I’m Richard, or @you-had-me-at-e-flat-major , and I’ve been invited to @musicainextenso to talk about my own compositions as well as my composing process. Over this week I’ll be presenting 4 compositions. In general I like to explore different styles in my works, sometimes emulating existing composers, sometimes experimenting on my own. I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse the poor recording quality, all of the compositions I will present over this week use synthesised instruments in their recordings. That being said, I’d like to start with a piano piece, whose synthesised recording doesn’t actually sound half bad, called Cerfs-volants (French for kites).
My intention for this piece was to create an impressionistic piano piece based on the style of Debussy, and I chose to write a piece evoking the image of kites. The most difficult part of writing this piece was finding a beginning theme. In order to do this, I attempted to emulate some of Debussy’s trademarks. Debussy frequently used alternative harmony such as whole-tone scales and extended chords including major 7th and major 9th chords, which led me to base the introduction and first few themes on tetratonic scales (ex. D♭-E♭-G♭-A♭-D♭, bars 1-6) and major 7th and minor 7th chords.
The piece was written in a non-standard form: Introduction-A-B-C-D-Introduction-A1-Coda. The introduction and A theme were based on the tetratonic scale and 7th chords. The B and C sections serve as contrast. The B theme consists of various major 7th and later minor 7th chords, shrinking to 6th chords, major triads, suspended chords and augmented chords, all played over an ostinato, followed by arpeggios. The C theme is starkly different: it consists of very strong, ff arpeggios in C major. During this, the note A♭ is gradually added to facilitate modulation to Fm for the next section.
One difficulty faced was returning after much harmonic development in the B and C sections to the original tonic key of D♭. I achieved this by adding a slower D section of arpeggios based on F minor, gradually adding G♭s to facilitate modulation via an A♭7 chord back to D♭ for the recapitulation.
In order to prevent repetitiveness, I did not recapitulate much: only the introduction and a modified A theme. A coda followed: a series of arpeggios in D♭ and A♭7, ending with an elongated section of D♭ arpeggios with the pedal held.
Enjoy! - Richard B. ( @you-had-me-at-e-flat-major )