Reunion

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About this score

When Thomas Bonte approached me on behalf of the MuseScore team about using one of my compositions as the new demo score for MuseScore, I was honored. Something of mine would show up every time a new user first started MuseScore! But I quickly realized that nothing I had already written would quite fit the bill. The MuseScore team had some pretty specific things they wanted this demo to entail. It was to be a fully notated piece for solo piano; a complete composition that would fit on one page but contain plenty of "bling", as they termed it. The idea was to show off the capabilities of MuseScore with respect to piano scores, taking advantage of as many features as possible. This included time signature changes, key signature changes, multiple voices on each staff, triplets, slurs, articulations, dynamics, tempo markings, and so forth. But I was supposed to take care that the result didn't look "messy". Oh, and while playback was not the most important consideration, it would help if it were "catchy" :-)

So I sat down one evening to see if I could take that list of requirements and somehow make music out of it. What you are looking at is what I came up with!

Some time soon I hope to put together an "annotated score" showing all the MuseScore features I took advantage of, so you can use it as a guide to how to create different types of notations. Meanwhile, though, I thought some of you might like to know a little more about the composition itself.

I don't have one fixed method of writing, but I often start by sitting at the piano and just playing around until something strikes my fancy, and then I go from there. I remember deciding to start with a pickup that involved sixteenths (semiquavers), to show of those features and to give the piece a rhythmic kick right from the start. The main theme fell out from under my fingers within a few minutes. I almost rejected it as being too simplistic (trite, even), and not as rhythmic as I was originally planning. But something told me to perserve and see what came of it. As it turns out, the basic ideas for the rest of the piece flowed out from there almost without thinking, so I felt I had no choice but to complete it.

When the piece first started taking shape, it already had the key change from F major to D major that you see now - I had planned for that from the beginning. But the time signature changes were grafted on as something of an afterthought. Despite that, I think the piece is actually better for them. The passage in bars 7-8 in particular felt awkward in 4/4, but seem perfect to me in 3/4. I should point out that the harmonizations in this passage, as with those in several other passages (like measures 3-4 and 9-10), are borrowed from jazz pianist Bill Evans. For that matter, the main melody itself is probably similar to any number of other simple melodies. As I said, I was concerned that the piece was too simplistic at first, but I think the added Evansisms help a lot. There other harmonic devices - like the Italian augmented sixth chord (for you theory students) at the end of measure 14 - that help increase interest as well. I also tried to use a few rhythmic touches like the syncopations in the accompaniment, although it is still not like what I originally set out to write in that respect.

As a demo, hopefully it succeeds in showing off what MuseScore can do. If my goal was to create something catchy in the sense of having an obvious "hook", I suppose I failed. But I do find the final result a whole lot more *beautiful* - to look at, to listen to, and to play - than I was at first expecting to end up with. And based on the comments I have received - both on musescore.com and when I have played this piece for others "live" - it seems people do appreciate its musical qualities. It's just ironic that this composition started out as a checklist of notational devices to use!

A list of the notable MuseScore features used in this demo:

- pickup measure
- tempo markings
- dynamic markings
- accidentals
- slurs
- double bars
- multiple voices (I used up to three per staff - see bars 7-8 in the top staff)
- courtesy accidentals, with and without parentheses
- manual adjustment of slur shapes, note and accidental positioning, etc (not usually necessary, but nice to have!)
- tempo changes
- time signature changes
- triplets
- arpeggios
- clef changes
- articulations (tenuto, accent, fermata)
- key signature changes
- crescendo & decrescendo/diminuendo, both using text and via "hairpins" (and I used a plugin to make these play back!)
- pedal markings
- note values down to 1/32 aka demisemiquaver
- small notes
- cross staff beaming
- octave markings
- text symbols

Genre: Contemporary
Format: Composition

Comments (42)

Edmodo's picture

I've never regretted updating my musescore.

ronaeg's picture

I agree with you. This post is truly inspiring. I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job. https://www.facebook.com/

Lilly.He's picture

Short but absolutely lovely!

shawnz's picture

like the fast motion

FrodoPiano's picture

These two measures are beautiful. The arpeggio mark is placed beautifully!

dshostakovich's picture

first time I ever heard a piece where the description was much longer than the pice itself. It is a great piece with alot of 'bling' and as pointed out is packed with all the things musescore wanted. Quite a challenge to do that and have the musicality it has. nice going.

PenAndCad's picture

Marc: I love REUNION!

Would you consider making a longer version of it that we could include in our live set? My pianist chum, Penny, really likes it as well: but it's a little short for a performance piece and because of all the lovely modulations, we can't just 'repeat THESE bars,' if you understand me?

We'd be honoured and delighted if you could spare a little time (and thought!) to do that for us. More power to your elbow, sir!

