Bach chorales from Boyd and Riemenscheider, COMPOSITION PRACTICE, Uncategorized

Another Bach chorale harmonised this time in competition with a computer

Wer nur den lieben Gott laesst walten

Riemenschnieder 62

My working based on just the soprano line:

PDF file


WAV file generated by Sibelius

This compares with a recent ‘DeepBach’ machine harmonisation given in the paper:

and a different, better example from the same tool in this video:


The DeepBach tool does not check for parallels but is quite impressive.


MY COMPOSITIONS, Op 1 A Carol for 2016, Uncategorized

A Carol for 2016

This is my first ‘published’ piece since finishing the coursework and assignments for the OCA Course Music Composition, module 1

Here is a carol for one female and two male voices and piano.  Ideally voices are soprano, high baritone (or low tenor) and bass.  In keeping with the events of 2016 so far it’s rather sombre and agnostic.

Following initial feedback that some would be so dissonant to be hard to sing, I have modified bars 5 and 6 to the version shown here and made just the piano part keep the harsh discords.  The rhythm of the ending is slightly different and there is now a three-quarters flat where previously I had written a single-quarter-flat in error.


Large print


Smaller print fits on two page spread


Audio recording  from Sibelius, hence no words

If anyone wants to perform this please just let me know; I would welcome constructive feedback

Bach Brandenburg 3 slow movement, MY ARRANGEMENTS, Uncategorized

An Adagio for Bach Brandenburg 3 from Suscepit Israel in his Magnificat

It’s always been a problem knowing what to play in this Adagio.  It ends on a B major chord, the dominant of E minor

One of my favourite movements in Bach is Suscepit Israel from his Magnificat, which ends on the same chord  Conveniently, this has three solo high voices so I have used the choirs of first three violins and then three violas.  Instruments not otherwise playing take, mostly in solo pairs, the cantus firmus line originally written for a pair of oboes.  Bach’s original had no violone so I have doubled sparingly for double bass.  It did indicate an organ, with no figuration, so if one is available this can play the cello solo line, and ideally on a separate double reed, manual, join the cantus firmus.  Organ and bass are optional in this arrangement but double bass will be needed for most performances of Brandenburg 3.

The last two bars are almost exactly as in the Bach M/S, with a small solo viola 1 cadenza which links the first theme of this Adagio with the subsequent fast movement in G major.

Please credit me (Andrew Chadwick) and let me know if you use it.  I have the Sibelius original in case bowings and cues need to be added

Apparently the cantus firmus is the ‘tonus peregrinus’ historically associated with Pasalm 113 the Magnificat and used by Praetorius and others.  It does not fit the standard eight church modes and so is sometimes also known as the ‘ninth mode’ In performance of my transcription, the idea is that it should not be obvious to the audience where in the ensemble this line is coming from, so smooth handovers between the parts will be needed.  Webern’s Passacaglia used a similar technique.

Audio file generated by Sibelius version 6


Score and all parts




Order of parts in this combined file Violins 1-3, Violas 1-3, Celli 1-3, Bass, Organ

Bach chorales from Boyd and Riemenscheider, COMPOSITION PRACTICE, Uncategorized

Boyd Bach chorale composition exercise 2, Herr Jesu Christ du hochstes Gut (Reimenschneider 266)

As set (this time using short score):


As attempted, not idomatic and with octave parallels weakly avoided by suspensions


Last note for alto should probably be B flat to supply a third to the tonic chord

As written by Bach but note crossings twice of tenor and supplied bassparts!




Bach chorales from Boyd and Riemenscheider, COMPOSITION PRACTICE, Uncategorized

Boyd Bach chorale completion exercise 1

The first of a set of 25 chorale completion exercises.

The chord notation is just Sibelius trying to work out crotchet by crotchet what the harmony is, not always successfully with passing notes present

As set:

Boyd Chorale Exercises 1 Reimenschneider 9 Ermuntre dich as set – Full Score

As worked (score and audio)

Boyd Chorale Exercises 1 Bach 9 Ermuntre dich workedsib – Full Score


As written by J S Bach (score and audio)


Boyd Chorale Exercises 1 Bach 9 Ermuntre dich as written mutated – Full Score



ASSIGNMENT 5, Uncategorized

Sonatina Rondo on the Flying Dutchman

This three-minute piece for oboe and keyboard was written to satisfy the requirement for Assignment 5 of Module 1 of the OCA Music Composition module 1.

The requirement was to use at least three times a cycle of chords involving chords I, II,IV or VI, V and then I or use of a deceptive cadence.  With this quite conventional brief I have stuck to a diatonic idiom initially in ‘baroque’ style with use of a few passing chromatic notes, and then a more romantic figuration in the central section.

