A Few Miles Above
Caleb Peterson, tenor
Nate Spanos, piano
Voice and piano
These three art songs are settings of excerpts from William Wordsworth's famous poem, "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey." I hope you enjoy this new music!
A Few Miles Above
This song opens with large polychords (two separate diatonic chords stacked on top of each other) and sweeping runs. I wrote these to create a grand, expansive sound, symbolizing the breathtaking view of a vast landscape from high on a mountaintop. Throughout the rest of the song I tried to tone paint frequently. For instance, I used some unusual chords, including a minor dominant, to illustrate the "five long winters." I also wrote a rolled chord to illustrate the "waters rolling from their mountain springs." The vocal melody is intended to complement the lyrical description of the landscape. I also directed the vocalist to whisper to accentuate the word "seclusion." Overall, I really enjoyed using these different techniques to compose my first art song.
This song is a bit slower and much more gloomy than the first. It is in a minor mode and I used several extended tertian chords to support the melody with thicker colors. I utilized Romantic chord progressions and chromaticism to set the mood for the text, which describes Wordsworth's reminiscences of the rural landscape.
With this song, I played with concept of keeping the accompaniment tonal, but never fully establishing one key. It mostly stays within E-flat major, but also hints at B-flat major. Parallel fourths are also prominent in the accompaniment, giving it a somewhat dissonant sound. The rhythm is more lively than in the first two songs, including some dotted rhythms in the melody. My goal was to use the mixture of these elements to symbolize the "fever of the world."
© 2015 Joshua Drake. All Rights Reserved
Cedarville, music, composition
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Drake, Joshua, "Songs" (2015). Student Composition Recitals. 99.