SEVEN/ELEVEN (2004) – 14′
Piano Duet (4 Hands)
music of Philip Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams, the so-called
minimalist composers. I was immediately drawn to their music and it
helped me find some direction for my compositional style, which was up
until then primarily influenced by jazz, popular music and 20th Century
guitar composers such as Brouwer, Rodrigo and Villa-Lobos.
didn’t want to simply imitate the minimalist composers so instead I used
some of their techniques and merged or developed them further. ‘7-11’
is probably my most strictly minimalist ‘process’ piece and so a number
of processes are found in it.
The first is the use of additive
time signatures which go firstly from 7/4 through to 11/4 and then from
7/8 to 11/8. This additive time signature technique is often associated
with Philip Glass, but I had coincidentally used it in an early guitar
piece ‘Rollercoaster’ before I’d heard his music. (‘Yeah, sure you did’, I hear you all
The next technique which I’ll call ‘additive and
subtractive chords’, is the gradual addition of notes to a phrase until a
large cluster chord is created and vice versa. In other words the first
time the phrase is in octaves or fifths then as the phrase is repeated
one or more extra notes are added until a dense cluster chord is created
then it gets pared down again. With each time signature change comes a
new cycle of additive and subtractive chords which occur simultaneously
with additive time signatures. With each time signature change comes a
change of the primary harmony.
I also occasionally use additive
and subtractive rhythms whereby rhythmic lines are gradually elaborated
or reduced by the addition or subtraction. This is a technique often
associated with Steve Reich which he got from African music.
techniques drive most of the piece until towards the end when I use
Polymetric Cycles whereby repeated phrases in two or more different
metres are played simultaneously until the metres meet up in cycles.
This is a technique I thought I’d invented and was so proud of my
discovery until I found out that Dusan Bogdanovic got there
before me, long before me in fact!
While all this technical mumbo
jumbo may make it seem like this is a cold mathematical piece, I
created it all quite instinctively and was very conscious to ensure it
was musically direct, rhythmic and harmonious. In saying that there’s no
story to the piece, there’s no profound meaning or symbolism to be
pertained from it. It’s just a piece of music for your listening
pleasure or displeasure, depending on your taste.