The Pyramids Variations
The Alberti Bass
Further Variations

The ‘Alberti bass’ is a broken chord accompaniment pattern named after the Italian composer who popularised it. In Musicarta terms, it’s a left hand triad broken up B-T-M-T, usually in four-four time.

The full MS is in your Workbook. Watch the scrolling MS video for a performance to follow.

Things to note:

  • The new C/G chord in bar 4. the circle of fifths has taken over, no longer disguised as an Em/C chord.
  • The E7 in bar 12. This is the comparable bar to bar 4 in the A2 strain. A dominant seventh chord is always happy to slip up a semitone instead of falling a fifth.
  • G sus-res in the B strain. You can always 'dress up' your chords with a suspension-resolution pair - if there's room. The sus-res on G is 4-3; the following A minor chord has a 2-1 sus-res pair. See the Musicarta Suspensions module for more instructions (main navbar).
  • The extended ending. The tonic alternates with the minor iv chord three times. Is this one too many times? Try just twice - but then you have an uneven number of bars...

A Sad Parting - solo

The Alberti bass version became "A Sad Parting", from the Musicarta Piano Solos Vol. 1.

Musicians familiar with the Pyramids variations might recognize the outlines of the Pyramids chord sequence in this piece, though substantial changes have crept in.

  • The usual third chord (G major) has been 'elided' into the E minor fourth chord.
  • The circle of fifths quite takes over in the B section.
  • The Am/Dm extended ending from TPV 27-11-12 is there too.

The main departure, however, is that selected 'melody' chord tones are radically different from other Pyramids renditions. This could be the guiding principle behind your own Pyramids variations.