Etude for a Dreamer by Jennifer Thomas


Jennifer about her Etude: “ETUDE FOR THE DREAMER is track 1 on my new album. This song took me about a year to finish – reason being, I don’t often write songs in one sitting. I will start something, let it peculate for a while, and then come back to it. I’ve found this the most effective way to compose for me, because a) my skills improve over time, b) I find new inspiration, and c) the piece develops more maturely than it would otherwise.

I knew when I started composing this piece that I wanted it to be the opening track to the new album. With this in mind, it helped me develop a theme that would grab a listener’s attention from the get-go. With the way I created the opening sequence of the song, you hear a minored keyed pattern being repeated- which I really wanted to make someone feel anxious or excited for what was to come.

When I was writing this piece, my family and I were living in a home that was out in a wooded area with lots of evergreen trees. In my mind, I saw a foggy mist over a forest of trees and someone walking through that mist, perhaps lost in the surroundings. This is also where I got the idea that this piece was sort of a dream-piece in nature, hence the title.

Not only was I mentally/visually inside of a deep forest when writing this piece, but technically speaking I was very much wanting this piece to be a show piece. I can say that it is one of the hardest pieces to play on my entire album, and possibly one of the hardest pieces of music I’ve ever composed. When recording in the studio I have the luxury of starting over if I make a mistake, but in a live performance this is not so. I have had to really practice this piece a LOT in order to perform it live – and I have yet to have a perfect performance of it in a live setting.

With wanting to really showcase my classical training and ability in this piece, I drew my inspiration from one of Classical music’s greatest composers: Frederic Chopin. He was the king of writing pieces that were skill-strengthening and yet so creative, fresh, and beautiful. He wrote 27 Etudes in his lifetime. If you aren’t familiar with what an “etude” is, it is a piece composed to concentrate on a specific skill; an exercise, basically. Each of Chopin’s etudes concentrate on perfecting finger or technical ability on the keyboard.

The piece that particularly inspired me was the Etude No. 12 in C Minor, Op.25.”