Original Composition: The Painting

Original Composition: The Painting

1 part2 pages02:043 years ago1,101 views
A quick "turn a word into a composition" piece. The seed word used here is "painting"--B-A-B-G-F-B-G-G

Note: made minor changes to notes that I had incorrectly put in while transcribing. Just measures one and two, and all measures like 7. Also added one measure at the end to round the piece out.

The piece is dedicated to Gerry Busch, from whom I gathered the idea of the recurring pattern bassline and the overall structure.

Breur Piano Sonata No. 1, Movement 1

1 part4 pages02:295 years ago628 views
This work was inspired by my friend Curtis Jerome Buckey (pron. "buck eye"), who still inspires me to this day. The piece was influenced by the music of a a jazz dance performance in which Curtis was participating at the time. It is pretty far outside my usual compositional style, and was very much a WORK of composition, although it is a piece I'm very proud of. The middle section should be performed very expressively, so a real understanding of how that seemingly boring section can sound will have to wait for a video score.

Breur Piano Sonata No. 1, Movement 2

1 part2 pages02:185 years ago371 views
This is the second movement of what I consider my first piano sonata. The whole work is short enough that it might be just a sonatina, but I'm up for suggestions. I'll get the first and third sections up next.

Breur Piano Sonata No. 1, Movement 3

1 part4 pages02:215 years ago522 views
The idea behind the mood of this section was originally a "unicorn hunt" -- something adventurous and majestic and thrilling (with the unicorn getting away). The performance requires alternating chords between the hands. (I'll work on the notation more to make this clear.) Again, a video score is needed to get the performance across.
Lullaby for Marquishia

Lullaby for Marquishia

1 part1 page00:476 years ago1,017 views
This piece was my reaction to the story of a little girl named Marquishia whose life was too short and tragic. I think she deserved more than her fate, and wrote this lullaby to sooth my own grief after following the developing story in the news, as it happened.

"... Lloyd and Toombs told Culver City police Sept. 22, 1992, that Marquishia had disappeared during a shopping trip at the Fox Hills Mall. In the days that followed, Toombs appeared on television to ask help in finding the missing girl.

"When police summoned Lloyd and Toombs to the Culver City station for further questioning Sept. 28, the women admitted that the first story was a fabrication. They said that Marquishia had drowned accidentally in a bathtub at Toombs' home in Ontario.

"The women told police they panicked after the girl died and Lloyd dumped Marquishia's body beside a lonely stretch of road in the Lucerne Valley. Lloyd directed police to where the body was found and both women were placed under arrest. At that time, Lloyd was booked on suspicion of murder and Toombs was booked on suspicion of being an accessory to the crime."

Kiwi Theme

1 part1 page00:176 years ago556 views
This tiny composition was the inspiration for Kiwi Rag. It has many of the elements of my early works, including the half-step-up 5th and 10th in the accompaniment, changing keys—and noticeable optimism!
Ragtime #3: George Takei Rag

Ragtime #3: George Takei Rag

1 part4 pages03:475 years ago31,557 views
Happy birthday, George Takei! I've been working on this composition for about three months now and am pretty sure it's complete. (VIDEO SCORE TO THE RIGHT, made with the MuseScore MP3 of this piece. "Made Easy" arrangement at http://musescore.com/arthurbreur/george-takei-rag-made-easy.)

This piece is composed off the letters of George Takei's name (just continuing the additional letters of the alphabet up the scale after A-G), and from patterns created by other words and names from George's life. (I've marked out where the notes are derived directly from his name in the first melody.)

Section by section:

The first section is composed off of the letters of George Takei's name, and is intentionally upbeat and optimistic. The theme is intended to represent his youth, his early family life, and his overall personality. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Takei by phone once a few years ago, and it was a delight speaking to him.

The second section represents the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It is a sad part of America's history, and George Takei has made it part of his life to bring awareness to a time when America didn't behave so beautifully. The section is composed in a minor key, reflects the melodies of songs of Americana, and is intentionally composed so the melody and the accompaniment are not lined up, as the situation at the time was not in alignment with our country's principles.

The third section is all about Hollywood. The melody plays on the many celebratory melodies about Hollywood and show business, right up to the "big finish" cadences that lead the section into...

