Tag Archives: piano

1887. The Harmonious Blacksmith

It was Grandma Hilda’s 75th birthday coming up. She loved to hear twelve year old granddaughter, Lydia, play the piano. Grandma Hilda liked old-fashioned music. Not that Lydia didn’t, so Lydia thought she would surprise Grandma Hilda by playing a piece specially learnt for the birthday. Lydia thought and thought and thought. In the end, she decided to learn Handel’s The Harmonious Blacksmith. She practised and practised and practised. It was quite hard, even though she was very good at playing the piano.

Grandma Hilda’s birthday arrived. Lydia and her parents went to visit.

“Happy Birthday Grandma!” said Lydia. “I’ve learnt a special piece on the piano for you!”

“That’s lovely dear,” said Grandma Hilda. “As long as it’s not a piece by that awful composer called Handel. His music goes boom, boom, boom, and I can’t stand it.”

“No,” said Lydia. “It’s by Scarlatti.”

Grandma loved it. She didn’t know the difference. In the circumstance it’s possible that Handel wouldn’t have minded.

Music 352: Dancing in wet sand while wearing a mask

Happy 4th of July to my USA friends!

This piece of music today was a lockdown composition. I grew tired of hearing that one could walk on wet sand but not on dry sand, like we were cats looking for the “kitty-litter”.

[For those who like a more academic approach to music listening (and presumably in this case it’s not many of you because these things don’t matter!) this piece of music is not spontaneously played upon a keyboard. I took a 12-tone serial row by Arnold Schoenberg, made a grid out of it, and composed using only the diagonals on the grid. Whatever!]

Anyways – it brightened my day. I hope it brightens yours!

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

1819. The child prodigy

(Warning: there could be swearing)

Cornelius Dresdomida-Heregofinsopt was the most astonishing child prodigy since Adam was a boy. He was a musician. His two main instruments were piano and piccolo. You wouldn’t believe what he could do with a piccolo! Astonishing!

Since the age of five he had shown a remarkable talent for piano, and he celebrated his tenth birthday by playing Dmitri Smith’s 14th Piano Concerto in A minor accompanied by the Ulaanbaatar Symphony Orchestra.

Reviews were stunning. The fact that he played one of his own compositions as an encore proved that the world was on the cusp of discovering a talent so divine it made Bach look like a headless chicken.

Cornelius went on to become one of the greats of all time. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Dresdomida-Heregofinsopt tripped off everyone’s tongue. Not only that, but he became the richest musician ever to hit the world stage. He was regarded as a phenomenon; a living icon; the incarnation of Michael the Archangel. Then he died, well into his eighties, leaving a body of work so vast that people were in disbelief.

Except none of this happened. Because when he was five years old and asked his parents if he could learn the piano, his father simply said, “No kid of mine is going to grow up a fuckin’ pansy.”

And that was that.

Music 349: Waltz (for bassoon and piano)

Here is a piece for piano and bassoon – again, played on the computer – so it won’t be as exciting as in the real! It is a waltz.

It’s really the fourth of four woodwind pieces of a set on this blog (flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon), although I have a fairly definite suspicion that they’ll never get played! However, I enjoyed writing them!

The wrong notes are intentional! I like wrong notes. When I was learning the piano I had wrong notes all over the place. Just play them without being a fuss-pot and they’ll sound better than good. A lot of my music has bum notes in it to teach purists a jolly good lesson!

This will be the last bit of music I’ll post for a while as they’re not the most popular things I post. However I will continue to potter with music in the lurking depths of secrecy. As a teacher told me, maybe 60 years ago, “Write for the waste paper bin. Write for the waste paper bin every day.” I’ve never quite got out of the habit of throwing things away.

Have a nice day!

Thanks
Bruce

Click below to hear the piece:

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

Click here to download a printable copy of the music

Music 348: Helter-Skelter (for Bb clarinet and piano)

Here is a piece for piano and B-flat clarinet – again, played on the computer – so it won’t be as exciting as in the real!

It’s called “Helter-Skelter”. The piano part in particular should be played with a great deal of abandonment!

The clarinet part is written for the Bb clarinet, so it will be in the wrong key to play along with on most other instruments. If you want a copy of the clarinet part to play on a C instrument, just email me!

Thanks
Bruce

Click below to hear the piece:

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

Click here to download a printable copy of the music

Music 347: Magpies (for flute and piano)

Here is a piece for piano and flute – again, played on the computer – so it won’t be as exciting as in the real!

It’s called “Magpies” because the middle section sort of sounds like magpies gabbling away in the trees. At least, it sounds a bit like the magpies we have here in New Zealand (which were introduced from Australia in the 1860s to combat pastoral insect pests).