I have left in the score some of the harmonic workings.  Essentially, the main theme, starting in Bb major, fits the required template but then modulates to the relative G minor, and then via mode mixture a perfect cadence into C major, where the main ‘rondo’ theme repeats.  This modulation, upwards by a tone over ten bars, provides a key to structure: the sonatina form  has a recapitulation at bar 73 which needed to start in Ab major, modulating back to Bb at the close.  This means there are four statements overall of the ‘rondo’ each in a different key.

Bars 21 and 22 provide some variation of the rondo with the first explicit statement, in E major, of a theme from Wagner’s ‘Flying Dutchman’.

As this is a sonatina not a sonata allegro, the Development section is unconventional providing contrast within an overall AABBAA form.  Linking exposition and recapitulation requires continuing modulation up through the cycle of keys during the development.

By bars 30/31 we are in F# major and after augmentation in bars 32-24 of part of the rondo theme, we enter a contrasting middle passage.  This keeps the same tempo in terms of bar duration but introduces a gentler compound time movement, six crotchets to the bar with enharmonic change to Gb then Cb major for statements of Senta’s ‘redemption’ theme from Flying Dutchman.

I have provided my own harmonisations around this and explored the possibilities of piano figuration in the solo passage bars 52-64.  Bars 65-72 mark a transition with more ominous trills and a reveille’ distant ‘posthorn’ sound from the oboe, announcing first the main Dutchman theme and then linking back to my own Rondo theme, ending confidently and then with a throw-away chromatic C sharp in the final cadence, hinting at the possibility of D minor.

This is the first time I have written for piano and the score provides some possible execution but the piece could be played in many different ways.  The full range of the modern oboe is used with an optional ossia and octave down for the highest passage.

Audio file generated by Sibelius


Oboe part:

Flying dutchman oboe sonata complete – Oboe


Score and piano part:

Flying dutchman oboe sonata complete – Full Score

ASSIGNMENT 4, Uncategorized

Continental Divides 3’0”

This is assignment 4 of the OCA Composing Music module 1: free counterpoint for two instruments and optional untuned percussion

I took the liberty of the untuned percussion being a single bell tuned to G

The whole piece is founded on mirrors about this note G, both strict inversion about this note and the use of scales in the octave above and below this note that are symmetrical (e.g. double harmonic minor in homage to Bartok and Hungary, but also whole tone scales a la Francais, and increasingly explicit references to Beethoven Op 133).  The piece can be seen as referencing ‘continental drift’ through this fissure about G, or more sadly, the increasing fissures about and within Europe.

I used the alto flute liking its tone which I think will better balance the marimba than would a normal flute.  This transposes down a perfect fourth.  A pdf of a score follows and also some separate transposing parts, not at this point optimally laid out:

Continental divide g – Score and parts

The Sibelius audio file is not perfect as it cannot represent the full practical range of the alto flute nor is it honouring all damping of the bell:

Some analysis:


1-3      Inversion and statement of main subject simultaneously (double harmonic minor)

4-5       Restatement in alto flute alone with added octave displacement and alternation of theme across the two pitch levels

7-9       Countersubject (whole tone scales converging on the centre of the octave above G).  Marimba extracts second bar of subject in augmentation

10-12   Chromatic inversion of subject about G in flute; marimba starts free counterpoint at bar 11.

12-19  Diminution, augmentation and inversion of the motif stated in flute at bar 16 which is drawn from the inverted countersubject centre of first beat  bar 11, omitting lowest note

20-21 Third statement of countersubject, this time centred on and converging on G

22-23 Start of B section introduces the ‘Grosse Fuge’ countersubject and its inversion around G

24-25 Combination of this theme with chromatic permutation of the motif from bar 12

26-32 Episode with ‘stretto’ treatment

33-36 Combination of material from this episode with permuted version of the Grosse Fugue (countersubject) theme diminished or augmented

37-38 Compressed variant of call to attention as repeat of A section, but this time inverted

39-56 Chromatic inversion of section A in the alto flute part only ; marimba part strictly repeated (bars 3-21).  Since bars 7,8 and 10,11 were themselves inversions these phrases now appear in reversed order and bar 20 inverted in bar 55 converges on the same note G, decorated with a ‘flourish’ in the flute leading into section C:

57-61.  A free treatment of the ‘Grosse Fugue’ motif from bar 22, with triplet accompaniment in marimba also inspired by the Beethoven but much more chromatic.  The various inverted forms die away, with alto flute using flutter tonguing.

63-73  Progressive intensification of chromatic triplet material

74   Final statement of the Beethoven motif in the flute, fff

75-77 Coda, flute picking from the two mirror forms of the main subject to state a final major cadence