Snow, and the scent of fallen leaves (Elegy-fragment)

by Matthew Whittall

Empty sheet

Matthew Whittall

Snow, and the scent of fallen leaves (Elegy-fragment)


I wrote this short piece in the wake of a great loss in my family. The title refers to a time of year bringing transition, a gradual seeping away of color and life. The music is hesitant, expectant, with the melody line confined to a narrow register, constantly retracing its steps, as if unable to move on. The accompaniment patterns feature harmonies in a constant state of slippage, promising relief one moment, only to fall back into melancholy the next. The piece is very much a fragment, a thought left incomplete, and is not meant to be conclusive, only reflective of a moment in time.

Performance note:

The piece may be played by any combination of a melodic instrument and harmonic accompaniment.

The melody is preferably played in the indicated sounding register, but may be transposed by one octave for instruments for whom that register is impossible (i.e. contrabass or piccolo). The melody should employ little or no vibrato throughout.

The accompaniment ideally requires a resonant instrument such as piano, harp or kantele, but may be played on accordion or organ with the 16th-note tones sounding through the beat (after the initial attack) rather than simply arpeggiated. The piece may also be played as a solo on a sustaining instrument like the accordion or organ. In the case of a harp accompaniment, pitches may be altered enharmonically to better suit pedaling demands.


melody instrument and harmonic accompaniment


Chamber Works


Seeli Toivio, cello, Hedi Viisma, chromatic kantele, February 10, 2013, Espoo, Finland.

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