Posted in Project 7: Examples in Different Scales

Example 5: Čardak ni na nebu ni na zemlji (A castle neither in the sky nor on the ground)

Note: Before you glance at this example for Project 7, you can read my research about the recorder and the chromatic and double harmonic scale here.

For the remaining 5 scales given in the course material, most of which are a different version of the ones I already used, I decided to create 2 examples titled Two Mythical Places. Utilizing more than one scale for each mythical place (two for the first and three for the second) allowed for a bit more elaborate themes and narrative. I think the title is quite fitting, since these scales themselves have a kind of magical and ethereal feel to them.

The first mythical place I’ve chosen is one from a Serbian fairy tale – Čardak ni na nebu ni na zemlji, which translates to – A castle neither in the sky nor on the ground. Without getting too much into the story itself, I just wanted to paint a vision of this peculiar floating castle. The instrument I chose is the tenor recorder, whose overall sound is quite afloat to me – neither high nor too low. Here is the full score:


You can also listen to the audio version:

The overall form is the ternary ABA1. The A section (bars 1-4) is based on the chromatic scale, though not the full range, but only Ab-C. The slower and long repeated pitches combined with faster chromatic notes, all in the high range of the instrument, give quite an interesting, eerie effect. Since in the tale, this is a dragon’s castle, I think it’s quite fitting. It also contributes to the theme of floating. Maybe to some this might also even represent the dragon itself.

Although I used meno mosso for Section B (bars 5-11), the theme actually seems to remain in the same tempo, since the quaver note that appear here add more rhythmical movement. In fact, I first wrote this for the interesting 2+2+2+3 (9)/8 time signature that is often used in Balkan, however, that didn’t work out too well and I found it to interrupt the flow from the first theme. Instead, I kept the quaver notes with syncopation as a little nod to the rhythm. The double harmonic scale is also quite often used here in Serbia, which works really well with syncopation. The scale is based on C – C Db E F G Ab B C. I noticed that in the previous examples from the Esquisses for Four Elemental Beings, I never really used the melodic progressions, especially between two steps, directly. Instead I avoided them with interval jumps, only filling in the gaps occasionally. That is why I decided to compose a melody where the properties of the scale, in terms of tone, semitone or tone and semitone, are heard directly. I would categorize B as a long 7-bar sentence. Note that I switch to 7/4 only briefly for transition, which provides a bit of a surprise, yet suits the theme.

Finally, in Section A1 (bars 12-19) we return to the chromatic first theme. Now it is repeated 2 times with variations. Here I played with shifting the register, from high to low and the other way around. Again, it fits in illustrating this mysterious castle. I am a bit worried whether or not this part is actually playable, as well as the dotted rhythm with repeated pitches. I also read about the limited dynamics on the recorder – usually from mp to mf. Although I did put on a forte sign, including some crescendo and decrescendo, it’s mostly only to guide the performer.

Overall, I think this is one of the prettier short pieces I’ve composed. The theme is also quite catchy, but calm, the latter of which I don’t usually compose. Next to that, I really enjoyed combining two different scales within one piece to create a distinct atmosphere. For the final example for this project, I will use three scales to portray another mythical place. Click here to see it.


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