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This piece is one of my efforts to develop new ways of composing within a modal-tonal context. Everything in it is based the introductory theme, which functions here in a somehow similar manner as dodecaphonic tone row. Variations are produced by traditional polyphonic techniques of inversion and symmetry as well as by serialist procedures.

My idea behind using these techniques and procedures is to preserve interval structures and rhythmic patterns, in order to keep the internal modal-tonal tensions of the theme intact and to play with them.

You will notice that I followed the extreme option to keep the piece strictly diatonic. Chromatic alterations are completely absent from it. No sharp or flat notes at all. In keyboard terms it is for the white keys. I kept to this rather severe restriction because I wanted to explore the internal relations of the diatonic scale.

I had to drop traditional rules on parallels of fifths, &c., however. These rules more than anything else, force the music into the stylistic framework of the classic-romantic era. I followed my intuition in what makes sense here, since much early music is exactly full of such parallels. 

I hope all this doesn’t sound too pretentious or bombastic. It is just an effort, an experiment to be judged by musical criteria. One of my most important motives in writing music and thinking about it, is the complex of problems involved in the concepts of the diatonic and chromatic scales: tonality and modality versus atonality.

Here is the Youtube video url: https://youtu.be/-mP7hPKO4Qg Comments, questions, and criticisms are welcome.

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There is a certain stasis to the tonality.. which can remind one of minimalism in that respect. (One could hear the whole piece {well, as far as I listened - some 5 minutes} as one chord.  The impression is lack of emotional tension - due to its non modulatory -ness. 

Geert, my 2cents on this is that predetermined structures don't in and of themselves create a 'musicality' .. 

Though, as an experiment, some things could be gleaned.  

To me, this was more of a 'vibe', than a musical journey. 

I agree with a lot of things you say, but perhaps in a different manner than you would expect. It is true that in this piece there is a tonalic "stasis", as you call it, because the idea of it was to stay within the rather severe restriction of the seven pitches of the traditional tonal scale. So all tonal variation here is at best variation in modality, and there is a certain modal tension in the basic theme, which is explored by the different appearences of the theme (either recto or in some kind of inversion).

To say, however, that the whole piece could be perceived as one chord is, to my mind, way over the top. Dominant and subdominant harmonic functions do occur in it, although which much less emphasis than in traditional tonal music. This is because harmony in the traditional sense — i.e. explicit harmonic development by means of modulations — is carefully avoided here. It is exactly because I wanted to find another way of doing things that my first concern was to get away from this emphasis on harmony. For it is this emphasis on harmony, which has led Western music into kind of "harmony on steroids" first, and then, subsequently, to a complete dissolution of the harmonic framework. Harmony is the big problem of Western music, which, at least since the beginning of the XXth century, has resulted in its exhaustion and to atonality.

So my intention was to write a more "bland" type music as far as harmonic development is concerned, without giving up on the basic tonal characteristics. This resulted in a type of music which is more symmetrical and shows more episodes of easy going swing (which can be heard e.g. in mm. 158-208) and pleasure in making music, instead of pursuing some agenda of dramatic tension and development. 

This brings me to your "lack of emotional tension". Yes, in a certain way, but, as I perceive it, the piece doesn't lack emotion, or. perhaps better, mood. Its mood is rather joyful.

Nobody would dispute that predetermined structures of themselves don't create musicality. That's not the point of these structures. 

Thanks for this comment. As you see, my long reply is not an attempt to deny or refute your observations, but more an occasion of formulating and making explicit for myself how to interpret my own work. I understand very well that from a traditional way of listening and a traditional concept of harmony my composition seems rather dull at first. But I'm convinced that repeated listening opens up to new subtilities and sensibilities. 

gregorio X said:

There is a certain stasis to the tonality.. which can remind one of minimalism in that respect. (One could hear the whole piece {well, as far as I listened - some 5 minutes} as one chord.  The impression is lack of emotional tension - due to its non modulatory -ness. 

Geert, my 2cents on this is that predetermined structures don't in and of themselves create a 'musicality' .. 

Though, as an experiment, some things could be gleaned.  

To me, this was more of a 'vibe', than a musical journey. 

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