Posts Tagged ‘rhythm’

Quiet Rhythms and a little bit about the music

March 13, 2014

Quiet Rhythms is an ongoing series of short piano pieces that are written in pairs consisting of a prologue and action. In creating each pair, the action is composed first and is syncopated and rhythmic.  The prologue uses the same harmonic patterns of the action but is non-syncopated or “smooth”.

The prologue is usually performed first before the action of the same number. Each book contains 11 prologues and actions and, currently there are four books. You can view the first page of each piece here.

Here is the opening to Action 1 of Quiet Rhythms:

ImageThe action was written first and then the prologue was derived from it. Prologue 1 below uses the same harmony of Action 1 and, the rhythmic pattern is “smoothed out”. This process is followed with all 44 prologues and actions in Books I – IV.

Image

In this particular prologue, the harmony of measure 1 corresponds to measures 1 – 4 in Action 1 above. Measure 2 here corresponds to measures 5 – 8 in Action 1. Measure 3 corresponds to measures 9 – 12 in Action 1 and, measure 4 corresponds to measures 13 -16 in Action 1. This reductive technique is applied in all of the prologues throughout Quiet Rhythms.

Here is a performance of Prologue and Action 1:

Extraordinary pianists from around the world who perform Quiet Rhythms:

R. Andrew Lee

Francesco Di Fiore

Erika Tazawa

Nicolas Horvath

Elaine Kwon

Organological Classification

November 13, 2009

Book I of African Polyphony and Polyrhythm closes with Simha Arom dividing the functions of musical instruments from the Central African Republic into five different categories:

  1. The most important use is their modal and/or rhythmic support for vocal music.
  2. Sometimes, such as with the Banda horn ensembles, they are purely instrumental.
  3. For transmitting messages that would otherwise be spoken, they use wooden slit drums or whistles.
  4. In order to create a connection with supernatural powers, the community uses certain instruments.
  5. Some instruments are rarely used because they are symbols of spiritual or tribal authority. For example, drums represent the ancestors of the Nzakara.

There are a number of generic intstruments used by many different tribes such as xylophones, harps, the mvet (harp-zither), the sanza, and many different kinds of drums used for rhythm.

There are also vernacular instruments that are exclusively used by a people. For example the Mbenzele and Aka pygmies are known for the end and side-blown Banda horns. The Ngarka are known for the ngombi, a ten-stringed arched harp.