The fourth section comes as a surprise and suddenly turns a corner into very different places than the earlier sections, while intentionally keeping rhythms and references to other moments in the piece. The melody (if I do say so myself) is classy and sophisticated, even "cool"—the proud protagonist has found his stride, and it's more than just OK to be Takei.
A Shpadoinkle Rag

A Shpadoinkle Rag

1 part2 pages01:025 years ago1,750 views
I composed this darling little piece as a challenge from a friend who asked if I could compose a ragtime variation of the song "Shpadoinkle Day" from "Cannibal! The Musical"—and I thought I was up to the task. It is definitely a derivative composition, and is intended to be. It uses techniques and touches from a number of other ragtimes (including my own), but I think it melds them together in a very fun and pleasing way.

And for Sepehr, Giuseppe, Tata, and others who may wonder at the term "shpadoinkle": it is completely a made up word, created by Trey Parker as filler word in his song lyrics until he thought of a better word to replace it—which, apparently, he never did:

an exclamation: a word to express emotion
adj: to declare something good, bad, or otherwise
"It's a shpadoinkle day!"
"SHPADOINKLE! I think I broke my leg."

This piece only took me a couple of hours to compose, once I finally got past a lot of writer's block. After I decided to make it almost a parody of a ragtime piece—to make it a little "over the top"—I suddenly had the feel that I wanted and was able to give the piece its own personality and flair without doing too much damage to the ragtime genre.

I hope you agree and I hope you enjoy it!
The Incubus, Variation No. 1, “Etude” (Piano Solo)

The Incubus, Variation No. 1, “Etude” (Piano Solo)

1 part4 pages00:585 years ago1,605 views
The original "Incubus" theme, plus the rising theme that led to the Incubus variations.

A fun aside:
I went on a tour of the Queen Mary with my family years ago. At the end of the tour we arrived at the lobby by the piano that had been in the ship's crew's lounge during its operation. The tour guide--who happened to be the ship's historian--recited a long list of the very famous performers who had performed at that piano, performing for the crew after the main shows had been completed. He then asked if there was anybody in the tour group who could play piano and would like to play this one. I raised my hand, and the group, to their surprise (and to an eventual round of applause), heard me perform this piece.

The Incubus, Variation No. 2: "Go to the Light" (Piano Solo)

1 part2 pages01:115 years ago531 views
I realized long after composing the main melody in this piece that it was very much the same line as I had used in another (completely different) piece (alternately titled "The Incubus" or my "Etude No. 1"). My inclination is to turn them into a long "rhapsody" type of piece, eventually. For now, I will just consider them variations. (And yes, for those of you who heard this piece as I was developing it, the chord progression of the middle section of the piece WAS, in fact, inspired by "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly.")


1 part2 pages02:086 years ago912 views
One of my earlier pieces, displaying the fascination I had with the major 7th at that time. Note: I have large hands, and can play the 10ths and 11ths as written. For players with 'normal' hands, the left-hand chords with the 10ths would be fine with just octaves; the notes in the four descending chords in measures 27 and 28 could be played as alternating quarter notes, rather than played together. (This is the straight-up MuseScore score, without any performance elements added.)
Romeo and Juliet (Piano Solo)

Romeo and Juliet (Piano Solo)

1 part2 pages02:085 years ago18,574 views
This is the piano solo version of the theme I composed as incidental music for a theatrical performance of Romeo and Juliet my senior year at Millikin University. The melody was inspired by the words "Romeo, oh, Romeo! Wherefore art thou "Romeo?" On this one, I intentionally used the major 6th opening interval from a number of John Williams' love themes, and used chord progressions inspired by Stephen Foster.
Love Too Soon, Love Too Late (Piano Solo)

Love Too Soon, Love Too Late (Piano Solo)

1 part1 page01:285 years ago1,098 views
This piece was one of the first pieces I composed after college, and is highly influenced by Danny Elfman. This piece was composed for my friend Steve McQuiston. (Be sure to listen to the arrangement in the video score to the right!)
Francine's Theme

Francine's Theme

1 part3 pages02:206 years ago990 views
This is a rough transcription of a theme I composed for a friend in high school. It includes references to "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "I'm in the Mood for Love". There are other references in there, but I've forgotten what they are since then.

Untitled (and nearly forgotten! original piano solo)

1 part2 pages01:075 years ago1,131 views
I have not heard nor even thought of this piece for probably sixteen years. I found an old sequence with the first part of it, and suddenly the whole thing came rushing back to me. I ran to the piano and sat down to play it, and could nearly play it all the way through from memory. It's what someone with amnesia must feel when they suddenly remember something about themselves. I remember the piece now, but it has been completely missing from my mind for years.

