I have completed the third movement of "Elements," a piece designed to musically portray the essential nature of the Classical Greek elements, fire, water, air and earth and their astrological implications.
If there is one word that describes the chief characteristic of the air element it is changeable, therefore this movement is filled with contrast. Some of the contrasts I use are, texture, dynamics, articulation, meter, tonality, and orchestration.
The movement begins quietly with primarily a monophonic texture with some instrumentation changes as a way of adding variety. At measure 10, the texture changes to homophonic and there is a lot of contrast of dynamics and metrical feel with the use of the 6/8 3/4 hemiola.
Measure 11 introduces an interesting harmonic technique that I use frequently in this movement. I call it common tone harmony where one note remains constant as the chords change around it. In this measure, the Bb concert remains constant. Sometimes it is the root of the chord and other times the 3rd, 5th or 7th. The chords themselves could be major, minor, augmented or diminished, depending upon my choice of harmonic direction. I even use the common tone as a member of a chord built in 4ths. This gives the harmony a lot of flexibility and works well in a movement where changeability is a characteristic as the chords don't fall into any one key.
The basic melodic ideas go through a series of transformations as the piece progresses and contrasting elements are incorporated throughout. The biggest rhythmic change is from triple to duple meter at measure 52 where there is a contrast in articulation as well. Measure 87 brings the listener back to triple meter and the movement ends with hemiola contrast and dynamic contrast.
I am now using flip pdf technology for the musical examples that go
along with my posts. It uses Flash Player that most browsers come
with. You will be hearing an mp3 of sampled sounds playing the music
and you will see the score at the same time. You will need to turn
the pages by clicking on the arrows at the appropriate time. To see
and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/elements_blog.html.
As always, your comments are appreciated.