advanced permutation / sequence
Advanced? Well, perhaps the only things really advanced on this page, from the discussion on the first permutation / sequence page, is that the intervals between pitches get can larger and the sequences longer, involving more pitches. Thus a bit more of a difficult thought process to sustain. Otherwise we are still mainly concerned with the rearranging of the elements of an idea, to permutate, then create longer phrases by filtering the idea through various structures, i.e., to sequence. In the following examples the tempos are brighter, the harmony is generally written to include upper color tones while the bass part often pedals. Thus, in using these artistic combinations we reduce the effect of tonal gravity, encouraging these advanced permutation ideas to go where they may.
So, the elements in a sense remain the same, mostly diatonic with some chromatic enhancement, while the advanced part here is probably more about the strengthening of one's thought process coupled with an improving technique? Yeah, some of these ideas can be a bear to play, let alone make musical, although just knowing the theory / vocabulary of the elements often used can help a lot in generating your own ideas as your sound and concept evolve over the years. Perhaps go back and explore the interval studies if the following ideas prove too far out there.
To begin, lets create an idea from some of the pitches of the C major scale. Example 1.
Sound familiar? Cool, we can permutate the two pitch motive in bars 1 and 2 idea into a 4 note cell and slip this motive into our melody. Example 1a.
This next idea sequences the above idea upward diatonically through the pitches of the major scale. We are simply using the intervalic formula of the idea and push that through the pitches of the major scale. This transfer of the intervals of one idea on to other pitches is more often than not a key part of this process. Here is a chart transferring like intervals to other pitches. This lick would be said to be built in diatonic 3rd's. Example 1b.
|G / E to A / F||B / G to C / A||D / B to E / C|
Purely diatonic ideas to tend to be rather gorgeous yes?
Through the harmonic minor scale? Sure why not. Example 1c.
Hear how the non diatonic pitches from the minor tonality blur or interrupt the sense of tonal direction of the line? Cool with this?
Let's re - permutate the motive of this last idea by inverting some of the pitches and sequencing it. Example 1d.
So, a lot can happen to 2 pitches yes? Click here to hear all of the above lines together.
Have a sense of the organic development of the motive through the various permutations and sequences? Starting back with our original idea, lets take the response part of the idea and work some magic. Here is the original line. Example 2.
Extracting the 4 note idea in bar 23, we permutate with 8th notes and simply cycle on the Four and Five chords. Example 2a.
This last idea is pretty common in all of the American styles, simply repeating the lick verbatim up a whole step, a basic way to climax a solo. Same idea in 8th notes. Example2b.
Here we permutate our 4 note group in 3rds and move sequentially upward towards the eventual tonic C major, creating a gradual climax in the music. Interesting perhaps in that although the intervals are mostly downward 3rd's the line ascends. Example 2b.
Simply reversing the direction of the line. Example 2c.
Here we combine elements of both of the last two ideas, coupled with a different permuation on beat 3 of each measure. Example 2e.
And so forth. Getting a sense of what is happening here? Yes, there is a potentially ton of shedding when moving through these studies. So cool in that when applying these techniques the lines get longer but often stay within a comfortable range. Click here to hear the last set of permuations evolve. Example 2e.
Octave transposition. These first set of thematic permutations simply to take selected pitches from a melodic line and move them up or down one octave. Here is our original theme. Example 3.
Now apply octave transposition to pitches of the theme. Example 3a.
Interesting eh? For creating exciting lines, we can move pitches up or down an octave then fill in this octave space with diatonic or non diatonic pitches and catch back onto the line. Using diatonic pitches. Example 3b.
Cool huh, add non diatonic tones? Of course, we do it all here. Example 3c.
Holy cow, that changed in a hurry! Yeah, adding in a bit of chromatic enhancement can change things in a hurry. Compare the sound of the last group of permuations. Example 3d.
Sequence. These next ideas look at running one idea through a few of the more common sequential patterns. Here we simply take one motif and sequence it through various means, looking for coolness. Here is our original 2 pitch idea, permutated into 4 notes and sequenced diatonically, probably the most common way of sequencing an idea throughout the various styles of American music. Example 4.
Repermutation of the above idea, simply altering every other episode of our sequence. Example 4a.
In this next idea we simply move our idea up by half steps, repeating the exact intervals of our motif. Example 4b.
Simply reversing the direction of the line. Example 4c.
Here we move in whole steps. Example 4d.
Repermutation of the last idea. Simply flipping the pitches of the second episode of each measure. Example 4e.
Where can we use this type of motion? Well, just about anywhere we want to blur the direction of the music. A common approach to blurring an idea simply moves an idea by half step while following the changes of a tune.
Here the evolution and effect on the motive of these last few ideas. Example 4e.
So, have a sense of taking an idea through a few of the permutation and sequencing techniques? Are there other musical devices to use in these processes? Can we apply the filtering concept to melodic treatment? There a lots of books written about ways of configuring and reconfiguring our melodic resources. Perhaps ask a musical friend, teacher or the folks at your local music store to suggest a title or two. Here is a link to the bookstore at The Berkeley College of Music in Boston, one of America's premier programs for the study and advancement of the various American styles of music.
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We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
Oliver Wendal Holmes