Thanks
Bruce

Click below to hear the piece:

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

Click here to download a printable copy of the music

Music 346: For oboe and piano

Last year (2019) for a New Year resolution I thought I’d write (after a many years’ hiatus) some pieces to play on the piano. It ended up being 181 piano pieces!

This year I thought I’d try to write some pieces for other instruments – but since I don’t play anything other than keyboard the audios are composed on what I have on my computer (which is what came with it when it was purchased over ten years ago – yes I know Windows 7 is obsolete).

Many years back I used to arrange and compose a lot of music for orchestra. I knew the strengths and restraints of most instruments. It’s now almost 40 years since I last wrote for orchestral instruments, so things have become a little rusty. However, the orchestrating tomes are still on the shelf and are coming in handy.

For today’s piece of music, which is for oboe and piano, I hope it is oboe friendly! One of the things about an oboe is that it doesn’t use up much air, so unlike most other instruments you blow into, an allowance has to be made for the player not just to breathe in but to breathe out first! If any of you are oboe players I’ll try to humbly accept criticism of fingering, phrasing, etc. I’m in awe of any oboist’s breath control!

The last thing I composed for orchestra that was performed was for a circus! They wanted an entire circus performance not to be just a series of acts, but to tell a story. It was quite successful. After that, a university lecturer (since deceased) invited me to compose a piece for a youth orchestra. He furnished a list of instrumentalists. I was excited! I handed him the score, and the next day he said that the strings didn’t have phrasing and many articulation markings. (Don’t string players have any nous and pencils?) I added the markings, and the next thing was that he said there were too many double bass parts. I concluded from that he didn’t like the piece. I gave up and have since done other things. But here I am back again!

I am extremely reticent about foistering such compositions as these on the public. I feel some trustworthy readers might feel loyalty-bound to listen. But what else can I do with the jolly things?!

Thanks
Bruce

Click below to hear the piece:

Click here to download a printable copy of the music

Music 339-345: Six pieces and a minuet

Hi Everyone

Here are the last of the piano pieces for 2019. The set is called Six Pieces and a Minuet – because I occasionally border on the eccentric. My New Year’s Resolution for 2019 was to compose some pieces for the piano and it’s been achieved – 181 times! A big thanks to those who listened and apologies to those I bored! For good reason, Fame has eluded me over the years. There’s a poem HERE (it opens on a new page) that tries to explain why!

Click on a title in the first list to listen to the music, and click on a title in the second list to download the written music.

Thanks

Click on a title to listen
1. The question
2. Hoopla
3. Yipee
4. Oh no!
5. Fairground train ride
6. Detective Inspector
(aka “Something to play over and over if you want to annoy your parents”)
7. A minuet to end the year

Click on a title to download the written music
1. The question
2. Hoopla
3. Yipee
4. Oh no!
5. Fairground train ride
6. Detective Inspector
7. A minuet to end the year

Music 329-332: Four dances for piano

Hi Everyone

Here are Four dances for piano – not for the piano to dance to, Silly, but four dances to be played on the piano.

Click on a title in the first list to listen, and click on a title in the second list to download the written music.

Thanks

Click on a title to listen
Dance 1
Dance 2
Dance 3
Dance 4

Click on a title to download the written music
Dance 1
Dance 2
Dance 3
Dance 4

Music 314-328: An Eleventh Little Suite in Fifteen Sketches

Hi Everyone

This Eleventh Little Suite in Fifteen Sketches – both audio and printable – for the piano, concludes the series of Little Suites begun this year. Note that sketches 2, 3 & 4 of this suite form a Sonata that was posted on this blog earlier this year.

Although each suite is in 15 sketches, the first and last of each suite are the same. So 14 pieces multiplied by 11 comes to 154! I wanted it to be 153 because that is how many pieces there are in Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, however I overran!

The idea of 15 sketches in a “little suite” came from the French composer, Jacques Ibert, who wrote such a collection.

Click on a title in the first list to listen, and click on a title in the second list to download the written music.

Thanks

Click on a title to listen
1. Prelude
2. First Movement Sonata 2
3. Second Movement Sonata 2
4. Third Movement Sonata 2
5. A little toccata
6. Sleeping Beauty
7. White horses
8. Blackbird on the lawn
9. Doe and fawn
10. Little romance
11. A trinket
12. Jurjina
13. Clowns
14. Tarantella
15. Finale

Click on a title to download the written music
1. Prelude
2. First Movement Sonata 2
3. Second Movement Sonata 2
4. Third Movement Sonata 2
5. A little toccata
6. Sleeping Beauty
7. White horses
8. Blackbird on the lawn
9. Doe and fawn
10. Little romance
11. A trinket
12. Jurjina
13. Clowns
14. Tarantella
15. Finale