Tag Archives: Irish

Percy Grainger- “Molly on the Shore”

This song was written by Percy for his mother’s birthday. Therefore, is is joyful, happy, and celebratory. The tempo is allegro with a key of A flat major. This particular piece is played by a string orchestra (no woodwinds or percussion). I picked this song because it consisted of many elements, most of which our class has learned. It starts off with a viola solo with the accompaniment of cellos, violins, and bass playing using pizzicato. Then at second 40 (measure 19), the cellos and basses play the melody for probably 10 seconds. However, at second 1:04 (measure 36) the entire orchestra joins in with no primary focus on any particular instrument. This is played loud (fortissimo)  and with a very interesting articulation because you can hear the notes being played slurred at some points, while staccato from the cellos and basses signal the down beat. This contrast of articulation and dynamics and many changes of form made me choose this piece. Another thing I want to add would be the use of dynamics. You can clearly hear the music being played loud (forte) and also very low (piano). However, if you have a good ear, you can also the gradual change of it, crescendo and decrescendo (4:28-4:39). In addition to the various levels of dynamics, this piece was played by a school orchestra, kids at the ages very similar to our class; yet, their intonation is spot on, almost perfect. I would like to conclude this my commenting on the ending. Before the short abrupt fortissimo pizzicato ending which I find brilliant, there is a pause. The significance of this pause is to make the audience believe the song is over, hence the use of decrescendo; however, a measure later, there is a loud, strong D note that really shocks the audience. Not only does this piece sound nice, it also seems really fun to play with the changing back and forth of bow and pizzicato, constant change in dynamics and articulation, and compilation of various forms.