C.30 to 32, 35, 43 and 51 - The "Melodies" (Book 2)

Composed: ~March 2013 to January 2014

     Hurrah – the highly anticipated* continuation of the Melodies idea in the style of Bach’s Inventions. This “Book 2” supposedly explores all of the major flat keys (ignoring C major as that was explored in "Book 1"). All of these ones were also written during my time at college and are also at the same moderato tempo of 100 beats per minute.

     The first of these was in F major and isn’t too terrible, aside from its extreme tonal shifts (if Taruskin's term, ‘Far Out Point’ can be used here, well, good luck trying to find the correct one!). Of course, with these melodies, I never played them myself, I simply wrote them into Sibelius which is a terrible way of composing (but the method I grew up with). Thus, I am very certain these are no fun to play at all.

     The second of these, in B-flat, is also not too shabby. It is rather pleasant and has a recurring motif to some degree, and it doesn’t venture too far from the tonic. But nonetheless, it is incredibly simple, but perhaps at least playable, which is a definite bonus!

     The third, in E-flat, appeared to start with a canon which actually worked. Of course, I seemed to have scrapped that idea as early as bar 4. Otherwise, it would have been surprising if I had continued this canon, but ultimately the piece again dissolves into blandness. Although, that rhythmic motif does persist in at least one voice in nearly every bar except for the end, which is at least something of sophistication, much to my shock!

     The fourth in D-flat, written some time after the first three, is actually rather pleasant with a surprisingly seamless transition from D-flat into F minor at the opening. The cheeky little chromatic passage in the beginning of bar 5 is mischievous, and I enjoy it for some reason - perhaps due to its whimsical sound. All in all, this one isn’t too bad (of course, it is still pretty terrible, but less terrible than other works).

     The fifth, and final “Melody” I would complete so far, is in D-flat and was written quite a while after the fourth, although still at college. This one unfortunately descends back into madness as per the others, with really bizarre tonal shifts which once more make no sense. Appoggiaturas do appear to be of importance. In a strange way, this little piece is essentially a miniscule sonata; staring with an exposition, a strange development, and ultimately concluding with the exposition material. Of course, this does not nearly qualify for sonata form, but I was surprised to find that I had referenced the opening material to conclude here.

     The sixth, which I have only just rediscovered and added here on the 14th October 2017, was unfinished in the key of G-flat. This was last edited in January 2014 - long after the fifth melody - and was never completed. It appears to contains elements of fugato in a style similar to Bach's Trio-sonatas, with the opening subject returning in the 2nd voice now transposed in the dominant. Unlike the other "Melodies", this one contains more traditional modulations (perhaps reflecting my greater grasp of the rules of counterpoint by that date), but should the piece have been completed, I am confident I would have modulated through several distant keys before the final cadence!

Reminiscence written on 4th June 2016

Last updated: 20th October 2018

*Anticipated by Bob from the local Tesco. Thanks Bob.

© 2019 Jonathan Shaw