Saturday, October 23, 2021

Perenepsis XVII: Chorale

Okay, so I said not to expect anything else soon, but I was digging around in the scraps of the abandoned original Perenepsis IV (which has no relation to the posted Perenepsis IV) yesterday and started playing around with parts of it, which led to this, although it contains none of what was already in that particular manuscript, so all of that is still there as a potential source for more material. This is very straightforward both structurally and harmonically, although like the preceding installment (which is not a waltz), it's also in 5/4 -- and coincidentally, is also not a waltz. I'm not sure it's really a chorale, either, but it's close enough for me to call it one. I could also call it a penguin, but that would just be goofy.

Now, I could promise a new piece next week, but if I did, chances are that I'd have nothing. Or, I could say again not to expect another any time soon and end up posting a new piece next week, so I think that instead what I'll do is say nothing and leave everyone guessing, including myself.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Perenepsis XVI: Cantus Tenebris

 This is getting ridiculous now -- nothing for over nine months, then two in two days, and another a couple days later. I'm not sure how this all came together so quickly, but this is the other main idea from the former Perenepsis XIV score. The old score contained two versions of the beginning of this idea, one in good old 4/4, and this one in a 7/7/9/7/7(/7) pattern (mostly), which I found more interesting. It's kind of a theme and variations, or more like 8 restatements of the same basic idea, based on a sort of Gregorian chant-inspired motif. This, together with the dark nature of the material, gives us the subtitle Cantus Tenebris. It starts out in A minor (mostly Aeolian mode, though -- no raised 6/7 until the end of the third time through, which is the only four-bar cycle) for four cycles, then three times in E minor (again, more Aeolian at first), then back to A minor for the final time through. This is actually the oldest of the three recently posted piano pieces, at least going by when they were started, and in terms of length, at 5'21" it's almost exactly halfway between the two others.

I guess this piece might sound pretty gloomy, but as I mentioned in Reverie, my music doesn't always reflect my mood at the time, and this is one where it definitely doesn't. I'm not really sure where this came from, other than that I liked the first two bars, and everything else arose from that, and there was no way to make it into a snappy little dance tune, so it is what it is.

The funny thing is that during the long gap of no new pieces from December 2020 through this October, I hadn't done much work on piano stuff; a lot of work on the symphony and a few different things for string quartet (I thought I had finished one of the quartet pieces but then decided the ending was too abrupt), but the Reverie idea came to me and I had to finish it for some reason, and then finding the old Perenepsis XIV score with four separate ideas in it (I decided to discard two of them, one of which was just an odd chord progression that was more interesting than entertaining, and a twisted waltz theme that maybe needed a little straightening out) led me to flesh out the two more substantial ideas there.

Now it's back to the strings and orchestra; there will be no continuing flow of daily or weekly posts, which is probably more disappointing to me than to anyone else.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Perenepsis XV: Not a Waltz

Nothing for nine months, and then two new pieces in two days? Here's what happened:

Reverie was actually finished (as in no more tinkering at all) for a couple weeks before I finally got around to posting it yesterday, and a couple days ago when I decided to declare it part of the Perenepsis series, I wanted to make sure which number came next. It should've been 14, but when I looked through my manuscripts, I found a 14 sitting there already, and to top it off, it contained bits of four different ideas. Instead of going out of order as I've already done a couple times, I decided to make Reverie #14, yank out one particular idea from the old 14, make it 15, and retain the rest of the old 14 as 16.  Now that that's all cleared up, on to the piece itself.

It's in 5/4 (except for a 7/4 at the end of the first half and another at the very end), hence the subtitle -- while it's also not a lot of other things, a waltz is one of the things it's most not, even though part of it is rather waltz-like (while still not being a waltz). The overall form is ABAB(A), the last A in parentheses because it's highly truncated. The A section is in Gm/Dm, and the B section (the part that's waltz-like, but not a waltz) is in Eb/Ab. Like Perenepsis XIII (Tapping), it has a lot of grace notes, this time to make up for the fact that 5/4 isn't a naturally graceful time signature. When I yanked it out of the original #14 manuscript, only the first 8-10 bars had been written, but once I got back to it, spurred on by having finished Reverie (and having made good progress on my G Minor Symphony), the rest of it came together pretty quickly.

Something I recently noticed is that my titles have been somewhat inconsistent in regard to the Perenepsis series -- Some have a descriptive name as the main title with the Perenepsis number as a subtitle, while others have the Perenepsis part as the main title with a descriptive subtitle. There's a reason for this: The main title is whatever name I come up with first. If I start out writing a Perenepsis, that's the main title, and I try to come up with something descriptive as a subtitle (with varying degrees of success, as shown by this one's subtitle). Other times, as with Reverie and Uncertain Time, the descriptive title comes to me first, and I decide that it's a Perenepsis while writing it -- sometimes early on, and other times toward the end. If anyone besides me was wondering about that, there it is.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Reverie (Perenepsis XIV)

The music I write is often contrary to my mood at the time of writing it. I've written calm pieces when having excruciating back pain, and dark stuff while in a pretty good mood. This one, though, I think pretty much reflects my frame of mind when it was written. As mentioned in my previous post, Hurricane Ida came along and delayed work on everything for a while  Power out for three weeks during the hottest part of the year, internet out for about four weeks (with intermittent outages continuing for a couple more weeks), but I think I kept that out of this.

Things still aren't quite back to normal -- whatever that means these days, anyway -- but they're getting better. And while I said that I didn't let the storm affect this piece, I think it may have, particularly the ending, after about the 7 minute mark. Not so much the storm itself, which was not a whole lot of fun, but the sense of relief and thankfulness that it wasn't worse.

In terms of form, it is loosely structured (as indicated by the title), with three primary recurring motifs, along with reworkings thereof. It's mostly in 4/4, although about one third of the bars are in other time signatures -- mostly fives and sixes, with a stretch of threes and a few stray sevens. It's hard to say what key it's in, but it's not atonal; it just shifts a lot. The most certain thing about the tonality is that it definitely ends in E Major, if that helps any... which it probably doesn't.