Hey, all you Millennial composers out there: here’s a contest you’re sure to like! Write your very best “cheerful chaconne,” enter it via email, and you will win a prize…guaranteed, because I’m handing out Participation Trophies courtesy of the prestigious Scherman-Peabody Institute. In addition, I am in contact with no less than 32 classical music labels, each of which is just waiting for a composer to come along and write such a piece that they can add to their latest “Meditate With Mozart” CD, and at least 50 classical music stations in the U.S.A. who will add your chaconne to their “Relax with Rachmaninov” evening listening schedule!
This should be as easy for you as falling off a log since a chaconne is nothing more than a short chord progression using a repetitive bass line over which you write your own melodic inventions. For you folks, writing something like this will be as easy as racking up student loan debt, but much more fun! Heck, since most of you are into minimalism and writing music that puts people to sleep, you should be able to come up with multiple cheerful chaconnes!
Here are the simple rules:
1) The moving bass line should be no more than two bars long.
2) The harmonic progression must be tonal, and preferably something that people hear in their pop music and can hum.
3) Your variations must be simple and simplistic. No going out of the tonal base, and nothing more complex than a few little decorations.
4) The melodic line must be something that even Celine Dion can sing.
5) If you add words to the melody, making it a sung chaconne, it must be about something positive. Bunnies, hugs, rainbows and unicorns would be appropriate.
6) Your cheerful chaconne must be no longer than two minutes and change—nothing so complicated that it makes people think.
Even if your cheerful chaconne doesn’t win a prize, you can always play it (and/or sing it) when you have a house guest who is feeling sad and needs a safe space. Or you can pick up your own spirits by shoving your chaconne where the sun doesn’t shine to make that dark space happier!
Send all sound files to my e-mail address (posted on the home page) as well as your contact information. Please allow six to eight weeks for judging. Your Participation Trophy, which is a virtual trophy, will be e-mailed to you as soon as possible. The winning entry will be whisked by bicycle to Orange, New Jersey, where you will be the judge in a chicken-cleaning contest before your chaconne is submitted to the 32 classical CD labels and 50 classical radio stations for consideration.
Any chaconne with even a smidgen of dissonance will be disqualified. You won’t even get your participation trophy if you modulate the wrong way.
(Note: This post is a satire.)