To Mend A Broken Heart

• Nov 5, 2010 - 21:34

Once again, another updated version of a piece I posted before. Enjoy!

Attachment Size
to mend a broken heart.mscz 4.54 KB


I can picture this as a graveside song, sung by a group of men. Irish maybe? And they are piling the dirt on the coffin when one of them plants his shovel into the dirt and says, "Dig it yourself."

This man walks away and you see him and a couple other people from the back, standing on a seashore as the tide rolls in.

For me bars 24-27 are beautiful.

I've been playing with this composition and came up with something I want to show you. I altered the beginning so that all the notes, melody and harmony, are derived from the d pentatonic minor scale.

I don't say what I've done is better, but I love the effect that happens when it goes back to the way you originally wrote it. Reminds me of something coming out of a fog, suddenly revealed triumphant. Like the Enterprise at the end of the latest Star Trek, if you've seen that.

Added a couple spicy chords for the ending that don't really fit harmonically with the rest of the piece. Just experimenting.

Hope you enjoy!

Attachment Size
mend it.min pentea.mscz, 2.4 KB

In reply to by rokr258

that's not bad news. i'd be surprised and alarmed if everyone saw things the way i did. i'd wonder "just how deep does this conspiracy go?" ;)

thank you for your honest reaction. i think you're right. i acknowledge the phrasing etc is the weak part of what i posted. i agree and i was calling it "muddy" when i thought about it. i tried to clean it up, but then the triumphant effect i felt was there got lost. what matters is we are both interacting with that beautiful thing that is music, and we are learning things.

i'm going to attach my effort at clean up just so you can see my thought process, but as i say, what i have attached is not an improvement over what i last showed you. take it instead as a snapshot of my musical thinking on the subject.

Attachment Size
mend it.penta upper register.mscz 2.43 KB

I play the french horn, and I must say that this is one of the most beautiful pieces I have come across. The harmonies are brilliant, and I hope you bring the MuseScore community more wonderful pieces like this.


In reply to by rokr258

Despite loving the horn version, I decided to make it more interesting. I changed the clefs to bass clef and transposed the whole piece down 2 octaves. I then set all the instruments to Guitar Harmonics. I am including the MuseScore file in the attachments.

(Edit) It doesn't sound good with the default soundfont, so please use the Fluid R3 soundfont.

Tell me what you think!


In reply to by imazi643

It's a very beautiful hymn melody. And the harmonies are ok, I think. But I'm not that sure about how the voices are treated. I have a classical education and I find myself disturbed when the rules are not followed. I find myself asking if the arranger deliberately broke the rules or did he just not know them. The worst case is when an arranger (or composer) wants to write something that sounds "classic", but doesn't know the rules. A better case is when he knows the rules and knows how to break them so that it will be obvious. And maybe even better would be if he just would write something completely free from associations to classic rules.
Of course, if one would pick this beautiful melody and maybe the harmonies, too, and would arrange it according to the book, it might sound too real, too old school.
I might be completely lost here and can't see the value of diverging from the rules at some spots in your score. On the other hand, some of the diverging I like a lot. I try to pick them all, after listening one more time to the score. I did listen to the earlier version, too, and that might have opened some things for me, too.
Here they are:
Bar 3: three voices, B, B and F#. I miss the D, which would complete the triad. The open chord might sound good, but it might also sound like one player is missing.
Bar 4: same thing. G, D and D. And here melody plays D D C# B, while one voice plays D B. This parallel voicing sounds empty. Again, it might be on purpose or based on some other idea, but it might also sound like someone not knowing what he is doing.
Bar 5: Between same voices we have the D C# sustention while the other voice plays a C#.
Bars 7-9: All four voices are present, but it sounds like the bass line is missing. A missing bass line can sound good if you have less voices. The same effect with four voices, especially in the chords with the 5th in the lowest voice, gives the feeling that it's not finished. The open ending chord in bar 9 sounds good. The missing 3rd (F#) is ok this time.
Bars 10-: Here the harmonies are a bit more complete, kind of setting the style, which would promise that all the rest should follow the same style. But bar 14 is again a bit empty. A C# D sustention together with a D. A C# D sustention together with a B (4-3 sustention) would support the modulation to the key A better. According to the old school book again.
Bar 28-29: The F#m chord is a bit too static. You got it in 28, 29 and 30 on the 1st beat. Though the tonality is a bit free in the whole tune, this static feel disturbes me a bit. It goes back from F#m to A, through this very sustained F#m, then suddenly F#m E A in 30-31.
The crescendo in 35 would perhaps be supported by a complete triad. (Missing the G# here).
Bars 36-37: You go from the D on an up beat to the D on a downbeat in 37. Again, forbidden in the book.

