Friday, July 23, 2010

Invention in A Minor v5.3

This piece is now "finished." I put the quotation marks there because pieces like this tend to get revised over succeeding years - sometimes radically - but it is complete as it is, and I'm quite happy with it. One of the things I like about composing with dispassionate and lifeless notation based MIDI sequencers is that if I like the way it sounds in MIDI, I know a well performed version will be even better.

Here's the m4a sound file:

Invention in A Minor

This is actually version 5.3, as you can see, so it really didn't take all that many versions to get it done.

There are no changes here, so if you want a rundown, see the previous post.

The changes start at the first stretto section in the subdominant minor region. Previously I had both the 2.5 measure delay and the 1.5 measure delay stretti here, but I decided to save the closer one for the upcoming dominant minor. This was the breakthrough idea that allowed me to complete the piece, because I hadn't saved anything for the dominant previously.

There are no changes to the episode starting at 17 or the relative major statement starting at 20 either.

This episode starting at 23, however, is entirely new. The inversion of the major mode statement does not work due to a leapt-into major second - which is an augmented second in the minor version - so this was a natural place to put the harmonized subject in the bass with a melody in the lead. Sounds cool in MIDI, but it would be a PITA to play. Since this is primarily a compositional exercise, though, that's of little practical consequence.

At 27 we get the dominant minor statement with the closer stretto, and this also gives the piece a melodic climax at the C in 28. By saving this for the peak, we get a dramatic pause under it as the next subject statement begins, which sounds nice tres cool. Since the piece is 48 measures long now, 48/28.5= 1.684, which is just about as close as one can get to the Golden Mean of 1.618. Nice, huh?

Saving this stretto for this point also makes it out of kilter vis-a-vis the bar lines, so at the conclusion of the section in 31 I was able to use another nice contrapuntal/rhythmic acceleration lick into the final episode: quarter-eighth, quarter-eighth triplets, and then dotted quarter-sixteenth, dotted quarter-sixteenth. I like this effect, and in performance I'd probably swing the dotted quarter-sixteenth sections anyway - so it doesn't sound so stiff - so the transition is super-smooth.

From the final episode that begins at 32 until the end is the same as the previous version...

... so if you are new to this series and have any questions, check out the previous post.

Now that this has got me exploring some aspects of rhythmic variation in counterpoint - something I'd like to develop more as it's has heretofore been one of my weaker points - I believe I'll write two-voice inventions with all of my previously composed subjects. Series work like this is a great way to develop compositional technique, and after my eighteen axial studies and twenty-four figuration preludes, a series of inventions would be a logical step.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting to read your thoughts re: midi as prime tool for composition. I agree, you can't keep a good tune down.

9:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home