Note: This is my third descant. You can see the previous two, here and here, as well as, my general research regarding descants.
This time, for my third descant, I’ve used bassoon and flute, without any percussion, on the theme of West Turkish folksong, Ayçem:
I found percussion unnecessary, not only because there was enough rhythmic movement, but also because of the kind of rustic feeling this combination of instruments provide – as if there are two pastoral pipers playing the old tunes. This may also be partly because of the modal character of the tune.
I use a lot of contrary motion and melodic inversion here. For example, the theme in the bassoon starts with downward C – B – A, and while there is rhythmic imitation in the descant, it ascends with E – F# – G#. In bar 5, as well, we have the movement C# B A C #, while descant inverts this as E – F# – G# – E.
Overall, I really enjoyed writing all three of the descants. Their free-flow not only allowed me to experiment, but also to break away from some of the very stern rules by which I was guided in counterpoint, showing me a new direction I can take. While it is important to know the rules, it is even more crucial to know when to break away from them. In the end, it is music that we are creating.