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Pyramids Variations

Descending Variations


You remember that we can designate the three notes of a triad - a Basic Music-making Position (BMP) chord - B (bottom), M (middle) and T (top)?

See if you can play the Pyramids variation suggested in this grid.

Both hands play the same pattern (T M B) all the way through the chord sequence. The right hand plays before the left hand, so you play the six notes from the highest to the lowest.

The ‘developed melody’ can easily be added at the top of this pattern.

Finish this A1A2 Pyramids version as follows.

Developing the melody

This descending chord pattern provides an ideal opportunity to develop the simple Pyramids melody in the same we as we developed the bass line, using the same or very similar approach movement patterns as before.

Analyse the following melody line for movement types, and play it over the Descending Variations descending chord pattern. It’s a two-bar pattern.

Now look at the following three patterns.



All of these are two-bar patterns – the odd-numbered bars are the same, and the even-numbered bars are the same. Decide what the pattern is, and finish the three 16-bar A1A2 variations.

Here are two variations with more 'approach notes', using the rhythmic pattern of the developed melody.


Study the examples until you can see the pattern, and finish the variations.

A 32-bar AABA version

The Descending Variation is one of several which have been 'officially' extended to full 32-bar AABA length by applying the pattern to the B section material.

The MS for a full 32-bar AABA ‘Descending Variation’ is in your workbook. Here is the audio performance file and MS-plus MidiPiano video.


Later, you will try applying all the variations patterns to the B section material to make full 32-bar AABA versions. Study this variation carefully to see how you might go about it.


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