Bombay Nights

Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
World music
Solo instrument (Electric Organ)
Instrumental parts
Not available

This was written as an exemplar of the type of ’own composition’ which I set at Grade 6 in the 2001 Syllabus of Trinity College, London (Electronic Organ). The brief is to write a piece based on an Indian raga, entitled ’Bombay Nights’, and lasting a maximum of two minutes. The piece opens with a sitar sound, announcing the raga melody, before tablas set up a brief rhythmic tala pattern. Soon, however, a conventional 8-beat drum pattern takes over, as the music becomes more ’pop’ orientated - where East meets West, so to speak. These percussion sounds, of course, are absent from the Sibelius score, and will not be heard in performance. Apart from the sitar, the choice of registration is left to the player’s discretion, and the instrument’s resources. This piece, of course, is definitely out of bounds, as far as the exam is concerned!

In order to give a better idea of how the piece might sound in performance, I have added an MP3 file which I recorded on my Yamaha EL 90 electronic organ, and used to demonstrate various aspects of the Electronic Organ Syllabus in a presentation to former colleagues at the TCL Examiners? Conference (2001) at Peterborough.

I may certainly consider producing that revised version, mentioned in the very generous review of this piece, kindly provided below by Unfortunately, the sudden ending referred to therein, was of my own doing. In the syllabus, I had proscribed that the maximum duration should be two minutes, so I’ve really become a victim of my own making! However, the 2003 Syllabus will be rationalised, in terms the own composition, and a common set of descriptors will now apply to all keyboard instruments at each grade, so I can once more be a ’free’ agent!

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