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I was fooling around with some Messiaen modes trying to find ideas this week, when I noticed that a certain transposition of his third mode had a couple of mirror points on the piano. The pitches of this mode are [D Eb F Gb G A Bb B Db D]. If one starts this scale on D and plays it in contrary motion, the right hand ascending while the left hand descends, the intervals are symmetrical and the hands mirror each other. Later I discovered that certain transpositions of all Messiaen's modes actually have mirror points on the keyboard.
I thought it would be fun to compose a piece in which the hands mirror each other throughout. It was interesting because often times I heard something I liked for one hand, but wasn't crazy about what the mirroring voice had to do. I had to either change my original idea, or accept it and move on. About halfway through composition process, I remembered that I haven't done much with non-retrogradable rhythms for awhile, and I thought that they would work out quite poetically with the mirroring idea. So I simply used measure 15 as a mirror point and then retrograded the rhythm of the first 14 measures. This also made for some interesting phrasing, especially in combination with the mirroring pitch structures.
I naturally gravitated toward one of few mirrored structures in the scale that had a strong tonality, that of G-flat major. As it shaped up, it seemed that the piece became movement to and from G-flat major. I enjoyed the experiment and wouldn't be surprised if I revisited the mirror idea before this project is concluded.
It feels good to be working at home again with my usual instrument and equipment.