The little shepherd (Children’s Corner 1906-1908)

I haven’t had a chance to write this piece up yet, but feel free to start the discussion in the comments!

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One comment on “The little shepherd (Children’s Corner 1906-1908)

  1. B Johnson says:

    I think this piece is in ternary form. After an intro of 4 bars (which contain notes of the Dorian mode of B), section A starts at bar 5 – plus mouvemente – with a 2 bar phrase of a dotted rhythm that is repeated melodically but different harmonically, ending with a perfect cadence in the key of A major (Bm7, E7, A – bars 9-11).
    Section B – au Mouvt – (as I see it) starts at bar 12 with a more flowing rhythm, using notes of the G# Phrygian ode, leading to another perfect cadence in the key of E major (F#m7, B7, E – bars 16-18).
    Section C – au Mouvt – poco piu forte – starts with a quaver rest and the phrase almost feels like another intro. The notes used suggest F# harmonic minor scale but there is no C#. At bar 21 – plus mouvemente – the rhythm copies that of bar 5 becoming more animated in bar 22 with a crescendo to the chord of D# major in bar 24 – being copied in bar 25 but softer.
    The final section starts at bar 27 and should be labeled A as it copies bars 7-11 exactly.

    The tonal centre is A despite its minor sound.

    I’m not totally convinced that this is in ternary form. It’s almost like some rondo bent out of shape. Convince me otherwise.

    There are many similar write ups as to the title and how the music reflects it. The opening bars suggest the little shepherd piping his flute. Bars 5-11 suggest uncertainty or/and melancholy but ending with a happier note in the major cadence. Bars 12-18 open with the piping tune suggesting perhaps that the little shepherd would rather be playing his pipe than tending sheep or he’s playing to the sheep. Bars 19-26 suggest more events happening with the piper calling first and then an increase in tempo and volume. Perhaps a rounding up of some stubborn sheep! Bars 27 to the end confirm that the piper is at ease and rest is not long away!

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