Anatomy of a Christmas Carol: We Wish You a Merry Christmas

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is a traditional English Christmas carol whose origins are unknown. Regardless of where it came from, it is a short and familiar tune that contains an interesting use of sequences and non-diatonic harmony. Exploring form, melody, and harmony in short, familiar tunes like this one provides an excellent entrance …

Twinkling Possibilities: Performance Tips and Theory Tidbits for Mozart’s 12 Variations on ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,’ Part 2

Part 1 Last week we looked at the theme and first six variations of this famous piano piece by Mozart. This week, we’ll pick up right where we left off with brief analyses of what Mozart does to make each variation unique as well as the physical piano techniques required to successfully play each variation. …

Chopin’s Architecture: Phrase Structure in Chopin’s Waltz in B Minor, Op. 69 No. 2 for Composers, Performers, and Listeners

One of the toughest parts of creating anything is figuring out how to start. The biggest issue for me is that there is just so much I want to write about, say, or do in a project that I get overwhelmed and many times end up pushing it off. There’s our answer: limit the scope of …

The Sound of Rain: Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude for Listeners, Performers, and Composers

170 years after his death, Chopin still captivates audiences with his music. His set of preludes that cover all 24 major and minor keys are a great starting place to learn how to analyze his work, as it can be dense. This post looks at the qualities that make us feel the melancholy of the …