Ballade in A Minor


For better or for worse one thing that many of us have had during COVID-19 is more free time. While I have been blessed that many of my students have continued lessons online, I have also had time to expand my creative output. This piece is ideal for anyone who plays piano at the intermediate level and loves passionate music from the Romantic era.

The Ballade as a genre originated from literature; epic long poems with many lines and verses. Frederick Chopin was the first to create a musical genre with this title. My Ballade is a much shorter than his long and challenging version. It’s more similar in scope to those of Brahms and Grieg.

This particular work was born from explorations in chord progressions. Sometimes I like to write out long chains of chords while I’m watching Netflix and then later try some of the progressions out on the piano to see if anything sticks. That’s where the basic idea for this work came from. Although fairly brief (ca. 2:45 performance time), this piece took a long time to write and is musically quite dense. Once I had the chords worked out for the piece then it was just a matter of breaking and distributing them evenly between hands in a flowing way. There was also a slightly haunting melody that I came up with at piano one time which I worked in to give the work thematic unity.

It also took a long time for me to settle on a title. At first it was called A Sad Song but then I played it for a friend who said it didn’t sound very sad. Then it was A Song Without Words as it reminded me a bit of Mendelssohn. Finally, I rested on calling it Ballade because of its heroic character especially in the middle section.

If you were to give it a title what would it be?

For more compositions like this one please visit my compositions page.

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