Monday, 9 February 2009

Names and Dates No.2

Here is number two of my Names and Dates for Piano pieces. I've written four so far and I have gone back and scored number one properly now so it needs re-recording (however the piano I recorded it on has gone even more out of tune now).

You can hear a rough version of number one via this previous post.

I suggested in the previous post I intend to explain the method more clearly soon (when I have more written).

I played this piece on a Fender Rhodes MkII instead, it gives a reasonable impression of what it will sound like on a real piano (also I think the Rhodes needs to be tuned, again, especially low down, it's tricky and time consuming so I have been delaying doing it)

It is the simplest one of the set so far, it's based on the name and the date of birth of my friend Al's newborn son. There are four phrases which are clearly separated, the first three are his names (first, middle and surname) and the last phrase is his date of birth. I wanted to state the facts as plainly as possible and finish (unlike the other pieces which use the usual method of transposition, inversion and complementation, and rhythmic repetition and yes, even some literal repetition).

So no manipulation of sets or rhythms are involved, it's straight through and each phrase has no particular harmonic connection to the other apart from some common intervals (tones and semitones, which can be octave displaced).

The piece is an exercise in trying to relate more or less unrelated material (unlike number one which featured two closely related sets of the same cardinal number, just happened that the name I used mapped that way onto the chromatic scale).

Also given the premise for this series of pieces I have to work with the results of the 'gematria' process (the pitches are determined by their letters and dates by their respective digits) so it's also a handing over of harmonic control to some extent, a limitation to deal with (not something I intend to do a great deal but I quite like the concept and the results so far so I will continue with it for now).

I've attached a draft of the score below (I haven't been using Sibelius very long and I need to work out how to get rid of the time signatures, they are not necessary for this piece as they just make it look more complicated than it needs to be, I can 'hide' them but can't shift the notes along into the middle of each bar)

UPDATE: I worked out how to get rid of the time signatures, better draft score now included below (awaiting some final revisions/checking and/or simplifiations possibly).

UPDATE 2: changed the fermata rests to tied whole notes (clearer than saying rest but with the pedal down, a somewhat convoluted idea perhaps).


Stuart said...

Very nice, Ed - I particularly like the last bar.

Edward Lawes said...

Thanks Stu, I would like to hear it on a real piano at some point (the rhodes is ok but not how it's intended).

It's a very simple piece, it sort of needs to be to make the harmony work (4 disconnected sets more or less mapped from a name and a date.)

I've stalled on the piano pieces for now, done four but ran into some technical difficulties on the one I was writing last, so I left it for the time being, will get back to it at some point.