Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kites (Perenepsis #4)

Yes, this is the long-awaited (hah!) Perenepsis #4, appearing just under five years after Perenepsis #5.  Was time travel involved? Maybe, but probably only in the usual manner of past to present to future. What happened is that this one didn't initially start out as a Perenepsis, but acquired the requisite characteristics along the way, and as I've never been entirely happy with the non-posted original #4 (it has good parts that I'll probably recycle at some point, especially the "chorale" section), this seemed like a better #4 than that one.

The kites referenced in the title are very busy flying back and forth in the sky (where else would they be flying?), a keen listener will detect that most of them end up getting the Charlie Brown treatment, the poor things. More or less, the right hand supplies the breeze that keeps the kites afloat (even if only briefly), while the left hand depicts the kites themselves, but not exactly, and they overlap. That's not at all confusing.

The key is D, but there is no key signature, as it wavers ambiguously between major and minor, accentuated by one of the main themes, which goes up in minor but comes down in major, overshooting the root at the end (D--F--A-F#-Bb). It starts out in 6/8, has a middle section in 2/4, then goes back to 6/8 for the ending.

Inspiration for this piece came from listening to some Sibelius piano works, but don't blame him for this one; all I took was the idea of a quick-moving high right hand with the melody mostly in the left, and then Glornted it all up. The good news is that if you don't like it, it's only 2 minutes long.

Next up: Something for orchestra, along the lines of my Riparian Sketch for Small Orchestra, only different. Still working on the "weightier" ones, getting uncomfortably close to actually finishing one of them. Maybe by this fall...

Sunday, April 22, 2018


I warned y'all that there were more "color" pieces for string quartet coming, Last year, when I finished and posted Black one day into Lent, I wondered whether I should've renamed it Purple. This year, I started one in Lent, and named it Violet rather than purple, as it employs Violins, a Viola, and a Violoncello -- Purple is for Pianos! So, this was intended as a Lenten piece, but as usual, while it was mostly done during Lent, I kept fiddling with it (pun intended) to the point that the final touches weren't done until a few days after Easter. Still, it is what it is: slow, muted strings in 3/4 time and B minor.

Not much else to say about this one, but I do realize that all three of this collection so far have been rather dark. I'll try to make the next one brighter, but no guarantee. I do have White and Yellow in the works, and ideas for Gold, Blue and possibly Green and Silver (there should be an Orange in there, but I may do Brown instead, and maybe also a Gray; I like brown and gray). Maybe between all of these, I'll get one or two of them done this year, but these aren't the only pieces demanding my attention.

Next up, another piano piece, then something else for orchestra. After that, who knows?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sketch in F# Minor for Piano

It's been quite a while since my last post -- almost a year -- but I haven't been idle... at least, not completely. I've been working on some larger-scale pieces, and there's another piece for orchestra coming soon (it was actually completed before this one; not sure why I haven't posted it yet), but  last week I picked up this piano thing that I started back in 2013, and decided that it should be done by now. It's the first piece I've written that is intentionally difficult, but as my YouTube description says, I think it's easier to listen to than to play, and y'all only have to listen to it, not play it, so it should be safe. Here it is:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


In the middle of writing Red, it occurred to me that a series of color-based pieces for string quartet might not be a horrible idea. Not knowing how long it would take for me to get around to more, though, I decided not to announce the idea at the time. Even now might be a bit premature, as I don't know if two quite qualify as a series.

Still, the intent is there. I thought that Yellow would be the second installment (and I even have the bare inklings of concepts for Blue and White),but I got an idea for Black a couple weeks ago; when I got back to working on it last Saturday, I ended up completely throwing out what I'd written up to that point, retaining only the tempo, time signature and the key of G minor, albeit with a strong octatonic flavor (Red is strictly octatonic, centered on E).

A long weekend, courtesy of a medical test (I passed!) and Mardi Gras (which I once more successfully avoided) gave me enough relatively uninterrupted time to pretty much finish it yesterday, except for a few minor tweaks earlier today, which I guess makes this a Lenten piece -- maybe it should be Purple instead of Black, but it was written as Black so that's what it is.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Rondo in C Minor

This goes back to 2014, when I got this little idea in 17/8 but set it aside, because I thought the A and B sections of the rondo form were too short. When browsing through scores last weekend, I came across it and realized that these two sections were actually just parts of an overall A section, itself having a form of AAB (the second 'A' a transposition of the first). I came up with a B section (itself AABC, with a similarly transposed repeated A and the B echoing the 'A' part of the slightly shorter overall A section).

The overall structure became AABABA-coda (with no strict repeats, as each occurrence of a section has the left hand do something a little different), the final A blending into the coda.  A brief cadenza-like passage leads to what is here the second of three versions of the ending (longer than the first version but a little shorter than the third).

Originally written out in 17/8, I decided to break it down in order to better show the subdivisions (mostly 4-4-4-5 and 5-5-4-3), and because in the coda there are some 13s, 10s, etc., along with a couple more 17s.  Apart from the rhythmic oddities, however, this is very traditional.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas! (Again)

As mentioned in previous posts, I got a new sound library early last year that provided some noticeable improvements in several instruments, particularly the trumpets, so I thought that my Christmas piece from 2011 -- Bells -- was overdue for an update. I initially intended to just make the dynamics and articulation adjustments called for by the new sounds, but ended up making other changes as well. The more major ones were to extend the opening, make the ending a little less abrupt, and add a bass clarinet to give more body to the clarinet section. I also slightly extended the transition into the C major section in the middle, and added various flourishes, especially with my improved trumpet section.

Here it is -- Merry Christmas!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Prelude in F Major

Yesterday on the way home from work, I heard on the radio that it was both National Classical Music Month and -- rather suspiciously -- also National Piano Month. So, when I got home, I decided to take a look at the F Major fugue I've been working on recently. It occurred to me that the fugue could use a prelude as a companion, so I added some harmonic debris to an F Major chord and decided to see what I could do with that. This is what happened: