“For Emma”

Lullaby in A major

An excerpt from conversations with Oscar dePonchek….

Bjorn Rossby.  No self-respecting composer would hold modern music’s possibly first one hit wonder, Johan Pachelbel and his D major canon as the pinnacle with which to strive after.

Oscar dePonchek. One hit is a billion times better than no hits.

(Long, pause)

BR.  To be called a one hit wonder is usually pretty derogatory.

OD.   Sarcasm is often be employed to mask another feeling.

BR.  So anyway, I wrote this piece back in college as a lullaby for my new niece. Somehow Pachelbel’s canon in D popped into my head as an inspiration for a lullaby and out came this simple bass line and melody fairly quickly. 20+ years later I am still right pleased with it.

OD.  So would you be embarrassed or psyched if people love this tune, but only ever this tune of yours?

BR.  I thought we were going to keep this light!

OD. You were the one who brought up Pachelbel and his one hit as if it were nothing to be proud of.

BR.  I suppose a pile of money would lighten any embarrassment.

OD.  This went nowhere fast. I thought you were different, not so flipping shallow.

BR.  If I were in it for the money I would be doing things completely differently.

OD.  That’s probably true. So, have you nothing interesting to say about this piece?

BR.   Well, there is still a small mark of my wonderful composition teacher, Geoffrey Gibbs, back from my college days that has remained all this time and is a strong reminder for me to constantly be aware of voice-leading. When I brought this into my composition class for review I had written the left hand pattern identical on the first page. Not only did he find that too repetitive and predictable but it had also, without my even noticing it, caused me to inadvertently double the leading tone at the end of measure four. I think that teaching moment became the start to a fascination with the technical aspect of composition and voice-leading. That’s of course after the guy sitting next to me slapped me across the head.

OD.  Well, you clearly deserved that one. By the way, Pachelbel is probably pretty psyched to have his name and creation forever associated with the most love and joy filled day of our lives. I’ll bet a bottle of champagne you had it at yours.