last minute changes to piece

My friend Rhonda has been very helpful to me as I considered entering my composition, “Little Recessional Dance,” into a compositional contest.  One of her comments left me wondering. She mentioned that in the A theme the bass seems to “wander.”

I pondered what this might mean.

Thought about it, but didn’t come up with any changes.

Yesterday as I prepared the final copy to send off to the Greater Kansas City AGO, I noticed that the beginning of the  A theme and its restatements were not the same.

In measure 1 (and  34) the bass went this way:


G, D, E, F#

But in the second part of the theme (ms. 9 & 42), it was different:


G, C, D, F#.

I had not consciously noticed this difference before.

I went back through my drafts and found that this inconsistency was present in the piece from the first draft I have of it.

I sat at the piano and listened to the harmonies and realized that the first measure version was superior to the other version.

I changed the bass in measures 9 & 42 to conform with it.

I then emailed Rhonda telling her about this and wondering out loud to her if this was part of the “wandering” she observed. Here’s a pdf link to the final version. also available at my “Free Mostly Original Sheet Music” page.

Rhonda is off concertizing in Germany. She and her husband have a dinner date with Eileen and me after she returns. If I haven’t heard from her by email by then, I will ask her.

At any rate, I think this change improved the piece.

I was a bit discouraged to read that the composition was to be from 5 to 10 minutes long. Mine is much shorter. This might eliminate any possibility of it being considered for the competition. Ah well. In my experience shorter is usually better for listening audiences these days.

I got up this morning and got bogged down in reading about the English Civil Wars and Oliver Cromwell.

I was looking to situate events in my head as a background for the history of Hymnody I am reading. The  author assumes that the reader knows all about these wars. They impact the story so I thought I would get myself up to speed.

Cromwell was a lot more honorable than I thought he was. I guess I suspect Puritans in general anyway. The story outlined in the online Academic edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (thank you Hope College!) painted Cromwell as a brilliant and tolerant leader at a difficult time. This is much different than I thought of him.

I also didn’t quite understand that the three “Kingdoms” (Scotland, Ireland, Britain) were associated with three flavors of Christianity at the time: Puritan (Scotland), Roman Catholic (Ireland) and Church of England (Britain). This meant that Cromwell had natural sympathy with the Scots but not the Irish or the official Brit church.


Cousins of Neanderthals Left DNA in Africa, Scientists Report –

Geneticists and  paleoanthropologists discuss.


China Sends Two to Labor Camp for Marching in Hong Kong –

The police followed them to Hong Kong. They seem to have convicted them without bothering to even pick them up. Weird shit.


South Africa – Mike du Toit Found Guilty of High Treason –

Years later.


Marginalisation – Susan Tomes: Pianist & writer

A columnist I read regularly discusses the marginalization of classical music from a point of view I don’t hear so much in the USA, namely that it’s an expression of elitism. Here people are more likely to just simply be disinterested or even unaware.


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