Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Scena Saltus

See? I wasn't kidding -- here's the new piece I promised/threatened to post just about a day ago last week (the initial delay was due to not yet having all the necessary software on my new computer, followed by additional changes to the piece over the weekend up through yesterday). It's a brief forest scene, and while birds are usually depicted in music by woodwinds, these are done entirely with percussion -- I guess they're using their beaks. It's not all birds, of course; there's a bullfrog or two, some distant rumblings, and other assorted woodland noises. This piece tells a story, or at least the summary of that story, but I think I'll let listeners decide for themselves what they hear.

If you like the long, repetitive stuff of the minimalist school, this is better, because it's short and repetitive, but in a less repetitive way. And if you don't like that stuff, this is still better, because it's over sooner! (Of all the prominent 12-tone composers, my favorite has always been Anton Webern, in part because his pieces are usually brief -- even when it's done well, there's only so much of that stuff I can take at once. Webern's music also seems to have a sense of humor that I find lacking among his colleagues.) The primary melodic theme here, to the extent there is one, is the tritone -- rising in the timpani and falling in the various "bird calls". The time signature is simply 4/4 all the way through, with no tempo changes, but there are lots of tuplets (3's, 5's, and 7's, some of them nested inside others) and single notes off the beat in imitation of the chaos in nature.

Note: The warning for Perenepsis #5 also applies here, but even more so: this is definitely not the piece of mine to listen to first -- in fact, it may be one of those things that only its creator can like -- but if you want to hear something a little different, go ahead and give it a listen: