The Long Game

An idyll

The Long Game
Backgammon - ace/deuce (Photo Credit: CasparGirlCC BY 2.0)

The Long Game is based on an original tune. A former colleague was in the habit of whistling it whenever he entered a room.

It seemed like nothing remarkable at the time—just a sort of idle melody. But when I sat down at the piano, it turned out to have legs.

Beyond coming up with a fairly straightforward harmonisation, I enjoyed exploring the range—dynamics and pitch—of the piano.

The piano used in this recording has ninety-seven keys to the piano’s usual eighty-eight. The additional nine notes are all in the bass; the last measure of the piece contains an F0.

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Piano Score


During the opening measures of the piece, the theme is stated directly, three times consecutively:

Measures 1–6: melody (shown in blue) is stated three times
Measures 16: melody (shown in blue) is stated three times

In measures 7–10, the theme is restated, with slight melodic variation:

Measures 7–10: slight melodic variation
Measures 710: slight melodic variation

In measures 11–15, further melodic variation is introduced:

Measures 11–16: further melodic variation
Measures 1115: further melodic variation

Finally, beginning on the fourth beat of measure 17, the melody is restated in full. This time, it is presented in augmentation. This means the original note durations are elongated: the sixteenth notes in the original melody become eighth notes; the eighth notes become quarter notes, then half notes; and the final note of the melody becomes two whole notes:

Measures 17–21: final statement of melody in augmentation
Measures 1721: final statement of melody in augmentation

How This Piece Was Created

I composed this piece at the piano, beginning with the melody, then improvising.

After sketching a rough draft on paper, I produced the score using LilyPond and Frescobaldi.

My real-time performance is one continuous take. There are no edits, except normalisation of the final audio.

Software and Samples


Audio recording and score provided courtesy of Kermodexed Music, which is a registered trade name of Kermodexed LLC.

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