SD1026: Pachelbellies

Stephen Dunstone

Cover imagePachelbellies
For - Mixed Ability 4-part harp ensemble

Please click the "About this work & Performance Notes" heading below for further details

This book is supplied as a score and set of 4 parts


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Artist Profile and catalogue of works - Stephen Dunstone

Audio Sample

About this work & Performance Notes


There are four parts as follows::-

Harp 1
Harp 2
Harp 3
Harp 4


I wrote Pachelbellies originally for a pupil who had been asked to play at a relative’s wedding. The problems were that (a) she hadn’t been learning long; (b) she found it hard to read music; and (c) anything that required her two hands to play different things simultaneously left her somewhat flummoxed. These aren’t really the ideal attributes for a wedding harpist. However, there were also three positive points: (a) she was very good at arpeggios shared between the hands; (b) she could remember patterns and chord sequences very well; and (c) there was going to be a violinist at the wedding.

The obvious solution was to give her a repeating sequence of lovely-sounding arpeggios and write a melody for the violinist to play over the top. The girl had been studying Pachelbel’s Canon in class, so it seemed a logical step to use the same chord sequence that Pachelbel used, and reshape it to create a new piece. Pachelbellies was born.

I have lengthened the amount of time given to each part of the harmonic progression, so each segment in the sequence lasts for a whole bar, which allows any melody to have a flowing cantabile arc. That very first version for harp and violin obviously only had one melody line and one harmony part; but, as you can see, in this ensemble version there are two harmony parts which interweave their quavers, and two melody parts which move together in a frequently parallel dance. Harp 2 takes over the upper part for verses 5 and 6, before the parts switch back again for the final verse.

The harmony players might find it useful to keep the chord sequence in their heads, rather than laboriously reading every note of every “verse”, so I’ve printed the chord symbols for the first run of the sequence.

I arranged this for a different selection of instruments for another wedding, and the bride thought the title was a little flippant for something as serious as a wedding, so it was temporarily changed to “Chaconne”. I certainly don’t think of the piece as something flippant - in fact I think it’s really rather lovely - and I’ve got rather used to the name Pachelbellies, but I will quite understand if you’re using it for Solemn Purposes and want to give it a pseudonym...

Library Information

Title: Pachelbellies
Composer: Stephen Dunstone
Instrumentation: 4 Lever or Pedal Harps
Level: Mixed Ability but not difficult
Format: A4 stapled score and set of 4 A4 parts
Weight: 140gm
ISMN: 979-0-57046-291-9
Our Ref: SD1026
Publisher: Creighton's Collection
Printer/Distributor: Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: 2018
Origin: UK

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