Assignment 3

The task for this assignment was to arrange a piece of my choice for an instrumental choir. As I chose a jazzy piece “Misty”, for the last assignment, I chose a Classical piece this time. I am currently learning several pieces for piano, and I thought that one of them, Chopin’s Waltz Op. 69, No. 2, would be a great piece to rearrange. From all my Listening Entries I felt most inspired by the warmth of the trombones in Susan Mutter’s Ages and the technical variety of the flutes in The sound of music – medley. I chose the trombones nonetheless, due to their fuller, richer sound.

The piece, originally written for piano, it consists of three different parts and overall has a really memorable melody. There are several repetitions included included, yet never seems to be monotonous due to the small alterations made for both hands. The structure of the instroduced themes is the following: A – B – A – B – A – C – A. The in the first part presented smooth, but emotional melody, often moves in chromatic steps. With a similar beginning in bars 1, 3 and 5 but always a higher ending, the melody builds a certain tension which is only solved in bar 8, where the music is moving down again.

It is also noticeable in the picture above, that Chopin mostly used the same form of accompaniment for the left hand. The single bass note with two following chords is an often used pattern for waltzes, and Chopin used it continuously throughout all three parts of the piece (with a few exceptions). As the chords are mainly played in the middle range of the piano, they don’t sound too compressed. Part B is cheerier as it switches to the relative key d – major. The second A – part involves a few more chromatic scales than the first, especially when the melodic line is descending.

For Part C, Chopin changes the key signature from b – minor to b – major. Unlike part B, there is no completely new melody used, but rather a strongly alternated major version of part A. The most impact on one note is probably at the beginning of the last part A, as part C slowly builds up tension peaking with Sept – chords at the end.

Overall, this piece is, in my personal opinion, really enjoyable to listen to and lovely to play. I think that the amount of pedaling used as well as delays in tempo are some of the great features Chopin often used to create a more unusual, yet pleasant sound.

Originally, I wanted to rearrange the piece for woodwinds, as I felt really inspired by the full sound of the “Sound of music – Medley” (Listening Log). Nonetheless, as this whole chapter revolves more about brass instrument and I already wrote the last Assignment for woodwinds, I decided to start writing with trombones. My choice was initially on them, as I noticed the wide range of technical abilities and difficult characters they can create, listening to a few pieces featuring trombones. In the end I changed the instruments to trumpets nonetheless, as their brighter sound seemed less crowded, brighter and more suitable for the piece in general.

As mentioned above, the piece has many repetitions. Thus, I initially thought of skipping a few parts, but chose to rewrite it in full length to be able to vary the melody and accompaniment several times. Some of those variations are the following:

  • Tenuto notes in the bass to imitate the pedal notes of the piano
  • Doubled octaved melody, for example in bar 28, to make it sound more heroic and put more emphazise on it.
  • First bass trumpet gets to play the melody b.32 – 40
  • Slightly change of accompaniment in second part B.
  • Solo trumpet of chromatic movement in bar 79
  • The use of other playing techniques such as flutter tonguing, vibrato, staccato and tenuto

Critical Review:

For my Critical Review I chose the first of the three options: Ravels Bolero

For the review I’m aiming to create a detailed analysis of Ravels Bolero including the effect of each new instrumental lair, why he chose to write it (historical background), which impact it had on future composers and their compositions and why. In addition to the “normal recourses” I use (OCA – library, Web), will try to find audio examples for the analysis and maybe some additional information from my local library.

Overall, I will try to answer the following Research Questions:

  • What was the composer trying to achieve with the composition?
  • Where did the idea of writing the Bolero come from?
  • Which impact does each added instrument have on the composition, how exactly is this new effect achieved? (Analysis)
  • Are there later works which have had a strong influence of Ravel’s Bolero?
  • Which impression did the Bolero have to the audience at the time it was created? Has this changed since then?