Careful What You Wish For – Prelude to Sonata

The Sonata Engine

I was only a little way through my series of 24 preludes when I was forced to take a bit of an unintentional detour.  I had been posting each newly minted prelude to a music forum I was following at the time. When I posted my Prelude 6 in c# minor it quickly became a forum favorite.  Everyone suggested that I stretch it out into a longer form.  At first I resisted but I finally turned my 45 second prelude into a piece of music over six and a half minutes long.  I called it “Careful What You Wish For” and posted it back to the forum.

Did any of you catch the recent movie that was based on a book that was based on a short story?  I loved the short story but couldn’t make it through the book.  I didn’t bother with the movie.

I have found that with many of the arts what works in a short/small format usually doesn’t translate well to something a bit larger/longer and vice-versa.  A gem of a story can become a bore of a book while a mess of a cluttered story might be turn into The Great American Novel.

This is true with music.  The ideas that are used to create a symphony can be a bit of a drag if used for something shorter while a theme used for a short piece might not have enough meat to support a symphony.

So I was nervous trying to use material created for prelude to make something larger.  But I decided to give it a try.  Once I got into it the music just developed on its own.

When I wrote the prelude I had just finished doing an in-depth study of the Romantic era of music.  So, as with any good prelude, I based it on an idea by Bach and fleshed it out with thoughts of Chopin but  a modern interpretation.

For the longer piece I decided to run with it and have fun.  The idea couldn’t go too far on its own so I made it the first theme of a sonata form composition.  Actually, I should say a “modified sonata form”.  Oh, there are so many details I’d like to bring out, but this is neither the time nor place.  Suffice it say I was pleased with the outcome.

So pleased, in fact that I decided to drop the name “Careful What You Wish For” after that one post and make it the first movement of a four movement sonata.  This sonata is still one of my favorite pieces I wrote.  As mentioned elsewhere, I use the third movement scherzo as my cell phone’s ring tone.

So, I think if you are careful it is possible to create a short form and a long form version of something using the same basic material.

What do you think?

(Edit 9/22/14 – Here is third movement from the sonata, the scherzo)



Drawing and music by Trent P McDonald

15 thoughts on “Careful What You Wish For – Prelude to Sonata

  1. Pingback: Careful What You Wish For #tanka | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. Pingback: Piano Sonata in c# minor 1st Movement | Trent's World (the Blog)

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. I like that one better in a lot of ways, but the 3rd ,movement is shorter (not everyone has a long attention span ;) ) and I think a little more accessible to the average person.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Piano Sonata in C# minor 3rd Movement – Scherzo (Video) | Trent's World (the Blog)

  4. mariaholm

    Today I heard at my classical radio channel P2 from the Danish State’s radio that they want us to send new music written after year 2000. The public will then vote on the different pieces. The length should be 3-5 minutes long. I would like to send your Sonata all movements. Would you send me the links and when it was written ? Then I will further it to The Danish channel.
    I need the titles and a little about your thoughts on it
    My email is


    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks! Actually, these days I’ve been concentrating on more pop-like music and have been writing mostly for electronic instruments. A few weeks ago Isao Tomita, who was known for performing early 20th century classical on a synthesizer, passed away. In the near future I plan on starting to make electronic versions of my classical music and start composing more – it’s been a few years since I’ve written any “serious” music.

      Thanks for listening!


  5. M-R

    Shit a BRICK !!! – you are a man of many parts, Trent ! I’m very impressed indeed by this music of yours – in fact, my mouth is hanging open … My sincere compliments: I can’t think of a single silly thing to say !


    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Wow, to leave you without anything silly, um, I mean witty, to say is an accomplishment I’ll brag about for years to come. Thanks! Up until a few years ago, when I started writing and found I couldn’t quit, I was (self) studying to be a “serious” composer.


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