These nine pieces for the piano are based on Anglican psalm chants. I have an Anglican Psalter with 242 chants – goodness knows where I got it from! – and each of these piano pieces is based on one or two chants from the psalter chosen at random. I hope I don’t get sent to hell for wrecking the chants! I can’t remember which chant I used for what as I’m totally disorganized and and have long abandoned any semblance of organization.
At first, since they were based on something religious, I called them after the monastic Liturgy of the Hours: Matins, Lauds, Vespers, Compline, etc. There were eight traditional prayer times, and then I wrote another piece and there were 9 pieces and only 8 liturgical prayer Hours! So I thought what the heck and named them after the hours of the day. The pieces really having nothing to do with the hours of the day and nothing to do with the Liturgy of the Hours, but things have to have some order!
I was pretty familiar with the Anglican chants as when I was a “monk” and everything changed from Latin to English we didn’t have much in the way of music to sing the Liturgy of the Hours (aka Divine Office) in English so we “pinched” the music from the Anglicans! Anyway, all I know now is that these 9 piano pieces have absolutely nothing to do with the hours of the day, nothing to do with the monastic Liturgy of the Hours, and nothing to do with the Anglican psalmody except I started out by stealing the psalmodies’ harmonies!
Here are three Etudes for piano. Basically an Etude is an exercise for improving on a specific skill in playing a specific instrument, but people like Chopin managed to turn them into pieces good enough to play in a concert.
Most will be familiar (at least in name) with Major and Minor Scales. But there are lots of other scales besides those. Some are called Modes, but are basically the same thing as a scale. Modal Music was the music of the Ancient Greeks and of the Early Church.
Here are seven pieces for piano each based on a different mode. The pieces are named after the names of each mode used.
The fourth piece here – called after the Locrian Mode – is one that some advise never to use as it’s very dissonant. I couldn’t resist, but “cheated” a tiny bit by adding a few non-modal notes!
1. Dorian: The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE. 2. Ionian: The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE. 3. Lydian: The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE. 4. Locrian: The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE. 5. Mixolydian: The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE. 6. Aeolian: The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE. 7. Phrygian The audio HERE, and the sheet music HERE.
Here is a Suite for Piano made up of four pieces. It is based on serial music which for those who don’t know (and are possibly not the slightest bit interested!) has all 12 notes played in a fairly rigorous set order – in a series – hence “Serial Music”. Please don’t feel obliged to listen if Serial Music is not your thing!
I – Trapped by a Chord: The audio can he heard HERE, and the sheet music can be downloaded HERE. 2 – Ragged Notes: The audio can he heard HERE, and the sheet music can be downloaded HERE. 3 – Toccata: The audio can he heard HERE, and the sheet music can be downloaded HERE. 4 – Summersaults: The audio can he heard HERE, and the sheet music can be downloaded HERE.
I posted a piano sonata the other day and said it would probably be the last bit of music for the year. Not so! With this blog winding up in a couple of days (at least this stage of it) I’m having a tidy-up. So this little piano piece should be the last of the music. It really is me just being a bit silly.
The Haydn Minuet is from the second movement of a Haydn Piano Sonata in E minor (I’ve changed the key in this arrangement). And the variation uses a scale by the 20th century German/American composer Arnold Schoenberg. Some enterprising teacher might use it to illustrate some of the differences between music of the Classical era, and music of the mid-20th century.