This is probably the second piece I ever composed. Realizing that, I'm pretty surprised at how pretty a piece this is. There's a little bit more to it, and I can't completely remember exactly how I ended it. Also, unlike just about every other piece I've composed, I have no recollection of ever naming this piece, so currently it will remain "Untitled".

Mia - Original Piano Solo

1 part2 pages02:095 years ago2,326 views
Mia: Thank you for warming our laps and our hearts for ten wonderful years. You were the prettiest cat at the Tampa Humane Society, and you were the sweetest pet anyone could ever wish for. No more hurting, no more fear.

Mia: 2002(?)-2013

This piece is a little bit theme, a little bit song, and a little bit requiem.

While I'm a little embarrassed by how emotional I've been over the loss of a pet, I also recognize how close we become to our animals, and how we both invest and are rewarded with love and emotion because of having them.

This was composed in an effort to try to get my emotions out during a sad but necessary time, and to create a memorial for a beloved pet. At first I fretted (no pun intended) over the ridiculously simple chord progression and repetitive melody—until I realized that my emotions were likewise stuck in a simple, repetitive loop, rehashing again and again our sadness and loss. I find myself humming the melody as a representation of my feelings, repeating it far more often that it would be played in a single performance of the piece... that makes me think I got it right.

How High You'll Fly (Piano Solo Version)

1 part3 pages02:395 years ago2,226 views
This song (outside of my usual style) started as an exercise in how long I could stay in a key without resolving to the tonic, sustaining the tension through the verses and finally resolving to the tonic at the chorus. I started composing it probably 15 or 16 years ago or more, and have finally decided that I've sustained THAT tension far too long and the song needs to be completed. This is my piano arrangement of the song, and will hopefully be followed with a full song sheet, once I have the lyrics figured out. I was inspired by the message in "Brave" by Sara Bareilles, and I've always felt that the lyrics of this song would be inspirational and motivational, so that is my goal for the lyrics. I'm also inspired by the arrangement of "Brave", and hope to come up with something respectable in the full arrangement.
Kelly Morse Theme

Kelly Morse Theme

1 part1 page00:466 years ago764 views
In college, Kelly Morse knew that I often created melodies by using the letters of a person's name (continuing the letters of the alphabet up the scale past the letter "g"), and he asked me to play the theme that would be created by using the letters of HIS name; at the time, I was a bit stumped to make it sound interesting: d-e-e-e-d-f-a-d-e-e

Years later, he reminded me that he'd been disappointed that his name didn't make for a good melody -- and I decided that I had to be a good enough composer to make it work.

Here is the result.


2 parts1 page01:046 years ago427 views
Handbell piece composed during a trip to Denver, Colorado, inspired by the turning of the aspen leaves in fall.


1 part2 pages01:096 years ago1,766 views
An interlude composed by request for a Jewish wedding; elements influenced by "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof.


1 part1 page00:326 years ago943 views
A piece composed as an interlude for a wedding. The melodies and harmonies are mostly built using the letters from a variety of words, including the couple's names. This sheet music now has the tempo corrected and additional performance notation.

Michael Sbabo Theme

1 part1 page00:216 years ago266 views
Another melody written on the letters of a name, this time "Michael Sbabo"—though in this case with specific changes to the exact notes that would have been dictated by the letters of the name in order to make the melody more pleasing. Eventually I hope to do more with this melody, but this is the basic theme.

Parade of the Spirits (IN PROGRESS)

1 part2 pages01:046 years ago487 views
A melody I started a long time ago, with a short sequenced orchestral arrangement. It sat, gathering dust, until just in the past year or so I started working on it again; this is about half of the current composition as a piano solo; I'll add some more shortly. I wanted to play with using a whole-tone scale, and had trouble using the whole tone scale for the an entire melody. I kept wanting the tonal resolution that's not provided by that modality, so I opted to use it as an element only.

Seth Chaban March (Piano Solo)

1 part2 pages01:036 years ago397 views
I composed this for my nephew, writing his first and last names into the piece. It's part of a suite, including a march and a lament. This part was intentionally composed in the style of the marches of John Williams from the 1970s and early 1980s: repetitive rhythm used as a theme, extensive use of 7ths with the chord structure, and a counter theme that starts with a single upward whole step.

