Music is a very important tool for setting the tone of a piece. It changes how the audience views a piece, how it makes them feel and how they feel the characters are meant to feel in a scene.
You only have to look at this famous clip of Star Wars without music to see how important music is to a scene:
Do you feel how awkward that is? Well, it’s no different when you’re putting together a soundscape. Particularly ones that centre a lot around music.
Obviously I have to check that it’s realistic that a piece, normally a piano piece, was contemporary to the Victorian period. It’s no good, for example, expecting them to play the Downton Abbey theme tune or an instrumental cover of Taylor Swift. So it’s back to the classics with me.
For the first soundscape I’ve gone for piece by Robert Schumann, a composer that lived between 1810-1856. It’s called ‘The Poet Speaks’ and was composed in 1838. I liked its simple elegance. It was simple but it was warm. It welcomed people into the soundscape. I didn’t want this piece to be full of trills that would be unrealistic for a 9-year-old to play but then I didn’t want to disrespect the fantastic musicians that attended the school by choosing something simple like ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ (shout-out to anybody else who had to learn that on a keyboard at school!).
Being an amateur musician myself, I’m very sensitive to music and how it makes me feel. To me, the piece is relaxing and comforting. I wanted to make the King’s Manor building, where the Wilberforce Memorial School for the Blind was based, to feel like a home.
I’m still debating heavily with the piano piece I will use in my second soundscape. I want the second soundscape to be more pompous. It’s a showcase and people would want to show off their hardest piece whereas at school it is more likely that they would be practising a relaxing piece they enjoy to play.
Feel free to give me any suggestions for pieces to use in the soundscape! The period I’m looking at is 1850s, it has to be a solo piano piece and not too long.
As always, new post will go up 12:00 GMT next Wednesday!