Bedtime -- Like Nailing Jell-O To A Fencepost

Programmatic; Light; Storytelling

Creative Vision for the Track:
I replied to a posting from Douglas, a member here who is working on a lullaby. I decided to give it a shot as well since I haven’t done much of that recently. I wanted to make sure the advice given stood up and I wasn’t guiding him down false paths.

The lullaby turned into a programmatic piece depicting parents repeatedly attempting to get a young, rather active, child to go to bed. The lullaby morphs into a music box motif which comes back (just like our young protagonist) time and time again; each time slightly faster, in a slightly higher key, and louder.

There is a parental theme as well. While the music box is triadic, the parents’ them uses extended harmonies (e.g. major 7s, 7b9, augmented 9). They are, after all, a bit more sophisticated and learned, right? (At least they fancy themselves that way!) Notice that the ending of the parents’ theme is a deceptive cadence (bVI - bII - I) in honor of their delusional belief the child has actually gone to sleep.

Eventually the child has had enough, Mom and Dad finally get their moment together, but the music box theme, like most children, has the final say.

Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc):

  • The initial tempo is in the 80s but increases every time the child reappears for a glass of milk, a cookie, another tuck-in …

  • Initial Key of Bb moving through B, C, and Eb

  • Music box theme: Diatonic (Bb, C-, F7)

  • Parents’ Theme: Extended / Altered Harmonies, one secondary dominant

Main Instruments used:
Main Lullaby – Toy Piano, Toy Celesta, Glass Marimba (soft), Kalimba, Glockenspeil
Accompaniment – Harp (2 – panned left and right) with Acoustic and Classical Guitar reinforcement; womens and boys choirs; woodwind quintet; string quintet

Lullaby Little One - Stan Bann (ASCAP)

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This is so well done and evokes the theme perfectly

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