It feels good to be composing again! After a break of a few months for vacation, arrangements and performances, I am now working on a piece for Jason Laczkoski, saxophone and Andrea Verdoorn, percussion. Both are at the University of Iowa with Jason working on his doctorate and Andrea completing her Bachelors in percussion performance. They wanted a piece based on Gypsy music, so after some internet searching. I decided on a three movement piece called "Goulash". The movements are called "Chalga", "Flamenco", and "Czardas".
The title is a Hungarian stew but the word is often used to indicate a varied mixture. I discovered that Gypsy music is indeed a varied mixture. There is a wonderful article about Gypsy music at http://people.unt.edu/jw0109/misc/gypsy.htm for anyone interested in finding out about its origins and development. The Chalga is a form of Bulgarian music a mixture of Balkan folk, incorporating a blend of Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and Roma (Gypsy) influences, as well as motifs from Balkan traditional music, even flamenco and klezmer music. It is known for repeating musical themes and dance rhythms and its style of dancing called kyuchek in Bulgarian. Many chalga hits were Greek or Turkish, covered by Bulgarian singers, often in more complex musical arrangements. The word chalga originates in the Turkish word çalgı (pronounced "chal-guh"), which means "playing" or "music". Indeed, the movement is derived from the art of the chalgadzhia (derived from the Turkish çalgıcı meaning "musician"), a type of musician who could play virtually any type of music, but added his own distinctive beat or rhythm to the song. (source - Wikipedia)
I decided to write my Chalga in 5/8. I am using a scale associated with Gypsy music which is in G minor G,A,Bb,C#,D,Eb,F#,G. There also a lot of ornamentation in Gypsy music. I have written about 16 measures using the instrumentation of Soprano Saxophone and Marimba. It will be fun to see where this takes me.
To see and hear what I've composed thus far, go to http://www.cooppress.net/goulashblog.html