The piano solos WILL be followed by an orchestral or band arrangement.

Seth Chaban Waltz (Piano Solo)

1 part2 pages01:256 years ago423 views
Composed for my nephew using the letters of his name. (SETH = EEFA). This is the piano solo arrangement of the waltz as a standalone piece, though I will be arranging it in an overture format, with the Seth Chaban March and a third piece composed to his name in a minor key.

Hootenanny (Original Composition)

1 part1 page01:025 years ago890 views
Another quick piece pulled from a recorded improvisation. I can't say it too many times: if you improvise, RECORD YOURSELF! You'll be happy you did when you come back and listen months or years later. As to the title, this just felt like a party, and seemed like it maybe had a bit of Scottish flavor.

One (Sketch for Piano)

1 part1 page00:595 years ago590 views
This is a melody I composed a long time ago and recently decided to revisit. The sketch here is just the basic melody and chord progression, put down on paper so I have something to start with for development and further composition. (The "sketchiest" bit is the ending, which is — and very much FEELS — "tacked on" so that the melody isn't just left hanging for now.)

Interestingly, this uses the same starting notes as Rachmaninoff's famous variation on Paganini, but that was coincidental; I created the melody off of the letters of a name, as I often do, and immediately noticed the matching pattern. I composed the melody with the idea of using exactly the same melody with different tempos; there is a synthesized orchestral arrangement of the melody as a fanfare, which may be posted soon too, if I feel ambitious enough to transcribe and adjust it for real instruments.

Note: See Gerry Busch's guitar arrangement of this piece here: http://musescore.com/gbusch/arr-of-a-piano-sketch-by-arthur-breur

Seth Chaban Theme (Piano Solo)

1 part2 pages01:286 years ago349 views
The original melody I created using the letters of my nephew's name. I also tried to get a bit of modal feeling into it, aiming for reference to his Jewish heritage.

Incubus Variation No. 3

1 part1 page00:484 years ago396 views
I've been a bit lax on the composing front recently, so I decided to take on the quick exercise of creating a new variation on my "Incubus" melody. This is as close to a straight-up inversion of the melody as I could manage. This is just a draft, probably, for a longer piece.

Sedigh No. 2 - In Motion (draft 2 - Original Composition)

1 part2 pages02:034 years ago283 views
Finished piece at https://musescore.com/arthurbreur/sky-in-motion

This has strayed from the first piece I did in what I was planning to be a set. Sedigh No. 1 is very much in a "song" format, and is very "American Songbook" in its feel. This piece feels more likely to end up in a "movie score" format of a few themes leading one to the next, each with a different feel (for a different character or setting in a film). We'll see. I'm happy how much this is building on the "S-E-P-E-H-R" theme. Pardon the still-unfinished form.

Sedigh No. 2 - In Motion (for Sepehr Keyhani, draft 3 - Original Composition)

1 part4 pages04:184 years ago398 views
Finished piece at https://musescore.com/arthurbreur/sky-in-motion

In a fairly "movie score end credits" A-B-B-A arrangement, I finally have this piece to where it feels nearly complete to me. (This piece is VERY dependent on the pianist's performance, particularly in the B section due to the nearly minimalist accompaniment; midi performance will sound very flat and monotonous.)

I know I'll be adjusting the accompaniment and adding flourishes (the starkness of the arrangement of the B theme is begging for ornamentation), but at least I now feel that this piece has both arc and growth. I'm also very much enjoying how much I managed to get the S-E-P-E-H-R theme (musically E-E-B-E-A-D) woven into various parts of the piece. I'll be premiering it on September 21st 2014, and hopefully a video score will come from that performance.

Spy Theme 1 (Original Composition)

1 part1 page01:434 years ago1,345 views
A quick afternoon composition of a James Bond-inspired theme, with some very iconic and intentional John Barry cadences. Thoughts?

Slight revisions added, and this will be the final version in this form. (Revisions were: Triplets added at Zach Robinson's [aka EvilPie's] suggestion, other minor edits to bits I felt needed polishing.)

Zach: the triplets really filled in the "John Barry" sound; great suggestion, good ear!

