Ms Suncica Lazic, Student ID: Suncica516098 Assignment four
Assignment four Compose a short, two page long Prélude for piano, inspired by Debussy’s own books of Préludes. Choose a number of modes to use and give your piece an impressionist title which can guide your composition. Once you have done this write some programme notes about your inspiration and include some technical details, for example about which modes you chose and why, and how you have used them. Aim to write around 250 words.
Program notes: ‘Qilin’
I have a dual inspiration for my composition named ‘Qilin’ after the Chinese Daoist chimera ‘Qilin’ and the French symbolist painter Gustave Moreau’s painting ‘La Chimère’ who’s work, along with the rest of the Symbolist movement, I greatly admire. Whenever I am in Paris I make a pilgrimage to Moreau’s atelier.
In mythology a Chimera symbolises duality and in French tradition it also represents illusion. The double headed beast seemed like a perfect way of illustrating my composition. Like Debussy, I chose to incorporate an Asian scale, picking a Chinese pentatonic scale (2centsmusic, 2007) which has two harmony notes on each scale degree, i.e. two heads, just like a Chimera.
I wanted to create a composition which remains within one tonality or ‘one body’ whilst having several different ‘heads’. In order to achieve this illusion, I based all my modes on G, the same melody repeating over different G modes. The piece starts with the key of G Major, the melody playing over a G Major triad. The second iteration sees harmonic underpinnings with larger, extended chords.
Next there is a mode change through an added sharp, aiming for the G Lydian mode, making extensive use of the sharpened 4th degree. The chordal texture gets busier with staccato articulations and accelerando brings a greater intensity.
The third section is based on the Chinese ‘dual’ pentatonic G scale (pianoscales, 2012), the melody playing on top of a 4-note chord, before finally returning to G Major for the outro.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure 1. Gustave Moreau (French, 1826-1898) La Chimère (2004)[Thumbnail] At : https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/gustave-moreau-french-1826-1898-la-chimere-4380724-details.aspx Accessed on: (Accessed on 12 March 2020)
Figure 2. Fernandez, P. (2010) Kylin or Qilin, Summer Palace, Beijing. [Photo] At : https://www.flickr.com/photos/nikonpaul/5623362932 Accessed on: (Accessed on 12 March 2020)
Figure 3. Sunny, L. (2020) Assignment Four Composition ‘Qilin’ sheet music. [Illustration] In: possession of: The author: London.
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