Tracks of my years

In a bid to get into the right frame of mind when editing my novel, I’ve decided that I need to have a sound track for each section. Avid readers will know that Four Movements covers four generations of ownership of an ordinary upright piano. Each of those generations has its own soundtrack, and indeed as this is the story of a piano, there are many pieces of music played on it. Here is a whistle stop tour:

1959

Bobby DarinThe piano is in the keeping of Nancy, a curious 10-year-old girl whose family have just moved to the brand new town of Stevenage. With a strict mother who has more than a few secrets, the piano is a place of freedom. She learns to play the instrument and practices ardently for an exam. The pieces she plays are:

Prelude in C by Johann Sebastian Bach

Wilder Reiter by Robert Schumann

Interestingly, while Nancy develops an interest in Mozart and his lesser known sister who also performed, she never plays any of his music. Chopin’s Prelude in E minor also features later on, a piece I played myself in my youth. I do imagine however that the wireless in her house might play such gems as Dream Lover by Bobby Darin…

1989

CabaretThe piano now finds itself in a women’s community centre, where Martha, who bought the piano, regularly plays lots of different pieces of music, from show tunes to classical. A piece that causes her colleague and friend, Shirley, to do something unexpected is Maybe This Time, a lovely song of heartbreak from Cabaret. Later on, she finds herself playing one of Eric Satie’s Gymnopedies.

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1997

VerveThis is the year of the General Election, and Tim, the complex lead character of this section, seems more interested in avant garde atonal music and politics than either classical or pop music. He does catch some of Bitter Sweet Symphony by the Verve on the radio though, which to my mind captures the time pretty well.

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2011

AdeleEnding up battered and in a school, the piano is adopted by two girls who decide to use it for an art project where members of the community are invited to play it in the town centre. One man who comes upon the upright plays Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, a classic piece that I suspect had been played on the piano by countless others in its life. Adele’s version of ‘Feel My Love’ also features, as simply a piano instrumental.

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Does your novel have a soundtrack?

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