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No, don't think that I'm self conscious ; but I'm just doing that in the evening, sometimes very late!Thus you'll find here some examples gathered on my way since Christmas of 1996, when I got the Encore score editor, which lets me really hear what I imagine and, therefore, improve my music (hopefully).
To display the PDF scores, you need:
Bacchanale Agricole   (95 KB)
Did you imagine it's possible to mix up some ancient pattern like a Landini cadence (here explained by Margo Schulter) with a theme taken from The art of fugue? That's what you'll hear in this kind of joke that I imagined after having discovered the style of Alexander Agricola, when listening to his three parts counterpoint on O Venus bant. Thus I've combined his style, and then the beginning of his superius with parts of Bach's themes. Both of them would have done a better job, indeed, but they have had no chance to meet each other. Don't laugh to loud when hearing this unison a few bars after the beginning, it's one of my very first pieces!
Pavan C'est bon début
My first attempt at a more or less Renaissance-like style. There are still several faults, according to books. Generally I'm not so carefull about them (because I've had only very bad books until... quite recently: see my bibliography), nevertheless I must admit that some remaining problems can be heard quite clearly in this piece...
Suite Dame la lune   (375 KB)
"Au clair de la lune mon ami Pierrot..." (a moonlight story). This is a well known song, at least here in France. This whole suite is built around it, thus I'll have no copyright problem! I've written that in January of 1997, and it remains one of my preferred pieces, perhaps because I've really worked one musical idea rather thoroughly.
Bach source éternelle
A kind of joke about Bach's name. My first idea was to make a pavan with the notes B A C H, but I realized very soon that I would be unable to make it sound like a pavan. I noticed that the end of the bar is ending a half tone upper than the beginning, and thus I decided to copy-paste-transpose until arriving at the cadence on the 5th ; then I had just to write a transition bar before repeating the whole section, and then again as many times as whished (while doing that I was thinking about a famous book talking of Bach and Escher). At the end I used some other theme of this last counterpoint of The art of fugue ; it doesn't really sound like an end - that's what I wished here - because of the 6/4 chord (I was told sometimes that I use it too often).
I liked the mood in the piece above, thus I used some part of the cantus, putting again the notes B A C H in the bass part. I was myself amazed to hear a rather modern sound (or quite harsh if you don't like it), something which I usually feel quite far from.
Quatre biciniae :
After having asked some question on the net, a real composer (J.Q.: thanks!) kindly advised me to practice two-parts voice leading. I thought that it was easier than writing for three voices, but the reverse is true, because anything naive or akward is heard quite distincly (there are such problems in these exercises, indeed). I was (too?) quickly fed up with this kind of work, but nevertheless I think it has been usefull.
Vivaldi in Hollywood : Tutti Diminutions for alto violin
Perhaps the very first idea of some slow movement of some concerto... someday ; don't be anxious, it might never be written :-)
We shall overcome
A small double canon, imagined from the beginning of this well known song (which hasn't any copyright, or am I wrong?). It's not an exact canon until the end ; later on, I bought and then studied some facsimiles in the booklet Motteti novi by Antico, and I was able to write a better (?) double canon.
This is more or less inspired by the French national hymn. The beginning now sounds quite poor here and there, because I wrote it for brass. Then, I don't know why, I listened to the piece with a piano patch, and from this point it obviously sounds better on the piano. I like some strange dissonances, though I don't really understand them, because I've nearly no knowledge of harmony (you've surely noticed that I'm writing mostly counterpoint)...
Devant toi Seigneur (726 KB) (72 KB)
This is an exact double canon - at sixth and seventh - on a rather simple theme. For the first time I felt that a little bit of emotion could be heard in my music, and that's why I've put some words on it (I feel quite unable to translate ; it's about the day when we'll see the Lord: too big an idea for my English :-) The end is like this: "Death isn't any more, I am!")
I thought people might sing it the day I'll be burried, but of course I hope to have some time left to do a better job :=)
I wrote this piece after having transcribed a few songs in the booklet Motteti novi by Antico, got from Minkoff editions (free advertising... unfortunately!).
Diminutions (185 KB)
Upon the song Ninguno çierre las puertas, by Juan del Encina. I tried to take in account a remark by Bernard Thomas (cf bibliography, Companion to medieval & renaissance music) which brought much light to me:
The best examples of decorated pieces usually conform to the general aesthetic that underlies much abstract instrumental music (and a great deal of vocal music) of the Renaissance, by which the pacing is carefully controlled. Bassano's outstanding versions of chansons such as "Un gay bergier", "Susanne un jour", and so on, fastidiously control the degree of rhythmic excitement: each phrase of the song has slightly more ornamentation than its predecessor, leading to an impressive roulade at the end. This is exactly what the theorist Zacconi advises when discussing diminutions. However this principle of progression works on two levels; that of the piece as a whole, and that of the individual phrase, in which again the greatest amount of ornamentation should come at the cadence. This sounds like common sense, but in my experience it takes musicians of today quite a long time to acquire a sense of this structural aspect, presumably because they are brought to assume that structure is entirely the responsability of the composer.
