"Shin Do Fu Ji" means "one with nature", or "man and nature not two". I spent a long weekend in Philadelphia at the Strengthening Health Institute studying macrobiotics with Denny Waxman. It was a very inspiring weekend. My wife Akiko and I will be spending about one weekend a month there this year, completing the Master Your Health program. We're really looking forward to it. Anyway "Shin Do Fu Ji" was one of the things we studied. It's essentially a benefit that we humans as a group can attain if we live a natural way of life in accordance with the laws of nature. I thought the phrase made a nice title.
For this piece, I used Messiaen's second mode (the diminished scale), in a slightly different way. One of the things I love about mode two is the combinations of triads that can be formed, particularly major triads. So I made an organized list of all of the major triad combinations, in all the three transpositions:
Then, I decided to number the columns randomly (notated on the bottom). I used the numbers as a sequence, like a row, freely choosing among the three transpositions. In this way, I had three choices for each chord, and was free to use any inversion of those chords. Most often, the melody guided my decisions. After I had a nice piece of music, I decided to repeat it and ornament it with another layer. The second layer follows the same formula.
I think the sound is nice. These are some of my favorite sounds that Messiaen used himself.