With that out of the way, here's instead something about the weather. ☺️

It's "Rain" by Marc Copland.

Copland's playing is unique, I think, in the way he not only leaves the diatonic harmonies behind for those of the diminished scales, but actually goes beyond that into… I don't know what exactly?

On this track, this other-ish harmonic flavour of his is a bit more subtle, with him just occasionally hinting at it.

Also, just for fun, four quick pieces of the garden.


More . Edging outwards harmonically, here's another of Copland's compositions: The Bell Tolls


It's similar to Rain in several ways, which makes for an interesting comparison in how the mood of the track is affected by the less typical harmonies.

In the piano solo, the overloading of whole modalities over one another becomes very obvious, with the characteristic sound of three or more chromatically adjacent notes (disregarding octaves) sounding simultaneously.

Here's another one with Copland, but this time the song is Stanley Myers' Cavatina originally written for the film The Walking Stick. (Actually.)


In the piano solo here, and in comparison from the previous two tracks, the movement away from traditional diatonic harmony is sort-of complete.

And where we've arrived now is very reminding of Paul Bley's piano playing. So…

…why not? But let's not with Bley's rubato playing, since Copland's is quite similar.

Here's an odd one instead: All the Things You Are from the album Sonny Meets Hawk.


Just having Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins on the same album is… well, fun.

But Bley's piano solo on this track is just something else. It's one of those where you hear it once and WHAT ON EARTH IS HE DOING and you immediately lose a week turning it inside and out. Hearing it I'm still bewildered.

Well, I spent a lot of time in these places harmonically while still on the pianist track. There was something about finding a way to make clashing harmonies sound sweet that I just couldn't stop trying for.

Even though "sweet" might not be the right word for Bley's shenanigans, I admit.

Here's an even older example, where Bizet is (mis)using the minor mode rules to get C#, B# and B sounding at the same time. It works! It's weird.

Ears out at 1:16 in the YT link here: youtube.com/watch?v=WhlQ_zeuF3

I guess an extreme form of making what should be clashing notes sound sweet could be like Ben Johnston's string quartets, for example:


But that requires leaving even the chromatic scale behind, entering a world of… relativistic pitch, I guess you could call it? That's not what I wanted, plus it'd be hard to enact on a piano.

I'm actually not sure if whatever I was looking for is possible. It might have been an artifact of my synesthesia, or what I think is a form of it, where harmony, colour and flavour/shape are linked. In other words, I might have been looking for colliding sensory inputs. And you can't create that with just a piano.

However, adding the dimension of time, it's possible to get glimpses! Just be clever about how you weave your lines into the warp of harmonic progression.


Another example of this kind of weaving, this time a lot more easy on the ears, is Django Bates' cover of With a Little Help From My Friends. Especially the second half.


I think what is happening is that we're so used to the original harmonies, that when something else happens, what we hear actually conflicts harmonically with what we were expecting—while literally sounding "clean". So it sort of fulfils the purpose of colliding inputs while still sounding sweet.

I remember looking for this "non-colliding collision" as early as upper secondary.

Here's for example a 5/4 or 10/8 vamp I made back then, playing around with the opening notes of Pat Metheny's Bright Size Life.

Bars 3 and 4, the left hand F# is just lowered into an F. And in bars 7, 8 it is held for the whole bar, so there's _almost_ a clash with the chords above it containing either F# or E.

This audibly suggests that sound of three simultaneously sounding chromatically adjacent notes.


Here's a quick sketch playing around with this idea. The "home" key is kind of an F# mixolydian, but there's quite a number of excursions into… I think it's D dorian?

After a while with these kind of overloaded modalities, it starts to feel like it doesn't matter what I do. Everything sounds nice.

[reposting as public]

…but come to think of it, I guess it depends on how you define "quick". That must have been like 6–8 hours of work. Which was unusally little! The virtual drummer I bought a while back (AIR's Strike 2) really speed things up. Now I just design the groove and pull on the knobs a bit to get away from the copy-paste drum loop feel.

Only nerds and robots repeat the same bar twice. 😁

Being so short it could actually work as a wackier Windows 10 Mobile-style ringtone. I'm going to try and use it.

Yeah, and since I can't seem to finish anything longer than 90 seconds, maybe I should just embrace the miniature format and make ringtones.

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