channel where he gives 'lessons' in harmony, counterpoint, compositional craft, orchestration, and other subjects:

I wish you the best of luck in your journey - keep on writing music, whether it's just for yourself or you hope to reach a wider audience. Thank you for sharing your work!
Title: Re: Hammerklavier's Piano Sonatas
Post by: Hammerklavier on October 07, 2021, 04:41:07 PM
Hey classicalgeek, thanks for listening and for the encouragement!  You definitely live up to the name, as I would largely agree with the list of influences you provided.  When preparing to work on the seventh movement of the seventh sonata, I actually made a point of studying Prokofiev's Diabolical Suggestion (along with piano transcriptions of Stravinsky's Danse Infernale from the Firebird and Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, among a few others).

I'm always interested in growing as a composer, so I'll check out that Youtube link you provided.