Life According to Piano

Hah! Managed to work Schubert into Drivin!

In my newest piece, a (lovely, if I do say so myself, but consider the source I’m stealing ideas from) ländler-like melody, very reminiscent of the Schubert ländlers I used to accompany ballet classes with, lo those many aeons ago; floating above a distant rumbling bass. 

I love this melody. I just hope I can play it beautifully with no frantic energy by one week from today. (And I just made it up today!)

And that makes Drivin! a CD that will include both Robert Johnson and Franz Schubert. Really, how many piano CDs can make that claim?

[I’m fairly confident that this newest piece is named The Golden Passage, by the way. And you know I never believe I have the entire piece unless I’m confident I have the correct title as well. Because the title tells me something about the music that I cannot discover any other way, and sometimes what the title says is, “Throw out all that stuff and write me some new music!”]

Stalking the wild piano piece

I’ve noticed that I have a similar pattern both in learning new music by another composer and in creating new music myself.

First there is the “I have a dream” stage: maybe I’ve heard and loved this Beethoven sonata, or maybe I have caught a sound of a new piece in my imagination. I know I want to learn/create the new music. I am full of anticipation!

I start to work on the new repertory or the new composition. Sometimes that can be rather frustrating because what I hear in my imagination (whether it is repertory or new work) is somewhat out of reach. But I know it’s there. At this stage my memory of the dream keeps me in the game.

(I believe that I ought to be able to skip this first stage & get right to the next stage, but for some reason I usually do this first. I think the truly great practicers know how to minimize this stage — advanced practicing: how to make one’s work play. And of course, there are the compositions that come to me essentially fully formed. A Handfull of Quietness was one of those; so was The Never-Ending Starlit Road. It is a thrilling experience to sit and cognize new music and know as I play it that it is just perfect.)

Less lamentaciously

Okay, The Donkey Drag (aka Mr Darcy’s Lament) is coming along nicely now. It is in D major, just like The Phoebe Returns; I find it interesting that both pieces I have created about the creatures who hang out here are in D. I don’t think it really means anything, though.

So The Donkey Drag obviously must include the donkey & me going along cooperatively; and going along not cooperatively; the donkey braying; the donkey kicking (I think you’ll recognize that section quite easily!); the donkey chuckling (yes, Mr Darcy definitely chuckles). So the “sections” of the piece are clear; I was just having trouble before coming up with the music to go in those sections. I think I’m past that difficulty now.

Drivin! CD therefore has one piece written by my car and one piece written by/about my donkey. Wonder what else I can work in? Only have 2 more weeks to be creating & learning it, too!

Kathleen’s Lament

How hard can it really be to write a piano piece about a donkey?!! I mean really: he brays, he chuckles, he oozes personality, and if you doubt that, he’ll kick you. So it should be quite easy right?


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