Trying to Sleep

I was going to post something about Linux Libertine this week, but I’m currently experiencing some technical issues which prevent me from doing so (probably into next week, too). Oh well, I’ll leave you with another one of my compositions.

Trying to Sleep: the title describes more or less how I felt when I composed the piece. I had some trouble sleeping one night because I had an idea for a composition and I just had to get it down. I think I might have spent the whole night just playing around on my keyboard, getting everything just right and writing it down on paper so I wouldn’t forget. Yes, this was back when I drew staves on paper and wrote notes on it by hand.
A tip for drawing staves on lined paper: I find using two lines split in half to be just the right size. The rule between the two lines will be your middle line, the top rule is your top line, and the bottom rule is your bottom line. To complete the five lines on a staff, add a rule in the middle of each line (I know it sounds confusing, but if you follow it carefully, it should make sense. I’ll upload an illustration when I get the chance). Use ink for your staff and pencil for your notes for easy erasing without the need to redraw your lines.

I can consider this my first serious piano piece. Have a listen and see what you think of it:

View the score on and listen to the audio on SoundCloud.
“Trying to Sleep” was originally released on February 7, 2013. It was created with MuseScore and rendered with Finale’s synthgms.sf2 SoundFont.

I don’t know why, but many people really like “Trying to Sleep”. I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t. Perhaps because it’s relatively simple but filled with variation? Maybe it’s the feel of not having any mediants in most of the chords. Or is it because it sounds really close to a medley even though it isn’t? (Yes, I included snippets of two of my pieces in there). Whatever the reason, it seems to be fairly popular.

You’ll notice a little section where a sequence of seemingly atonal chromatic notes play (m.27-m32; 0:50-1:14): I came up with that by generating a sequence of random notes using dice. I assigned each note in the chromatic scale a number from 1 to 12, and I would record the note the first time its number was rolled. This dice-rolling technique is one of the ways twelve-tone composers create their works. I actually got the idea to include an atonal section because I was doing a little reading on atonality and the twelve-tone technique. Come to think of it, that section is a complete tone row, so I could actually base a whole composition on that…

“Trying to Sleep”, like almost all of my compositions, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License, which basically permits you to do whatever you want with it as long as you give me credit, and if you base your work on this, you have to also license that work under the CC-BY-SA or a compatible licence.

  1. Was that a little bit of Rick Astley in there? Time 1:14 (Ha Ha)

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