I'm not quite sure if my software plays all parts in their right octaves. According to the sscore it does. I never checked if it were possible to get rid of the chords with the 5th in the bass, by transposing another part one octave down.
An important note is of course that all these "empty" spots and rule breaking spots might sound much better, when played by real musicians knowing what it's all about.

This took longer than I expected. And I went nit picking. I really should return to this and point out the good things I found, things where you broke the rules in a way that appealed to me.

In reply to by jotti

Um...I'm not sure how to respond to this.

Are you responding to my guitar version or the original version?
I can tell you that many people who use MuseScore are not familiar with all the rules and regulations of music theory (such as myself). This piece is beautiful regardless of the "classic rules" or whatever you claim is incorrect.


In reply to by jotti

First of all, is this supposed to be in response to the harmonics version or the original? Because I haven't been able to get the newer arrangement to work. Second, I have taken several theory classes and I do know the 'rules.' I just do not see any reason to follow them. It is one of my most fundamental beliefs that creativity should never be limited. Yes, I do understand most of the rules exist (such as the ones against parallel perfect intervals) to make the music sound better, and those ones I do try to follow. My intent in scoring this the way I did was simply to write beautiful music. I just prefer to write parts that flow and make sense to the musician rather than keep voices separate and within specific ranges.

In reply to by rokr258

I wrote in response to the latest uploaded version. Creativity indeed never should be limited. But I still think that just ignoring the rules is not necessarily creativity. One has to actively take the next step, which will prevent the music (or art) from appearing to be just full of errors.
To write parts that flow is a good focus. As I mentioned, your composition might start to sound much better when played by real musicians.

In reply to by Anonymous

personally i prefer the previous version.

I feel that you arent quite happy with the original endind,,and you are tryuing to find a better way to finish,but that arrangement for me is not better.

keep trying ! ;)

May 16, 2011 - 01:29

I was bored, so I added the fill.

Also, can you add that as a non-.mscz file? My computer won't do it right, and that person mentioned earlier would benefit from this. Sadly, she won't download this, so I hope she will listen to a sound file...

Hello all - I am completely new here (first post), hope this is OK!
I am a massive fan of this piece, I really think it is great, with fantastic flow and phrasing, in my opinion anyway.
Although I prefer it played on the 4 horns, I have decided to create a version for one piano, to make this piece even more accessable to a wider audience.
It is by no means perfect, but this is the first thing I have created with MuseScore, so I'm still getting to know the program. Thank you!

I made your work into a piece for concert band. The only major change I did was make the last 2 notes one octave higher to make for a more dramatic effect on some instruments. I am actually in my school concert band and wanted to know if we can perform it next year, since our last concert this year is tomorrow. I also wantd to know your name so that I could give you credit for composing it. Thanks.

In reply to by AdrianFlute

I like your arrangement a lot! I might have done a few things differently, but overall it sounds good. It would be absolutely fantastic if you could play this with your band next year! I would be so honored if you could make that happen. I would even try to be there for the performance if possible, assuming your school isn't too far from where I'm going to college. You can email me at to talk about details (my name is Sam Plotkin). Once again, thanks so much for this honor; it means a lot! I hope to hear from you soon!

Aug 24, 2011 - 17:40

In reply to by AdrianFlute

Also, you have a bunch of parts playing the same thing. I would reccomend adding harmonies and splitting the melody to different instruments. A bass clarinet and a flute help the horn? Not a good choice. Sorry Adrian, but I don't like it.

Hi, I just wanted you to know that this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard for horn. The balance is gorgeous and I don't think there is anything I would change about it. Would you mind if I printed it out and played it with some friends? I know noob-ish but I wanna see what it sounds like played off the computer. Absolute genius.

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