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Passacaglia brevis

Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
Classical music
Solo instrument (Organ [manuals with pedals])
Instrumental parts
Not available

Passacaglia brevis, composed in 2011, has four sections, A B A1 B1. There are two recurring seven-note bass figures (so strictly speaking it is more of a Chaconne than a Passacaglia).

The opening section is in the Aeolian mode based on the note A and underpinned by the notes A B C B D E B as the initial bass theme. The note pattern recurs seven times before modulating to the dominant, E major, for the second section.

Here, the second bass figure uses the notes E G# C# D# A F# B five times before the first one returns – this time in the A Lydian mode, which has the effect of raising the opening minor ambience to the major.

The final section, serving as a coda, uses the second passacaglia theme once more, concluding in a stable E major.

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