“Echoes” by Kathryn Louderback (An Original Composition)

Echoes was created out of an improvisation.

I remember sitting at the piano, letting my fingers dance. Sounds old and new filled my ears as I shut my eyes and let the music wander as it chose. A lush chord here juxtaposed with a sharp rhythm there, painting waves and light gliding across an eager, empty canvas.

My heart sang.

Luckily I had had the foresight to connect my computer – with my notation software open – to my piano, so I got a real-time recording of the whole improvisation:


But this improv session did not generate a piece. I spent some time trying to rework the whole improv into a piano solo, and – quite frankly – I got bored. The sounds are nice, but as a whole piece it’s pretty repetitive, and there’s not much thematic development.

That’s when I realized that the improvisation did not create the piece. It did, however, create the basis for the piece. Compare the opening of the improv recording to the video; the first few seconds of the recording is the main theme developed in Echoes (see 0:00 in the video). The final product takes that rising arpeggio idea and turns it into a melody that is explored throughout the work.

Now listen to the improv recording at 2:50. I fell in love with this thematic idea, so I incorporated it into the development of Echoes. It starts at 2:43 and winds its way up through the piece until the resolution at 4:00 (listen specifically starting at 3:38 for the overlap) .

Girl at Piano
Girl at Piano, 35mm film

If you read my last blog, you might recognize the piano arpeggio ostinato in the bass. Yes, that was directly inspired by that film’s score. 🙂

The title stems from the beginning and ending of Echoes. I had the harmonic idea of the two changing chords (for those of you wondering, it’s A minor to E-flat Major) stuck in my head, and if you listen closely you can hear echoes of those chords throughout the piece. And many melodic ideas repeat slightly varied as the piece progresses, which supports the “echo”.

Echoes is a piece of exploration. It combines characteristics of modernism (the exploration of sound) with Romanticism (the exploration of emotion through melody and harmony), and I hope it brings you on a journey with me.

*If you would like to download the sheet music, click here.

Echoes is a piece of exploration. It combines characteristics of modernism (the exploration of sound) with Romanticism (the exploration of emotion through melody and harmony), and I hope it brings you on a journey with me.

29 Comments Add yours

  1. floatinggold says:

    I felt so many different emotions while listening to this piece. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m glad I could share my journey with you through my music!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lemon zest says:

    Soo sooo beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m so glad you like it!

      Like

  3. zoeticsky says:

    It sounds like the wind… it takes me somewhere and I don’t know where but I don’t mind. All I want is to be taken…
    Thank you..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such kind and beautiful words. Thank you for listening.

      Like

  4. Kathryn, how lucky you are to have sufficient mastery of the piano and theory to be able to express your gifts. That was truly lovely. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I love being able to share what I do, and your comments make it all worthwhile.

      Like

  5. Bubby Bakes says:

    It evokes such beauty and peace…… truly lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, I’m glad you like it 🙂

      Like

  6. Kayla W. says:

    The music is beautiful. I love how you described your composition process and show the beginning inspiration piece and how it led to the one you finished with. I don’t know much about music technically (I’m one of those who just knows what she likes) but your writing was easy for me to follow — thank you for the quick definition of Modernism and Romanticism.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you liked the piece and the post! My goal with this blog is to help everyone, whether they know lots about music or nothing about music, enjoy listening. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Echoes – W+W
  8. Kayla W. says:

    Since Winter and I do a music blog, I did a quick post on you. I hope you don’t mind.
    https://wplusw2.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/echoes/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course not, I am so thankful!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So beautiful. It felt amazing listening to this music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Raylene says:

    Oh WOW! I am so glad I came over to check out your blog and posts! This is so cool! As a fellow pianist, I am happy to know this kind of blogging is possible! I’m going to follow you just because this is so very different than any other blog I’ve ever come across.

    As for this particular piece of music, I definitely enjoyed your second movement (the one with all the arpeggios), and I’m glad you came back–“echoed”–the first movement’s style at the end as it helped the first to make sense. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog and the piece. I love connecting with fellow pianists. 🙂

      Like

      1. Raylene says:

        I look forward to interacting with you more!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What is your favorite music to play on the piano?

        Like

      3. Raylene says:

        Praise and worship choruses and old hymns! I also enjoy playing the classical pieces I’ve learned.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Wonderful! Playing hymns is one of my favorite things to do as well. 🙂

        Like

      5. Raylene says:

        Yes, I noticed! Looking forward to checking out your blogs on hymns when I finally get a chance.

        Liked by 1 person

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