Saturday, November 23, 2013
28.) Full Spectrum November 22, 2013
Full Spectrum is an experiment utilizing three or four of Messiaen's techniques. I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with the outcome, but I'm glad that I am comfortable enough to experiment in front of you like this.
The explanation of what I did is going to get very heady - sorry for that. There is one of Messiaen's modes that I have had trouble using. It is his fifth mode, of which the first transposition is [C Db F F# G B C]. I find this mode very limited and restricting, probably because there are only six pitches in it. But I wanted to make use of it, and I did so by creating a row out of these pitches. But rather than construct melodies and chords out of the row, I used it as a guide to determine the root of the chord I used. I used several transpositions of the row and it's inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion.
Then I created a row of chord qualities, choosing chords that are triads with added notes. These qualities include a major triad with a raised fourth added, major triad with a lowered third, major triad with a lowered second, minor with a fourth, and minor with a natural seventh. The row was a sequence of eleven of these qualities, a prime number.
Rhythmically, the piece has four symmetrical, non-retrogradable, sequences, the center of each phrase marked with a 3/8 measure with a dotted quarter note. The sequences are further defined with a different pedal point under each.
I am happy with the concept, but I might like to hear it orchestrated for an ensemble of some kind. Or I would like to have more time to practice it, getting the soprano voice to speak clearly. My dissatisfaction with the result here is mainly due to the melody being lost. It's difficult to bring out the melody when many of the chords have close intervals in the top of the structure. I'll keep trying.