stevenpaul wrote:Hi Chris,
Thanks for sharing your wonderful technique with us! You could have jealously guarded your secrets and profited from them exclusively, but I think you've done much more to vitalize the field of musical composition by sharing your logical yet quite intuitive approach.
This raises an interesting point though which I thought about during the early stages of developing the technique. At first I thought it might be a kind of "gold mine", with only a very select few strong melodies being suitable potential sources of a great inverted melody. As I tried it on lots more pieces during the last couple of years I've realised that there should be thousands of great inversions out there waiting to be discovered, far more than I could ever hope to cover in my lifetime, so that's why I'm perfectly happy to share the idea (plus it could increase the popularity of Inner Version as well if the idea gets picked up by music magazines / newspapers / etc).
I still find it a bit baffling that there is only one well known example of the proper chromatic inversion part of the technique, especially considering that Rachmaninoff's 18th variation is amongst many people's favourite classical pieces of all time.
stevenpaul wrote:You propose doing exactly that, but to reorder the interval content in such a way as to produce ostensibly new thematic material. Then, by combining inversions of different pieces, the resulting work is a unique creation, as far removed from the original source material as any other piece.
Yeah, and the bonus of doing chromatic inversion is that it's virtually impossible to tell the two melodies are linked without actually going through and working out the inverted forms on the piano. For example, you could play my piece "Us Prisoners" and the Radiohead song "No Surprises" to anyone and they would struggle to identify that the pieces were so closely related (certainly anyone unaware of inversion anyway).
It's hard enough to identify a simple exact inversion like the one above by listening alone, but once you start combining several inverted melodies and layering them (plus small modifications), it's even harder to identify the link even when going through and manually trying to find them.
stevenpaul wrote:One question that occurred to me was whether there are limits to the type of source material. Would the technique be applicable to less tuneful sources, such as, say, the music of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, or Messaien?
So far I've found no limits at all: for my Piano Sketches album, there are inversions of a wide variety of music, everything from folk songs (Scarborough Fair), classical music (Clair de Lune, The Lark Ascending), rock music (by Radiohead, Queen), jazz pieces (So What, Misty, Rhapsody in Blue), even music from the Nintendo 64 game "Zelda: Ocarina of Time"!
The piece "Cambric Clouds" in particular from that album contains the highest number of inversions so far and also the greatest variety in style of the source songs, yet it illustrates that by modifying the rhythm and chord sequence where appropriate, a coherent piece can still be achieved. I was actually playing a little game with myself for that one, to try and see if there was any limit to the number of source pieces that could be used
For my current Reflections album that is due to be finished in March or so, each piece contains inversions of at least four different Beatles songs from their entire catalogue (i.e. a variety of different styles).
I'd certainly be interested to hear your results with atonal / twelve-tone pieces, and also any of the other entire genres of music I've not looked at all yet (see part 4 of the technique guide for some of the suggestions).