Upon the song Triste Espagna, by Juan del Encina.
Gervaise's moonlight (96 KB) Sermisy's moonlight (83 KB)
Tu le savais (1.3 MB) (150 KB)
Nothing to do with renaissance, and full of "mistakes"... that I like : unisons, direct or consecutive consonances, unprepared dissonances, fourth chords... However, it's still a mystery to me why the last passage (midi file - mp3 file 251 KB - mp3 stream) doesn't sound harsh and even successes (for me) to be heard as an end - after all, it's a sequence as strange as D2-G2-D2-Bb2 --> D2-G2-G2-D3 --> A1-D2-A2-E3 (!) --> A1-D2-G2-E3 (!!) --> A1-D2-F#2-D3 :-)
Title to be found (1.7 MB) (163 KB)
A sort of time travel (an idea for the title?) : it begins renaissance, and then I've done what I was wishing to hear, that goes from Machaut to nowadays.
Two of the four parts are a canon at the fifth till 3 measures before the end. The most important problem I have is that I'll have to find words, for it really sounds better for voices... It's only a first part, one or two other ones might follow.
Isomoon 1 (134 KB)One talks of isometry when one part, at least, is reproducing the same rhythmic pattern, which nevertheless may change melodically (mensuration may also change). At the end, by listening to a CD by Van Nevel, I've tried to mimic some strange chords written by Machaut in the final cadence of some of his motets... Indeed I haven't understood all about isometry, but... talea jacta est :-)
Bicinium (126 KB) Guitar version (107 KB)
After Isabelle, a Swiss recorder player of my friends, has asked me to help her finding easy duets scores, I found this theme that made me have another sleepless night ! Unfortunately, the range of the bass part is too large to be played on recorder.
But it sounds good on guitar (though the begining is very high!).
Canzon a 5 La Fuxana strings voices brass (*)
(*) to enjoy this instrumentation, you have to get a wonderful french horn soundfont on this site !
separate parts B (117 KB) T (115 KB) Q (119 KB) A (127 KB) S (117 KB)
In Jeppesen's book on Palestrina's counterpoint, I discovered the original theme of the motet Ad Te Domine by J.J. Fux, and I slightly changed it to make it sound like a canzon pattern.
About the end of the piece: for a long time I've been wishing to write my first plagal cadence, and my motivation still grew after having listened to the one written by Victoria in his motet O magnum mysterium - amongst the more beautiful ends I've ever heard! You know this standard disclaimer: good points should be credited to the teacher, anything else comes from the pupil - that's not bootlicking, he's dead :-)
Pavan Vulnerasti (work in progress)
After a small introduction, the tenor part, and then other ones, make hear augmented fragments of a theme by Buxtehude : Vulnerasti cor meum, first piece of the sixth cantate in the cycle Membra Jesu Nostri.
Gloria supra Rompeltier Obrechti (6 KB) (1,1 MB) (203 KB)
I've read that this melody, used by Jacob Obrecht for his famous four voices setting, was a Flemish popular song. I'm using a part of its superius in my turn, as a starting material for this small piece ending with my second attempt of a plagal cadence, the result of which result makes me rather happy :-) (the standard feeling just after having finished)
As an extra, a small joyfull Amen, with the same melody in the bass part.
voices1 voices2 piano (3 KB) (372 KB) (111 KB) I might use it some day...
Telemann's Moonlight (yet another work in progress...) (854 KB)
(German flute + G German flute + cello)
Starting point: during a summer course we were taught how to unbuild a piece by Telemann,
that is, to find out his style of ornamentation, in order to add some similar ornaments at other places. Applying this method to several other pieces by him, I realize that the underlying melodic frame is often quite simple, for instance a fragment of game, or a progress by thirds, etc.
Ah... thus, would it be enough to add many notes to such a very simple frame, to get some music? Let's try that... thus I take once more my Moonlight song, and here we go! For this one, of course, I dare to use four sounds chords in all positions, and I then notice that the counterpoint becomes easier, since these various positions allow to find at every moment a solution to any melodic problem!
Haiku perpetuum I (53 KB) (2 KB) II (52 KB) (2 KB) III (54 KB) (2 KB) IV (56 KB) (2 KB)
Canonical jokes :-)
Van Eyck's moonlight (93 KB) (4 KB)
Don't ask me with which recorder it can be played... :-(
Moonlight whistle (104 KB)
Claire fontaine whistle (78 KB) (3 KB)
These two small pieces, though, can be played...
Pavane Si mon désir (89 KB) (3 KB) cuivres