The Musicarta Modes Workbook

Lady Eleanor
Sketch in A Dorian

Here is the full Lady Eleanor teaching video.

Download the MIDI files for this page, and remind yourself of the
A Dorian minor chords on the Modes Master Chords page.

You can also listen to a full audio version online.

Chord structure and sequence

The Lady Eleanor sketch starts with a four-bar ‘Introit’ (‘She enters’) to establish the key, and then alternates between two strains (mini chord sequences) played with minor variations. We can call these ‘A’ and ‘B’. The written-out music (MS) has in addition rehearsal letters A through G to help orient you.

An ‘aerial view’ like this of a piece helps you learn it, memorise it, and perform it. Take some time in the course of learning the piece to identify the following features.

  • The first A strain (A) is the melody. The second A strain (C) is the melody an octave higher and filled out a little.
  • The other A strains (E, G) are melodic improvisation on the chord sequence, and the A minor chord at the end of the first line of the A strain chord chart is dropped.
  • The first B strain (B) is the simple model for the variations (D, F) which follow. The first occurrence also has an A minor ending (two extra bars), which is also dropped further along in the piece.

Hand positions and skeleton music

The hand position for the first two strains is pure ‘MEPS’ (Musicarta Easy Piano Style) – the left hand plays the root-fifth-octave of the reigning chord with fingers 5–2–1, while the right hand essentially wanders between the thirds of the chords.

Learn this skeleton music for strains A and B.

LE_01

The left hand for the succeeding A strains plays a variety of broken-chord figures. Here they are, shown both as broken chords and ‘stacked’ for you to pre-visualise the chord tones.

LE_02

These are standard left hand accompaniment patterns and an excellent resource for all your solo keyboard playing. In the audio/MIDI playback, each pattern is repeated with a slight pause in between. You should try to hold as many of the notes for as long as you can – the fingering shows suggestions for swapping fingers silently on a note to make this easier. Study the performance video closely to see this technique in action.

The B strain is developed by jumping up an octave and adding sixths, and with rhythmic variation (shifting the notes onto different beats). Here’s some sample skeleton music.

LE_03

Practice this music HANDS SEPERATELY – the hands as written do not go together.

The A strain improvisation

The third and fourth times the A strain chord sequence occurs, the right hand plays a free improvisation on the melodic contour (up/down-ness) of the original melody, first ‘at the octave’, then loco (‘in place’ - down in the original position) for the fade-out strain.

Here is the improvised line written out without any syncopation. In practice, nearly every beat is anticipated. The alla 8va version adds the octave (thumb) where convenient; the loco version adds drone notes above – watch the MidiPiano performance carefully to see how and where.

The bass clef shows the stacked chord of the alla 8va version in the first half of the music and those of the loco version in the second half.

LE_04

Taken together, and along with the MIDI files and the full teaching video (this page only), these resources should be enough to enable you to play the themes, and your own arrangement, of Lady Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor is available as full-MS piano solo download (see following), but as a creative keyboard musician your time will probably be better spent getting a keep-going version of your own into your repertoire!

'Lady Eleanor'

A ‘Sketch in A Dorian’ from the Musicarta Modes Zone. The modes offer a refreshing alternative to conventional major/minor harmony for both performers and composers. Intermediate advanced, with suggested optional simpler version.

Music and teaching notes (8pp. PDF), audio + MIDI + MidiPiano player, bonus flashcards. 5MB.
only $3.95
Buy Now


Watch it on YouTube.

Check out the Musicarta Modes Workbook home study download
and get these entrancing modal harmonies into you own creations.



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