Meditations on a Chord
for marimba solo
This piece was composed for Kevin Romanski. In terms of character, it begins with a slow meditative repetition of two melodic ideas: one appears as single-handed rolls in the right-hand part, and the other is a slowly developing melody played by the left-hand. The phrases of these two ideas, however, do not align and so produce a sort of kaleidoscopic shifting. After an accelerando, the middle section continues developing a similar harmonic and rhythmic interaction between the hands, but in a faster more syncopated manner. After a series of dramatic outbursts, the original meditative quality returns and the piece ends quietly with a return of material from the first section.
The inspiration for this piece came from the contemplation of a C13 chord and the various ways its notes can be regrouped and re-spaced to form different harmonic colors. Although a complete 13th chord contains all seven notes of a diatonic scale, I did not approach these notes as a scale, but as note collections that produce various intervals (harmonic colors) within the chord. These colors were then isolated and allowed to interact with each other as the kaleidoscopic layering of phrases takes place. Eventually, chromatic inflections (B-flat and F-sharp) are added to imitate notes found in the C harmonic series (which also contains a C13 chord). Finally, during the faster middle section, notes outside of the chord (and/or harmonic series) are used for contrast.
Duration Ca. 7 minutes.