Walking Through

Music Luke Vogel | Completed February 2014

Walking Through is my first composition assignment from my second year composition module at University, which focused on writing music for soloists and small chamber ensembles. The brief for Walking Through was merely to write for the piano, and only the piano, and that we were to compose a piece in seven sections, with each of the sections exploring some aspect of the piano or a new way of compositional thinking. Despite the brief stating that these sections didn’t need to be related to each other, I was adamant that I wanted to make a story out of them, and so came the title, and with it, the natural progression of sections – the grand opening with its broad bass line and leaps going into the jagged 7/8 section, and the dissonant fourth section abruptly shifting to the reflective and held back 5/8 section were all instinctive progressions which worked and appeared to fit a narrative.

I like to leave a certain degree of ambiguity when it comes to the narrative, as I’m never really entirely sure myself as to what this narrative should be – with this in mind, listening to Walking Through reminds me of going on an adventure through a fantasy forest. I’m not sure how well this adventure finishes – the final rhapsodic section could of course be a statement of relief at the adventure being finished, or a desperate cry for help as our noble adventurer is ambushed by some fantasy forest spirit.

Many of the sections in Walking Through explore the range of the piano, and keeps things very close and intimate, with lots of hand crossovers and intertwining lines. The dissonant fourth section came as a result of having a random selection of notes presented to me in a random order, thereby forming the bass line and giving myself some parameters in which I have to work. This way of composing was challenging not because of the restrictions I imposed upon myself by allowing only a certain selection of pitches, but because of the complete shift in the way I found myself composing and thinking. Look out for more of this ‘restrictive freedom’ in more pieces!