In my Spaghetti Dinner Night group, we decided to research and perform the song titled “River Flows in You” by Yiruma. The song itself is subtle, but a little unpredictable with the melody and harmony. In addition, Yiruma is a highly awarded and accomplished composer.
Yiruma (Lee Ru Ma) was born on February 15th, 1978 in Seoul, South Korea. He started learning how to play piano when he was five years old, moved to England in 1988, graduated Purcell University in July 1997, and is now a composer and pianist. Yiruma is the first Korean artist to be invited to perform at the 2002 Marché International du Disque et de L’edition Musicale (MIDEM) in Cannes, France as well as the first new age artist to sell out over ten Korean cities for a world tour. The musical era
in which ‘River Flows in You’ was produced in the 2000s era, and one of the trends is to listen to classical music in order to relieve stress. The original song is a piano solo with a simple repetitive melody, but the song we will be playing has been arranged for three flute players and four clarinet players by Mimi Chen. Some of Yiruma’s famous songs include “Kiss the Rain,’ “River Flows in You,’ and “Maybe.’ They all have different melodies, but they are all also flowing and subtle.
The melody goes up and down in eighth and sixteenth notes and it is played straight at first, but then swung using dotted eighth notes. The song’s texture is homophonic, meaning that there is a melody and a harmony. The parts are arranged so that the melody of sixteenth and eighth notes is backed up by the harmony of chords that are in half and whole notes. There is variety between straight and dotted sixteenth notes. Furthermore, there are repetitive rhythms with slight discrepancies.
The song itself is written in sonata form which means that there is exposition, development, and recapitulation. The flutes have flowing, delicate high notes whereas the clarinets have whole notes with rich tone. ‘River Flows in You’ is meant to played in a dramatic and flowing style which is similar to the notes themselves.
Overall, “River Flows in You” is an interesting song with many moving parts, and was composed by an equally interesting composer named Yiruma. The song was made with care, and the result was a very delicate, flowing, and subtle piece.