Original version here: http://musescore.com/arthurbreur/spy-theme-1-original-composition-original-version

The Seventeen-and-a-Halfth Variation, 1st Draft

1 part3 pages01:193 years ago305 views
Subtitled "(Something like what might have been left crumpled in an old Russian dustbin…)" this variation on a variation is a self-imposed exercise to prove that the same notes, in the same order, can still become a new melody. I may come back and create a bridge to separate the two repeats of the A1-A2 melodies, and I may fill in the chords more on the second repeat, but I was excited to share. I have no illusions about the brilliance of the 18th Variation and how this melody pales by comparison, which is why I titled it — and subtitled it — as if it were a throwaway, half-formed idea, prior to the inspiration for a better final masterpiece. On the other hand, the piece is beautiful and worthwhile in its own way.

The Seventeen-and-a-Halfth Variation, 2nd Draft

1 part1 page01:193 years ago407 views
A step away from the original draft in that the suspended off-beat notes are now separated, and the "vamp" at the beginning is slightly updated. It is pretty remarkable the difference removing the suspension makes, particularly when the full chords are added— though I'm tempted to bring back some of the suspensions if this becomes more than what it is now.

Original Notes from 1st Draft:

Subtitled "(Something like what might have been left crumpled in an old Russian dustbin…)" this variation on a variation is a self-imposed exercise to prove that the same notes, in the same order, can still become a new melody. I may come back and create a bridge to separate the two repeats of the A1-A2 melodies, and I may fill in the chords more on the second repeat, but I was excited to share. I have no illusions about the brilliance of the 18th Variation and how this melody pales by comparison, which is why I titled it — and subtitled it — as if it were a throwaway, half-formed idea, prior to the inspiration for a better final masterpiece. On the other hand, the piece is beautiful and worthwhile in its own way.
Sky in Motion

Sky in Motion

1 part6 pages04:104 years ago2,579 views
Ok, so this is my "final" version of this piece composed for and dedicated to Sepehr Keyhani (https://musescore.com/keyhani). I added "Sky" to the title because someone told me that "Sepehr" means "Sky", so it seemed appropriate. (If the translation is incorrect, that's just tough: this is the name of the piece now!) The feel is very movie score, and once I knew that the piece was going to have that feel, I ran with it--even "finishing" the composition by adding a solo intro line that (in a movie) would be played over the last two clever spoken lines from the two protagonists. Note: The "S-E-P-E-H-R" motif appears 42 times in the piece, not including partial or modified appearances.
I Love You - Original Piano Solo

I Love You - Original Piano Solo

1 part2 pages01:455 years ago3,208 views
A piece of music I composed in high school in response to my very first crush.

Note Jan. 20, 2014: There is an alto saxophone duet arrangement by Josh Thompson available.

Triumphance (Piano Solo)

1 part4 pages02:155 years ago991 views
The original piano solo arrangement of my composition Triumphance, a triumphal march. A little bit John Williams, a little bit Stu Phillips, this piece is suited to and intended for 10-part brass, concert band, or full orchestra.

Remembering Zayne - Original Solo Piano Composition

1 part2 pages02:582 years ago1,958 views
Here is the piece I composed for the family and friends of Zayne Shomler, December 14, 1998 - February 8, 2016.

Prior to performing the piece, I spoke to the assembled mourners with the following prepared text:

It does no disservice to laugh or smile — or, yes, to cry — when remembering Zayne. He is a part of your life and always will remain so. You carry him into your future with you.

Likewise, it does him no service to unjustly obsess over things that are now unchangeable. Things said that cannot be unsaid. Things done that cannot be undone. Things not done that you feel you should have done. It does not serve Zayne or anyone to beat yourself up over such things, because then you just carry pain and sadness into your future with you, when you could be carrying —and sharing—the joy, the love, and the lessons you learned from having Zayne in your life for the time that you did.

All that you can do is what you can do now. Let those who are here now know that you love them and you are here for them. Be here for them now, and be here with them every moment you can into the future.

There is a very powerful and meaningful quote by the late author, Terry Pratchett: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...” I personally find great hope and comfort in that saying. Do your best to make as many ripples in the world as possible—heck, make a splash! Touch as many lives as possible. Remember those who created ripples that touched your life, and to keep those ripples going for as long as it is in your power to do so.

You carry Zayne into your future with you. In you. You carry him into the future by Remembering Zayne and sharing the good that he brought into your life, so that the ripples he made continue to go out and touch others through you.

Richard & Sue Volk

1 part1 page02:55a year ago228 views
A composition for my Patreon patron, Celia Volk, for a Christmas gift for her inlaws. It somehow manages to be jazzy, classical, and "movie score"-ish, all in one fell swoop.