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This piece originates as a suite of works I've been creating based on the poems of my late grandmother. The original poems were never published (to be honest, some were just awful) but I used them as a basis for a musical exploration.

'Life', written in the jolly key of Eb minor (every note's a flat) reflects an angst journey through an unfulfilled life. The bass ostinato repeats throughout, just as a heartbeat continues day in, day out until the end. The treble line defines the little experiences along the way.

Played through Finale, Aria player, on the Steinway Concert D Grand using the Small Chamber space ambience. I'd love to play it live but I can't get up to speed yet.

The score is available on Score Exchange, but you lucky folks can have a free one below just for the honour of hearing your thoughts on the matter.

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I don't know why for sure, but I kind of like this. I don't really feel qualified to say much. I also like to write repeating little melodies. I hope someone has better ideas for you.

Hi Graeme,

I like this very much. Your ostinato is fetching and is of interest throughout the whole piece. Varying the volume as you did was a good way to bring contrast to it, and is what made it work. The piece has a feeling of coming from an "old place," perhaps that's your grandmother coming through. The melody I almost felt was an accompaniment of sorts, at least in the places where it seems to punctuate and puncture through the tune. In other places (notably the soft ones), it seemed to be more of a melody. Overall the piece comes across as evoking a mood, and the driving rhythm is what makes it work for the length that it is.

Well done, and thanks for sharing!


Very kind words Gav and Darlene. Thank you.
As I wrote it, I kept trying to add variations to the bass line, but nothing worked. It just had to keep going.
I think I was listening to a lot of Philip Glass at the time. Probably had an influence.

I enjoyed the listen Graeme. This is modally pretty level. I'm not sure if "modally" is a word but I think you get my jist. I think this proves something doesn't need to be complicated to be good. I could hear an imaginary jazz sax in there. 

Thanks Tim. Feel free to add one if you feel the urge. (p.m. me if you want a Finale file.) Just make sure you put it on the thread if it happens. I'm intrigued. 

Thanks Graeme,

I tend to hear things other than what the original creator often likes in their music. I might make it worse in your eyes. I really appreciate your willingness. I would love to take a shot at it later. At the moment I'm crazy busy with Christmas music, my day job etc. Maybe around the first of the year when things die down some? 

Thanks for sharing this! 


I've listened to this a few times now. There's a lot of good interesting passages in it but also IMHO some weak passages as well. I'm not sure about the ostinato figure in the overall context of the piece - to my mind it's not very convincing and doesn't really suit what I think you are trying to achieve (although I should say at the 5th listen it seems to be growing on me).

The staccato passage from m37-41 sounds a bit rythmically/melodically pedestrian to me and not very convincing.

I liked the flury of 16th notes from m61 and would have liked the passage to have been longer and developed a bit more.

I would agree with Saul's point the the dynamics could be handled a bit better.

Overall a lot of good ideas - enjoyed listening to it.

Thanks, Colin

Thanks for the continued feedback. This is what it's all about here. How to learn and improve. You have kindly taken the time to not just listen, but to analyse the score and recognise its construction.
I have a follow up piece in mind which, rather than a rewrite, will take your thoughts and expand on them. Given that I wrote Life nearly a year ago, and it was the first piano work I'd done, I'm glad it still holds up for many of us.
The next piece will aim for the same 'drive' but will (hopefully) have the variance which will appeal to the larger audience.
Timothy, I'll get in touch in the new year. I'm up to my eyes in it as well.

I enjoyed this very much especially right before the 2 minute mark. GREAT job!

My only comments would be about the dynamics, which was mentioned before--when its gets louder it seems just a little bit too loud.

In pieces like this having the ostinato drop out for a short while near the end of the piece, only to come back, reinvigorated usually works.. also moving it to the upper voices and developed, possibly as chords...even transposed a small section of the piece...all work.

But your piece works very well just as it is, and thanks so much for sharing. I enjoyed listening to it very much!

Thanks Bob

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