02: “After work, late at night”, bars 1-10.

Bars 1-8
Listen to piano bars 1-8:Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.46.35

  • Melody
    • Should it be divided over more instrument sections because of large melodic skips in fast tempo (book page 29)? No, the tempo of this piece is low and can easily be played by a single string section.
    • Is there an implied melodic line (book page 35)? No, the melody is within a single voice.
    • Should it be divided over other instrument sections to avoid static harmonic fillers in those sections (book page 37)? No, the middle voices have melodic movement of their own and will create interesting  voicing.
    • Are there melodic lines combined with repeated note patterns that need division over 2 instrument parts (book page 38)? No, the melody is within a single voice.
    • Used elements: harmonized melody and harmonized pads.
    • Used piano idioms: sustained chords (book page 65).

    Idiom translation: How can the sustained piano chords translate to sustained string chords? The chords in the left hand (1-4) are widely spread which translates very nice to the string ensemble. The thick warm sound in the right hand chords are played by divided violins 2 (2-7) and violas (5-7).

Listen to the string arrangement bars 1-8:Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 15.30.48

I doubled the bass notes one octave down in the basses (1-4), but left them out after that to keep the pianissimo phrase light (5-8). Where possible, I replaced repeated notes with longer notes to create a smoother movement, and although it would have been closer to the original piano version to leave the eight note rhythm in bar 1, personally I like it more as shown above.

I like where this is going, but maybe it’s all a little too heavy. Let’s try a higher key for example D major which is a major 3rd higher. Also the way this piece starts feels too fast for my taste, maybe a short 2 bar intro will lighten it up.

Listen to the string arrangement bars 1-10:
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.14.09Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.30.18This sounds much better already. Now let’s question the string arrangement of the melody:

Contrast: is the melody set off clearly from its surrounding elements through contrast and playing in its best sounding range (tessitura)?

The melody is played in the top voice of the arrangement and will therefor be clearly heard. It sits in the medium to high register and mostly be performed on the violin’s d-string which in this 1 1/2 octave has a rich vibrant sound, and therefor suited for this kind of melody.

Repeated phrases: are there repeated motives that become more interesting when repeated in other tessituras?

The bar 5 phrase is repeated twice which covers the whole middle register, repeating it one octave higher will place it in the high to very high register creating a thinner sound which would rob this melody from the rich tone it needs. Placing it one octave lower would mean that it has to be played on the lowest g string for the first 5 notes after which it needs to be played one octave higher because that low g sharp note is as low as this string goes. Another problem is that breaking up this phrase this way would create a weird octave up break in the middle of a the melody which doesn’t sound natural in my ears. So we can conclude that the the repeated melodic phrases do not need to be repeated in other tessituras  for the sake of keeping it sound interesting.

Published by André

André van Haren was born in 1963 in Holland. In 1990 he received a Bachelor Degree in Music in Classical Piano and Composition from the Conservatory in Utrecht, The Netherlands. His main instrument is the piano. He has written and arranging music for various ensembles including piano, choir, chamber ensembles and orchestra.

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