Note: You can read my research about the cor anglais and the whole tone, octatonic and nonatonic scales. You can also see my cor anglais post in the listening log, which further helped me get a sense of the instrument.
For my second mythical place and the final example for this project, I decided to portray the Lazy-Luscious Land, known as Cockaigne. However, I chose not to use the latter name, mostly because Elgar composed his Cockaigne Overture to evoke London. Instead, I wanted to portray the imaginary land of luxury and pleasures – almost a parody of paradise. I also prefer the translation of the dutch term Het Luilekkerland – the Lazy-Luscious land, because it shows a kind of dualism between idleness and gluttony. This may also relate the piece to Bruegel’s painting.
I initially wanted to choose the oboe, but decided to use the cor anglais instead. My decision was influenced by the fact that usually the cor anglais is known as a somber, melancholic instrument. I wanted to depart a bit from this musical archetype and also add irony to the piece. Here is the full score:
You can listen to the audio version below:
Continue reading “Example 6: The Lazy-Luscious Land”
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:
Continue reading “Example 5: Čardak ni na nebu ni na zemlji (A castle neither in the sky nor on the ground)”
Note: Prior to looking at my example, you can read my research about the saxophone and Hungarian minor scale, which I used to create this piece.
The fourth example is the one that concludes my musical portraits of the four elemental beings. It is based on the lizard-like Fire spirit – Salamander. Below is the full score:
Here is the audio version as well:
Continue reading “Example 4: Salamander”
Note: Before you look at my example, you can read my research about the flute and the nonatonic scale, both of which I’m using for this piece.
The third elemental being I decided to paint musically is the sylph – the fairy-like spirit of Air, which I think really suits the timbre of flute. Here is the score:
You can listen to the audio version below:
Continue reading “Example 3: Sylph”
Note: Before taking a look at my example, you can glance at my research about the bassoon and the octatonic scale, which I’m using here.
Continuing on from the previous post, the second elemental being I decided to portray is the being of Earth. Now, Paracelsus, the 16th-century Swiss alchemist, who classified the mythological beings as belonging to one of the four elements, assigns the gnome as the creature of Earth, and in fact, he coined the word. (
These small magic beings though, didn’t really match the way I wanted to portray the Earth, although there are wonderful and great examples in the musical literature, such as the Gnomus in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, where as Nagachevskaya points out, the gnome is painted to be a grotesque character, with a touch of tragedy. (I wrote a blog post earlier about Pictures at an Exhibition here.)
Personally, I was inclined to invent a new name for the creature – Khthonios, a Greek word that means underworld, connected to the Chthonic cults, dedicated to the underworld deities. Thus, I wanted this musical portrait to portray a fierce, grand underground being capable of producing the earthquakes.
Here is the composition notated:
Continue reading “Example 2: Khthonios”
Note: Before you take a look at my example, you can read my research about the clarinet and the whole-tone scale, which I’ve chosen to use here.
While reading about how each scale, and especially, each instrument, possesses a unique personality, I was inspired to maneuver this aesthetic aspect and personify it into musical portraits. The subject of these musical portraits, which I thought would really suit this goal, are the Four Elemental Beings. Based on different elements, they are quite contrasting themselves, which allowed me to achieve interesting results. Thus, the first four examples of Project 7 are actually a series, which I called Esquisses for the Four Elemental Beings. The examples are longer than what the brief said, but I believe they fulfill the main aim of the project.
The first elemental being I chose to portray is Undine – the spiritual being of water, usually depicted as female. Here is the composition:
Continue reading “Example 1: Undine”