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Preludes for Piano, Book 3, No. 3 Ginger Snaps

Welcome to another (late) Musical Monday! Today’s piece of music is titled… wait, I’ll let you guys guess…

..that’s right! It’s titled Friday, featuring the beloved Rebecca Black Ginger Snaps, written by Stephen Chatman in his music collection, Preludes for Piano, Book 3 between 1999 and 2001. Yep, it’s a recent (21st-century!) composition, and as you’d expect from recent compositions, it defies conventions a little bit.

Unfortunately, I’m not proficient at musical analysis; the only conventions I know are of anime. So maybe playing continuous parallel fifths throughout the piece doesn’t defy any conventions at all; sure, parallel fifths sound hollow (also debatable) in traditional SATB choirs and confuse voice leading in species counterpoint, but I mean, c’mon, this is a keyboard, people use parallel fifths and octaves all the time.

Yet, if those don’t defy convention, I’m sure the harmonies do. Just give it a listen: can you identify the tonic, or even the key of the piece? Even so, there’s a clear contrast between the F/G sections and the C/D sections, so even if F/G isn’t the clear tonic, it serves the role as the subject – it’s always F/G that signals a new section. Similarly, C/D serves as an answer, since it always repeats the same melodies after F/G does first. I’m not sure how that A-major chord made it in there at the very end, though… is that defying conventions? >_>

Enough about that. What about the composer?

Stephen Chatman was born in 1950 in Minnesota, and moved over to good ol’ Canada (our home and native land) sometime before 1976. That’s because he became the Head of the University of British Columbia’s Composition Division then, and has held the role ever since [citation needed]. No, I did not copy this straight off of Wikipedia, why do you ask? I copied it straight off of his website

He won countless awards for compositions for not only the piano, but also for orchestra, for band, for choir, for chamber ensemble… you get my point. Basically, he’s one of the top ‘Classical’ composers not only in Canada, but probably in the entire world. I say ‘Classical’ because what I mean is, he doesn’t compose rap music, country, hip-hop, or dubstep. Unfortunately.

Enough about that. What about me?

Who are you? Nobody reads O-New.

That rhyming couplet would end this post, but by me, I mean Mushyrulez (who is me), and I found Ginger Snaps in my old Grade 7 piano repertoire book, and decided to study it after noting its excessive amount of parallel fifths: something shared by another piece I was studying, aptly named Parallel 5ths. I say ‘old’ because now, the Royal Conservatory of Music has published a new series of books, and my Grade 7 repertoire book is now obsolete. This is unfortunate because it makes finding musical sources far more difficult.

You see, the publishing information given was Etudes for Piano [sic]. Not only is this the least original collection title possible, but it turns out that Chatman NEVER PUBLISHED an Etudes for Piano. So I tried looking at the online piano syllabus for more detailed publication information. HAH! Fat chance. YOU’VE GOTTA BUY THE PIANO SYLLABUS BEFORE YOU CAN FIND OUT WHERE THE RCM TOOK THEIR MUSIC FROM. Seriously? Dude, what you’ve got is a list of compositions. Why do people have to pay money to look at a list of compositions?

Now, of course, there is a reason: composers (especially ‘Classical’ ones) earn like, $10 a day or something, and need all the money they can get. Which is fine. I support ‘Classical’ composers. But c’mon, you’re getting $500 for my exam this summer, why don’t you just make the vapid syllabus free for all and jack up examination prices an inch? Heck, even an extra $100 won’t shy me away from taking the accursed exam.

Thus, with that option out of the way, I ventured onwards to mass-click every disreputable website I could find, seeking details of the elusive Etudes for Piano (which doesn’t exist) throughout the land. Eventually, I found that not only is Ginger Snaps NOT an Étude, but that it’s… well, it’s not an Étude. It’s a Prelude. It’s the third composition in Chatman’s Preludes for Piano, Book 3.

…I have no further words on the matter.

P.S. No, I don’t know why my feet are bouncing
P.P.S. It took me a lot of effort to remember to accent the last note and not the middle one (like I’ve done all my life)

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