Tag Archives: Composing music as a form of meditative inquiry

Music 04: Empathy in C minor piano variations


Like the fragrance of burnt incense, you may not see loving kindness

–  but it is still there

Empathy in Cm piano variations (2022) is a technical etude arranged for solo piano. Each (at times subtle) variation draws on stylistic techniques used by Bach, Beethoven and subsequently many other composers. The opening, a haunting progression in the bass (C/D/Eb) pays homage to the Moonlight Sonata. 

In the score you can see and will hear melodic harmonisation, “drones” (the harmonic kind) pedal point, repetitive metamorphosis, a dash of contrapuntal experimentation, phrases with graceful shapes, division into clear phrases, sharing of melody line between hands,  block chords, chord substitutions, driving bass rhythms, inverted variations, unison lines, the Baroque influence of trills and some improvisation around the primary motifs. 

So what is empathy? It’s the ability to understand another person’s thoughts and feelings in a situation from their point of view rather than your own. It differs from sympathy, where one is moved by the thoughts and feelings of another but maintains an emotional distance.

This version has been produced on a digital piano using sound and notation engraving software. The rendering of musical compositions in this way is a new challenge and creative diversion for me. Established composing practices associated with the use of a sharp pencil, eraser and sheets of blank manuscript paper remain the same.

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© 2022. CP in Mongolia. This post is licensed under the  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions.   Posted: 21 December 2022. Last updated: 22 December 2022.