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The Sensation of Dreaming

Discussion in 'Composing' started by pianoman342, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have written a piece that is in many ways similar to a particular Chopin Prelude, the "Aeolian Harp." The time signature of this piece is common time, but each beat gets 6 notes, and the piece rolls along with one arpeggio after the next, with accents on the first note of each beat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXlZWSjqg2Y

    The piece I wrote, unlike the "Aeolian Harp" instead puts the emphasis on the 6th beat, and is set in 6/8. Another piece I was inspired by is Chris Gibbs "Midnight Rain," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ren89g6th3M which seems to evoke a carefree mood throughout. The rubato is free in this piece, putting smaller emphasis on the beginning and middle of a phrase but more towards the end. So much so, the phrase end almost feels like the punchline. :shock:

    The piece is called "The Sensation of Dreaming," it is supposed to capture the weightless and otherworldly quality of our dreams. Naturally, to get this effect, pedal, legato and rubato phrasing were techniques I wanted to use to achieve the quality of a dream-state.

    I was interested in having this piece performed by a pianist on the site, so I asked David (rachfan) to play this piece and he has since kindly practiced and furnished a recording. David told me there were a lot of challenges, the fact that his piano (a baldwin) has a quicker tone decay than other pianos, eveness of articulation and having the 3rd and 4th beats line up dynamically.

    There is a special chord, an Am6 that is heard in m.27. It adds a special flair to the piece, and it is able to throw off the expectation that you are hearing the theme from the beginning. Interestingly, this was a problem with my scanner. It did not register the E line properly, so instead of what I originally intended (for it to be a repeat of the main theme, the 4th beat D looks like a B! (the F, a D). As I told David, I think this chord adds an interesting bridge to the two sections that are totally unsimilar to the repeating first 8 measures, and the faster rubato on the 2nd repeat adds another fresh interpretation of the same measure.

    Without further ado, here is "The Sensation of Dreaming,"

    comments and criticisms are welcome (but please, if have to choose between who to criticize if you don't like the piece; David or me, rip on me :) )
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I love PS collaborations! :D

    Nice job, both of you!! David, your playing sounded steady and sure with nice gentle waves of dynamics. Riley, your music is pretty but since you want honest opinions, then I just think that the piece is a little too long for what it is. I think the first part is the part that can be shortened. But overall, it's a nice composition.

    Thanks, guys! :)
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Thanks for the compliment! I'd bet that nobody ever expected to hear me playing contemporary music. :lol: I have to admit though that before "Sensation", my closest approach to contemporary music had been Poulenc's "Melancolie" from 1940 and Dutra's "Preludio", also dated 1940. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Riley on this new work.

    David
     
  4. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Gorgeous harmonies and great playing for such a modest piece. The chord that you detailed in your summary does indeed move.
     
  5. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks everybody for the feedback!

    @ Monica

    I agree, it's amazing how, with the internet technology one can play pieces by other composers who live far away.

    It's true the 2 sections are uneven, the first is longer than the second (actually by double). They are unsymmetrical phrases :| Glad you like it overall :)

    @ David

    I had a listen to your Dutra recording. What an interesting rare piece! It also has the rolling arpeggios, and sounds rather insouciant like my piece, however the harmonic colors sound darker and more hellish than what I wrote in my piece. I was trying to go for the whole idea that a dream, no matter how fantastic can always be woken up from. That every dream is actually not real--no matter how much it seems to be. The Dutra prelude, in f sharp minor starts eerily and ends sadly (with some nice moments in the middle). But overall, evoking quite a somber mood.

    And if a piece from the 1940s is a contemporary composition, my piece must be post-contemporary :lol:

    @ Jonathan

    Thanks, I tried to make the harmony not incredibly complex and I think it sounds better that way (if only in piece-writing that solely use arpeggios)
     
  6. Bornfield

    Bornfield New Member

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    Fun playing this! Very meditative, like playing Bach C major prelude mixed with Satie. Thanks!
    JB
     
  7. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    @ Jeremiah,

    Thanks for trying it out! It is a great compliment to be compared to Bach. I think I know which piece you are talking about. Satie, what a great composer too. I love his Gnossiennes :)
     

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