Balloon Drum Music for Small Ensemble #17

This piece is made up of 17 short pieces based on a journey through the tonality diamond. They each consist of a vamp and a bridge. The vamp is in the same key for several measures, and the bridge follows a set of rapid chord changes as shown in the list below.

otonality on 16:9 - B♭

otonality on 8:7 - D+
utonality on 3:2 - G♮
otonality on 16:15 - D♭
utonality on 4:3 - F♮
otonality on 1:1 - C♮
utonality on 7:6 - E♭
otonality on 16:9 - B♭
utonality on 5:4 - E♮

I’ve split the 16 notes in the tonality diamond scale into four tetrads (four note chords).

Tetrad otonal ratios
A 1:1 5:4 3:2 7:4
B 9:8 11:8 13:8 15:8
C 17:16 24:16 25:16 29:16
D 19:16 23:16 27:16 31:16

Tetrad utonal ratios
A 8:7 4:3 8:5 1:1
B 6:15 16:13 16:11 16:9
C 32:29 32:25 32:21 32:17
D 32:31 32:27 32:23 32:19

The piece is is based on the vamp and bridge on each of the four tetrads, one at a time. The first one is based on the four notes of the ‘A’ tetrad, 1:1, 5:4, 3:2, 7:4 relative to the root key of otonality on 16:9 – B♭. The bridge is then played on the 8 keys in the list above. The next time, I play the vamp on the ‘B’ tetrad, 9:8 11:8 13:8 15:8, and the bridge is based on the same chord changes listed above, but on the ‘B’ triads on those o/u tonalities. Then we move to the ‘C’ and ‘D’, and back to the same series for a total of 17 short pieces across the cycle of tetrads. Each piece might start with a short set of chords to introduce the tonality, and end with another to close the piece out. Or it might just start right up at a faster pace. When it has a short intro, it sets the mood for that piece, based on chords in the chosen tetrad. There is never a time when more than four notes are played at the same time, except for different octaves. Some of the pieces are as short as 17 seconds, others are as long as 90 seconds or so. They all have a different rhythmic structures based on masking and arpeggiations.

The piece is scored for different collections of instruments. Each of the 17 pieces can include a woodwind quintet, finger pianos, and balloon drums in different combinations.

Published by

Prent Rodgers

Musician seduced into capitalism.