Wednesday, September 4, 2013
16.) Stuck Unstuck September 4, 2013
For this one I'm working with two transpositions of the second mode, which is the diminished or octatonic scale. The right hand chords are derived from the second transposition, the left hand from the first. An additional organizing parameter was used, in the area of intervals. The left hand and right hand intervallic structures mirror each other. This is different from Attraction (July 25) in that here the mirroring is not concerning the geography of the keyboard (if that makes any sense at all).
The combination of these two organizing parameters (the scales and the interval structures) limited my choices quite a bit. As I worked, my process evolved into this: For each of the four bar sections, I first composed the melody, then filled in right hand harmony with mode two, second transposition. Then I inverted the intervals and found appropriate notes for the left hand in mode two, first transposition. What it came down to was choices between left hand structures that were a minor third apart.
For the improv sections, I decided to improvise with the two modes. In the first open section my right hand continued with the second transposition, with the left hand continued with the first transposition. In the second open section, I flipped the two. It is quite sparse and simple, but I am improvising with polymodality, which felt like a good brain exercise.
The title seems like a stupid reference to the composing process. But I'm actually referencing my general feeling the last couple days. This is a great time of year in NYC. The weather cools a bit, the air seems clearer. It reminds me of three memorable moves in my past. One, moving to NYC (gulp) eleven years ago. Two, moving to Brooklyn seven years ago. Three, moving downstairs in the same house in Brooklyn two years ago. All three moves were exciting. Late summer/early fall is the time when I'm sad to see summertime ending, but also looking forward to getting back into the routine and getting some work done. It's bittersweet, and it can leave me feeling stuck and then unstuck quite rapidly.