Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2 - " ... balances"

The Second Day - and I'm already running out of titles!

I have tentatively labelled this piece " ... balances" due to the very delicate balance of melodic and harmonic forces between the hands at the piano in this piece. (You'll notice that the melody is switched from the right hand to the left hand quite a bit. That requires a literal shift in not only thinking on the part of the pianist, but also a mental shift as well.)

As in the previous piece, this seemingly tonal piece is chock-full of dissonance - most notably in the intervals of sevenths and seconds - my favorite intervals.

Die-hard tonalists - you may want to sit down for my next statement: Depending on the treatment, dissonance can be quite beautiful. OK - I tried to sugar-coat it. All dissonance is beautiful in music. Sorry, I'm just like that.

OK - tonalists go grab a cup of coffee and take my name in vain from the kitchen so I can't hear you. To the rest - we are taught from an early age that dissonance is bad. After all - it is about 'dis-cord.' "Dis-Chord?" How can we think it good with that kind of start.

But it is.

Sound is beautiful. Really. All sound is fantastically beautiful. It just depends on how we treat it, use it, insert it, etc.

When I was a music student in my conservatory days back in the early 17th century (OK, it only feels like I'm that old!) dissonance was considered bad. Historically the tri-tone (the "Devil's Interval") was outlawed in every music theory class, early 15th & 16th century composers would be banished (or worse!) for writing 'un-treated' tri-tones, and, even jazz was not allowed to be played in 'serious' settings. (I remember trying to get away with playing the Gershwin "Three Preludes" on a piano jury when I was a freshman. No go. Now they are rightly considered legitimate 20th century gems.)

I've always written with dissonance. Perhaps it is my personality. Perhaps it is gas. Who knows ...?

I hope that you will enjoy my 'balanced' dissonance. Tomorrow I'm thinking a piece for bassoon and piano. Something fun to change the palatte. Just have to find a bassoonist that likes to get up around five am!

Robert Ian Winstin


  1. Go Robert, go!! I will be watching and listening from Germany. All the best!

  2. Robert, your inimitable sense of humor and poetic wit shines through here. An inspired piece!


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