Part 4, Uncategorized

Balkan mirrors

This is just part of coursework on imitation in counterpoint rather than a formal assignment.

The short piece for descant recorder, orchestral cimbalom and tubular bells experiments with both inversion of notes and is quite strictly retrograde (with the exception of some dynamics).  Writing retrograde music has some ambiguities for percussion instruments – assuming a longer note tails off, and is not to be ‘acoustically’ reversed then the accents fall against different notes in other parts.

The audio file generated by Sibelius is probably easier listening than apparent from the slightly formidable-looking score:


Cimbalom chimes retrograde – Full Score



The basic writing is founded on the note layout in the bass part of the cimbalom where two whole-tone scales are opposite each other, displaced by a semitone.  This means that for easy beating of fast music, alternative notes can be chosen from each whole-tone scale.  The impression is nearly but not quite twelve-tone, and I supplied some missing notes in other parts but have not gone to the extremes of avoiding any repetition before completion of the ‘series’.

To enhance further the Balkan element I have written for the recorder some quarter tones (there is a whole book written on these and published by Moeck).  In a sense this ‘permits’ the recorder to play ‘out of tune’! Unlike the arabic or Turkish ‘makams’ elsewhere on this site, these notes lie centrally between the two neighbouring semitones.


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