Thursday, June 6, 2013

5.) Grandiflora June 6, 2013

Grandiflora is a layering of two transpositions of Messiaen's mode two, also known as the diminished or octatonic scale.  The treble staff melody is composted entirely of the third transposition, while the left hand chords are entirely derived out of the second transposition, assuming I didn't make any mistakes.  I love the sound of these modes together.  Combined they contain all twelve pitches of the chromatic scale, so technically I could have created any kind of harmony with this combination.  But there's something about the strength of each of them alone.  The chords are so interesting to me, and so are the melodic shapes found within the scale.  So I rarely thought about the melody adding a different quality to the chord.   Rather, the melody seemed to float over the strength of the harmony.  In fact, for the second half of the piece, I simply took the phrases from the first half and transposed them up or down in minor thirds so that the intervals remained the same and the pitches were still from the same mode.  That resulted in some unusual notes, but I thought they still worked nicely.  I also employed Messiean's technique of non-retrogradable rhythms in the rhythm of the chords.

The title refers to the variety of many of the roses that are planted in our yard.  They are beautiful this time of year with fresh blooms and minimal disease and insect damage.  In fact the whole garden is looking pretty happy right now.  June is good.

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