Diabolic dance : violin and cello duo
by John Peterson (1998)
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Library shelf no. 785.712/PET 1 [Available for loan]
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While much of my music is influenced by rock and popular music styles, as well as by other contemporary 'classical' music, I am also very fond of using octatonic scales as source material for various works. In Diabolic Dance, I have used an octatonic scale which has only three transpositions, and the melodies and harmonies of this piece are derived from these so-called Modes of Limited Transposition. By combining these three modes in various ways - both individually and simultaneously - a tension is created and sustained throughout the various sections of the piece. This tension is heightened by the rhythmic interaction between the instruments. This instrumental interplay is sometimes playful, sometimes rigorously aggressive and often quite intricate, with many changes of time signature and heavy use of displaced rhythmic accents creating many 'diabolic' problems for the performers.
The title also refers to the 'diabolus in musica', the medieval name given to the tritone (the augmented fourth), an interval that is emphasised throughout the piece.
Diabolic Dance was written especially for my good friends Christine Myers (violin) and Eleanor Lewis (cello).
Instrumentation: Violin, cello.
Duration: 6 min.
Some of the material for this piece came from a 1991 piece, called 'Dance No. 2' for clarinet and cello.
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