Cad Delworth ('earhole' bass player in Edinburgh, Scotland)

Marc Sabatella's picture

Thanks for the nice comments! If Penny can play from a lead sheet, I have just the thing for her: http://musescore.com/marcsabatella/scores/47000

As you can see, I went the exact same process of trying to fogure out how to lengthen the piece and make it a form that could be opened up for repeats. I think it works pretty well this way, too. See this video of a live performace I did a couple of months ago: http://youtu.be/cAUSRlrD-u0

Symphony2's picture

This piece is so popular it's been remixed: http://musescore.com/user/63551/scores/90493
And almost destroyed (in a good way!): http://musescore.com/user/35090/scores/52711

RANDOM E M H's picture

by the way i have 3 versions. They are the ones by: Random e m h (me)

RANDOM E M H's picture

Hi i'm jacob and i'm 13 I love your music and especialy reunion. I am only a beginner and i put some music up just search "random"

Nonolint's picture

I liked the Moussorgsky's promenade...But this one...Aww :) So spicy, definitely love it!
Great job, Sir ^^

Caking's picture

I love the tempo changes :D

EricBK's picture

I love this so much that whenever I go on Musescore I play it! There was a guy that wanted to know how to remove this so that he would not have to listen to it. I told him that he must be insane to do this and have no sense of musical appreciation. He didn't like what I said and I could really care less. It is a beautiful piece and a joy to listen to!

Marc Sabatella's picture

Thank you! But you can tell your friend: Edit / Preferences / General, toward the top left corner, you can set MuseScore to start empty, or with a blank score, or to continue your last session, or with a different default piece.

TromboRafi's picture

Beautiful Movement of Bass notes!

oregonviolinist's picture

How do you do multiple voices when some have different note values than others? (e.g. m. 7 where you have a dotted half and quarters at the same time in the treble staff)

Marc Sabatella's picture

See the section entitled "Voices" in the Handbook.

DIM's picture

Marc Sabatella is a great composer. Just like HC Andersen was a great storyteller. I mean it.

ELI977's picture

Love this part!

Marc Sabatella's picture

Interesting! I am familiar with the piece, having listened to it a lot when I was younger, but I've never learned or studied it. Checking it out again just now, it's actually a different modulation - up a major third as opposed to down a minor third. Or, more to the point, it is to a key four steps sharper on the circle of fifths, whereas mine is three. But the overall effect, includng the sound of the voicings going in and coming out does resemble the Brubeck. As I mention in the description, the voicings going in to the modulation were actually ripped off directly from Bill Evans ("My Bells"). The modulation itself is a semi-stamdard technique - re-interpreting the dominant (V7) in the original key as a backdoor dominant (bVII7) in the new key.

joeyvl's picture

Well, is it a bVII/VI, or a deceptive progression of V-VI (the VI then becomes I)? It is a very cool trick, I have got to add it to my limited jazz theory vocabulary. Very nice use of those passing chords to ease the transition, sounds much smoother than my modulations. Did you go to college for composition?

Marc Sabatella's picture

You could indeed think of it as a variation on a standard deceptive cadence V-vi, but a) that would normally go to a minor vi, not major VI, and b) that would not normally set up an actual modulation as it does here. But who's to say that this doesn't have *something* to do with why it sounds the way it does? These things do tend to work on multiple levels. BTW, yes, I have a Masters degree in composition, from the University of Denver.

joeyvl's picture

The modulation there sounds just like "Strange Meadow Lark" by Dave Brubeck. Have you heard it or were you inspired by it?

astroJR's picture

Very nice short piece, with a cool Evansesque touch. Thomas Bonte did well asking you to compose for Musescore!

joeyvl's picture

This is very nice. You are a great composer.

Marc Sabatella's picture

Tempo changes are done via Tempo Text (see Handbook entry for Tempo). It doesn't do gradual changes; I just picked a tempo that would feel right. For the crescendo and diminuendo I used a plugin - see the Plugins section of msuescore.org. Also the info in "About This Score" above for names of other features used, so you know what to look up in the manual.

JB's picture

How do you do those tempo changes like: rit. and the crescendo! I want that too!

Marc Sabatella's picture

Thanks for the kind words! So, about the length, and my comment before that I would be posting more: this piece was composed specifically to be used as the demo score for MuseScore, and there were a whole bunch of features we wanted it to have. One of which was, it should fit on one page :-). The "Description" of this piece now gives a bit more about of the background; I hope some of you find it interesting!

angelsguitar's picture

That was really, really beautiful! I too wish it was longer.

Rahul Gohil's picture

EPIC!! i have downloaded it as mp3, i listen to it every day,

cjbrandt's picture

I wish it were longer:)

Spuddboy2's picture

I love this!!

Spuddboy2's picture

Crazy cool/awesome

Marc Sabatella's picture

Thanks for the comments! I am planning on posting more about this piece soon, so stay tuned...

cjbrandt's picture

Excellent!

JanPau's picture

Très joli et très agréable à écouter avec une légèreté bien posée , bravo!

AlexMarisaRamos's picture

wonderful syncopation, absolutely lovely

GSarci's picture

nice!

JeremyTheViolinist's picture

Wow! I loved this. Awesome job!

Michael Pham's picture

That was lovely! I wouldn't consider it classical, more like modern with a hint of jazz. Love the syncopation! Excellent job!

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Videoscores

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2 years ago

Info

Uploaded Feb 18, 2012
Pages 1
Duration 0:45
Measures 23
Key signature 1 flat
Parts 1
Part names
  • Acoustic Grand Piano
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