Rhythm and Structure
I wrote "Blue Laws" (Kevin Young settings) during covid or shortly before covid. The premeire was in Salzburg. There was another performance (2020?) in Copenhagen. Carman Moore was there in Copenhagen at the time, but he couldn't make it to the show. He and his friend Lennox Raphael form a Greenwich Village expat community in Copenhagen. I was devastated that Carman could not come to the Copenhagen performance of "Blue Laws". Joan & I visited Carman and Lotte at Lotte's place near Copenhagen. Great thanks to Yvonne Zehner, the Gunnar Berg Ensemble and Jens Rossel!
Last fall, Cygnus did Carman Moore's monumental "Swans Across the Milky Way" for The Village Trip at Loft393 in Tribeca. It (Swans) is not like anything else in the world. One might need the score, but there are bluesisms in "Swans", stuff like -- B-G#-B - Bb Gnat - Bb - A -F# -A - G# and the E (tonic triad), but it's embedded, easy to miss. The fatal flaw here is that the guitar is in another universe, should be much more prominent.
This year, The Village Trip launched Carman Moore's "A Village Triptych", commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund. The premiere was at the Salmagundi Arts Club, presented together with the wonderful Simic settings by Aleksandra Vrebalov, featuring the brilliant and charismatic baritone Joseph Keckler.
This blog is about the fortuitous similarities between my "Blue Laws" and Carman's music. Elsewhere I characterize Moore's strategy as "take Blues, make strange". That's exactly what I did in "Blue Laws". It might have been about a year before I met Carman? No--Carman's piece sat around a bit. He wrote it and covid delayed any movement on it. I could not absorb it until we rehearsed and performed it.
In "Blue Laws", I extracted the minor pentatonic floating over the last bars of a 12-bar blues ending with I7 VI7 II7 V7 I. That's a common alternate ending for the blues progression. Minor pentatonic over the I7 is weird, but we get it. It's super bluesey. But that same minor pentatonic scale over VI7 is more far out, by three transpositions by 5th. "Blue Laws", my Kevin Young settings, take the "absolute value" of that harmonic relationship and puts it into phrases that instate phrase weightings. --->
This report is about rhythm. Set forth the harmonic materials, then let rhythmic structures fall over them very much like they do over blues improvs, twelve tone materials and tonal materials. The harmonic materials are like strewing viscera on the ground to be interpreted by a a Shaman. Rhythm is the Shaman. The rhythmic structure is more public, more collective. It's the Saussurean(?)/Chompskian brain-structural tendendies(?).
In Ouropia, what I'm getting is an isorhythm from measure 1.
It is instated in measure 1 and later recalled/reinforced. Next, any bluesey things hanging around can be set in rhythmic stone. The bluesy things can appear in rhythmically prominent positions, *at structural points*, in Ed Cone parlance -- in the fashion that Ed Cone discusses so well. These are landing places that we remember better than what happens mid-phrase. **Landing places garner structural weight**.
I do same in my "Blue Laws'.
Back to this when I understand it better and when I can feel out more ways to make it more simple.