Fully notated pieces

It's tempting to call it “classical”. I don't feel like it though. Simply being fully notated doesn't make it classical. “Classical” implies at least conformance with the common practice period traditions, or certain artistic merit, or both. Then again, a lot of contemporary classical music ignores the common practice period rules or breaks them on purpose. A lot of contemporary classical music isn't very good, to put it politely. On the other hand, a lot of common practice period music wasn't all that good either.

Still, I'm pretty sure if I call these exercises in composition “classical music”, real academic musicians will give me very odd looks. I'll stick with “fully notated” which is vague enough to cover everything and not offensive to anyone.

The Ballad of an Epic Fail

It would make a good fantasy RPG theme I suppose, even though I didn't set out to make one.

Rhythm Changes Prelude

The harmony of Geroge Gershwin's song “I've Got Rhythm” is immensely popular among jazz composers, and served as a basis for numerous compositions such as Charlie Parker's “Confirmation”.

I thought it would be fun to write a classical period style composition based on the same chord progression, for me it was also an exercise in writing Alberti bass. The main challenge for me was to connect the B section chords smoothly as it consists entirely of secondary dominants (ragtime progression) and doesn't have obvious resolutions.

Awkward Waltz for Ann

The initial idea was to descend from the I to the V by major seconds. Funnily enough, later my friend pointed me to a very dissimilar song with similar harmonic idea, “Stray Cat Strut” by Brian Setzer.

The other idea was to write a piece that can be viewed as a jazz piece with an overly elaborate intro, or a fully notated piece with improvised sections. Something of a third stream perhaps.

The dedication was added after writing, to make it a last moment gift. Ann is cool, she plays double bass.

Trivial Prelude

An example of constrained writing. There was a guy who wrote a book of scifi short stories and he wanted to include some “theme music” in it, encoded in ASCII (e.g. ABC notation) as a nod to early personal computer magazines and type-in BASIC programs they published. He ultimately scrapped the plan though.

It was a fun project nonetheless. Due to the limitations of the medium, it had to be short and rhythmically trivial. I tried to convey the sense of emptiness and uncertainty, in line with the mood of the stories.

This page was last modified: 2017 August 02