I have written relatively short and simple pieces for every member of my immediate family, and this one is for my wife, Jennifer Porter.
The others are Julia's Prelude,
and Andrew Jacob's Ragtime Blues (click on either title to hear it).
Musically, all three are relatively straightforward and tonal. Jennifer's Tune (2005) begins with a Oscar Peterson-like
tune with a gospel feel. This main theme is about a minute long, and is then given a varied repetition. There is a pause,
and the middle section begins with an abrupt (and unexpected) modulation from C major to Eb major. Harmonically, things
become more interesting here, as Eb major chords alternate with B7 (=Ger+6 enh. of Eb for the theoretically inclined!), and this is followed
by my favourite part of the piece, a walking bass line that descends chromatically for almost two octaves, while the piano plays
a jazzy solo, with left hand chords that also descend chromatically, but at a much slower rate. After this is repeated, there is eventually
a retransition back to the original theme (from Eb minor to C major (a double-chromatic mediant relationship).
In addition to the above-mentioned compositions named after family members, I have written a number of other (mostly) short works that are (mostly) tonal. These include almost all of 11 Short Piano Pieces, and Variations on McGillicuddy's Rant (guitar). All were composed just for fun (as opposed to commissioned pieces written for specific performances, which, admittedly, can be fun too), perhaps in the same way that some people enjoy passing time by knitting, or solving crossword puzzles. In his advanced composition class at UCLA around 1940, Arnold Schoenberg is supposed to have said, "There is still plenty of good music to be written in C major." Jennifer's Tune is in C major, but as to whether Arnold would have considered it good or not, who knows? The guy never returns my phone calls, which makes me fear the worst.
©Clark Winslow Ross