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"The Wafel Waltz"

Title The Wafel Waltz
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Chamber Orchestra
Date22 July 2003
StyleWaltz (Presto - Andante)
KeyG - Bbm - Ebm - Bb - A - Cm - Fm - Ab
TempoPresto (180 BPM) - Andante (80 BPM)


A musical score excerpt
  • Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Bassoon;
  • Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone;
  • Horn in F, Trumpet in Bb, Trombone;
  • Keyboard (Harp GM47), Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Double Bass, Drums;
  • Mallets (glockenspiel, vibraphone), Percussion (bar chimes, tambourine, triangle);
  • Strings (Vi1, Vi2, Va, Vc1, Vc2).


The Wafel Waltz is a surrealistic waltz for chamber orchestra. It is in three-part form: after an introduction, full of pedal point, the main theme is presented cheerfully in G-Lydian mode (m. 32). Its first appearance is somewhat hesitant and suddenly interrupted by a tonal sequence (m. 42). Then it is presented in full length (mm. 64-131). The complete theme has the form a1-b1-a2-b2, with the b-sections in Bb-minor and Eb-minor and in dynamic contrast (louder) wuth the a sections.

The middle section starts as a tranquil Andante (80 BPM) in Bb (m. 132), with juxtaposed orchestral sections. It gradually builds up to a dominant F7 chord, before introducing a graceful second theme (m. 164), that however is derived from the main theme. This is stated twice, first in Bb and then in b (m. 172). A re-transition (m. 181) takes us back through a sequence of symmetric roots, to re-introduce the waltz mood and modulating towards the new key.

The third section (m. 188) is in the original tempo and presents the waltz theme, now in the key of A. All the a sections have been harmonized and orchestrated differently, the b-sections have more orchestral density, compared to the first section. In general there is more tension and dissonance (imagine this Waltz being played at a fair, a Belgian Kermesse, where as the night sets in and the mood is inhanced by strong beer, the crowd gets louder, more lively and there is the occasional bit of aggression).

A final return of the tonal sequence (m. 297) leads us to the Coda (m. 303), with increasing chaos and dissonance. As the Kermesse comes to a climactic close, there are last roundabout-rides, cheers, and drunken mobbers. In a whirl the piece seems disoriented and before tumbling closes sudenly in Ab (unable to decide between G and A).

The string section requires at least six players (2 violins, viola, 2 celli and string bass); in case of a full string section, use division instead of double stops.