Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sonata Zero for Solo Guitar

Since I have now figured out the solution for the conclusion of the second movement Ricercare, this four movement sonata is essentially complete. I am already performing the third movement Scherzo at my gigs, and memorization and learning of the fugal finale is proceeding nicely.

For a history of the development of this Ricercare, see my four (!) previous posts on it here, here, here, and - finally - here. These posts were back in January, so I obviously have had quite a bit of "trouble" with this piece, and it has taken a long time to come up with the solution. The "wait" has been worth it.

The previous finale was a relative major version of the stretto which concludes the final Fugue and the Sonata. As I listened to the entire four movements, this became unsatisfactory for two reasons: 1) Hearing this stretto here in the second movement diminished its effectiveness in the finale, and 2) The vioces at the top in measure 47 - the beginning of the ultimate episode - were not connected with and/or "brought down" in the Shenkerian compositional sense. The more I listened to this piece alone - and the sonata as a whole - the more I noticed those things, and the more they bothered me.

Instead of reviewing the entire piece yet again, I will simply post the new final page:

The final episode has not changed: It still reaches the tonic at the beginning from a C# dominant seventh chord interpreted as a subV7/I at the end of the previous page (A German Augmented Sixth chord in trad lingo), and it still presents a harmonized form of the subject of the Ricercare in augmentation to arrive at the dominant of G for the beginning of the recapitulation.

Now, however, I have replaced the stretto with an inverted and slightly modified version of the entire exposition: Even the mode is inverted. The "Eureka!" moment was when I realized I that could play the inverted form of the subject in the high octave while sustaining the dominant pedal if I used harmonics: It's actually fairly easy. Unlike the exposition, the recap has suspension chains in it, and the inverted Ricercare subject morphs into the rectus Fugue subject over its three iterations. The decending chromatic line in the middle voice of the penultimate measure is a nice bit of whacky weirdness which fits with the overall outlandish nature of this Ricercare (Compared to the stately and noble concluding Fugue, that is).

I have put MP3's and PDF scores of all four movements of Sonata Zero on my Downloads Page if you'd like to hear it.


The resolution leaves much to be desired, but the idea of this "Mandelbrot Canyon" is great.

I'd like to see a larger version with several times the resolution.


Got to remember to work on my flexibility.


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