Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Above is the sheet music for one of the pieces I submitted in honor of Impressionist classical music, called “Window on a Rainy Day”, which won the Core Scholar award at Columbia University. The other piece that won the award, in the Romantic style, is called “Seasons Pass”. Take a listen at the two pieces right here:
Can you tell which is which? Leave a comment below!
Here’s what I wrote about the two pieces for Core Scholars:
“Tonality is…a set of structural and syntactical procedures that emerged in Western music during the course of the seventeenth century…”, Susan McClary writes in Talking Politics During Bach Year. Yet, the definition of tonality is not important as how tonality has redefined and changed over time, particularly in times of great social and political upheaval.
At its core, throughout the 17th to the 19th centuries, tonality remained a deeply teleological process; tapping to our need for storytelling, and our need to feel. As humans, through music, we feel nostalgia and loss, pain and anger, and the tenderest joy. Even as tonality continually redefined itself, instrumental music has a way of bypassing our rational minds, evoking emotions that sometimes hits us with forceful primality, as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring does, or leaving us with a transient snapshot of somewhere we’ve never been but seems to understand, as Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun does.
“Seasons Pass”, in the Romantic style, is between past and future, constantly longing for a state of innocence that’s long bygone. In an ever-increasing age of industrialization and technology, I long to go back to the simpler times, when every corner of the world seemed to have something to offer me. I first introduce the theme with the harp, playing a theme of years gone by. The flutes take on the melody next, supported by strings, evoking a call to a nature I’ve never known. Finally, the piano plays the theme, an individual and final statement.
“Window on a Rainy Day” is based off the Impressionist style, designed to capture one fleeting moment of time, introducing a slightly higher level of dissonance that simply resides in the music. I chose to only use the piano, capturing a single moment of rain trickling down a window.
If you would like, please check out my Soundcloud page for more music, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more musical inquiries 🙂