Friday, November 8, 2013

A Composition Project: Duets Part 2

As you may know, I am working on completing three piano duets by the end of November.  I got the idea for my second duet as I was exploring the website of Canadian composer and teacher Rebekah Maxner.  I was ordering a fantastic new book from her called Madge's Notebook- A Piano Tribute to The Hunger Games and while exploring the site came across a duet called Jolly Pachelbel.   In this duet the teacher plays Pachelbel's Canon while the student plays Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.  It's a really cool arrangement!
So this got me thinking, what other pieces could you put together in duet form in a sort of mash-up style?  I decided to try two well known (and well loved!) melodies: Greensleeves, a traditional English folk song, and She's Like the Swallow, a traditional Canadian song from Newfoundland.

I started by writing out each melody separately in the same key and time signature, with the same number of bars.  Then I tried playing them at the same time.  The result?  Not bad...I just needed to tweak one or two harmonies...and they actually sounded pretty interesting played together.  I also decided that the Secondo (bass) part sounded best playing the Greensleeves melody and the Primo (treble) part sounded best playing She's Like the Swallow.  Canonic entries did not work on this duet, but I still think the end result is something different and gives a new twist on these old songs.  Take a listen and see what you think!  Again, this is a Grade 1/2 level duet.
~ Jennifer

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