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I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lexicon No. 1 - 2nd Movement - Oxymoron

This the second movement of four of a composition for SATB Saxophone Quartet and Piano. It is commissioned by Louis Sinoff. I am calling the composition Lexicon No. 1 because each movement will be a musical definition of an interesting word. I envision that there will be many more "Lexicon" compositions in my future.

The word for the second movement is Oxymoron. Its definition is "opposite ideas that don't fit; incongruous." My inspiration is the phrase "melancholy gladness," To represent this oxymoron musically, I use two contrasting sections, the first in an Andante tempo (A) and the second in an Allegro tempo (B). The form is ABA'B'A''B''.

The oxymoron goes beyond the contrasting sections. There are incongruous elements within the sections as well. The A section is in 3/4 and the melody follows that pattern. The accompaniment however uses triplets against the duplets of the melody and the harmonic rhythm, exemplified by the right hand of the piano, is in a hemiola pattern of 2/4.

The Allegro "Gladness" section has a melody and bass line that suggest one set of chords and the inner voices doing another set of chords. The harmony doesn't quite fit the melody and bass line. In the second B section, modulation is used to add to the gladness.

The movement ends with a measure of the melancholy followed by two measures of gladness that once again emphasizes the oxymoron.

After composing this movement, I decided to create a poem to go along with it. Here it is:

Oxymorons of my psyche
Buried beneath the surface
Id, ego and super-ego
Wage unwinnable wars

Anima and Animus mirror
Masculine and feminine
Traits waiting to be discovered
As life unfolds

Yin and Yang interconnect
Creating perfect balance
If allowed to prevail
Over surface turmoil

My melancholy floats
Over contrasting rhythms
A shroud of doubt
Added to my sadness

Then gladness bursts forth
The sun shinning through
A break in the clouds
Dancing in major-colored skirts

I often wonder
Which is the real me
The oxymoron of life
Imprisons my soul

Below is the transposed score and sampled sounds in video format. Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

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