Dialects-3 in African Pianism (Earthbeats) Op. 22, 1988, Rev’d. in 1997 Program Notes
Dialects-3 is so named so as to depict its subtle but persistent rhythmic dimension. It uses the same harmonic and melodic syntax as Dialects-2. It is also architecturally structured with boundlessness built in. [Introduction] The Introductory frame consists of five short motives –(a) mm. 1-3/3, (b) mm. 4-11/8, (c) mm. 12-19/8, (d) mm. 20-40/20, and (e) mm. 41-46/6. These try to capture some of the mannerisms of traditional drumming. Quartal sonorities predominant in motive e with the tritone being prominent in motive c. These motives, together with 2 others, are used as bridge materials. Their subsequent appearances in the rest of the piece therefore enhance coherence. [Section A: mm. 55-80/26] After a hesitant start mm. 47-54/8, Section A is stated and elaborated. The quartal syntax again characterizes melodic and harmonic activity. All other sonorities enhance this central core. [Bridge I: mm. 81-93/13] The first bridge passage,combines the essential gem of motive c with a bombastic partial scale passages amalgamated with it. It is dramatically conceived and smoothly leads into motives a & b to usher in the second section. [Section B: mm. 105-146/42] Section B, is characterized by juxtaposed parallel tritones, juxtaposed parallel perfect fourths and tritones as well as a seemingly aleatoric melodic line accompanied by a strict quartal bass figuration, mm. 125-135/11. The antecedental juxtaposed tritones at mm.105-112/8, a derivative of motive b is balanced by a consequential unit that is based upon the following rhythm with attack point durations of (1+2+2+1+1+5). [Bridge II: mm. 147-160/14] The second bridge passage which is based on motive g (new material) of now follows and for a moment, the impression of tertian syntax is created. However, the quartal units that are stuck to the phrase endings cast a shadow of doubt in our expectation.
[Section C: mm. 161-206/46] Section C, is made up of 4-measure spans of rhythmic activity – that is repeated for a short while. The rhythmic interplay between the right and left hands assumes greater interest. The characteristically quartal motivic units in mm. 165, 169, 173, 177, 181, & 185 function as cadential markers. The initial 8-measure statement is twice repeated in full. The 4th repetition is incomplete. After a measure of silence, the 4-measure phrase unit gains momentum. The left hand accompaniment is varied to add extra excitement. The following tonal centers are sequentially emphasized after the stasis phase: Eb, E (m. 189), F# (m.192), G# (193), A (196), Bb (199), C (m. 200) & D (mm. 201). The consequential unit from Section B - the (1+2+2+1+1+5) pattern follows. It follows a sequential downward trajectory to usher in a dramatic moment of solemn religious utterance at a reduced tempo [Section D: mm. 207-215/9]. This Meno Mosso section does not last long but reminds us of our familiar harmonious tertian syntax that we could forever indulge in. A hybrid unit consisting of 18 measures of Section A, from mm. 55-72/18 and the consequential figure from Section B - the (1+2+2+1+1+5) pattern, adding another element of consistency and our not wanting to stay in church for too long as these immediately follows the solemn moment. Our structure thus far becomes essentially: [An Intro, A,B,C,D, A/B] [Section E: mm. 250-307] Section E mm. 250-307/58 is ushered in by the introductory passage consisting of motive b Its two parts are separated by the same introductory material of motive b that prepared it. The 16 measure introductory passage evenly divides itself into two groups of 8+8. The first is founded on E-Bb-Eb in the bass and the second is shifted up a minor 7th - on D-Ab-Db bass foundation. The points of occurences are at mm. 234 and 242, as well as 275 and 283. The bombastic F Section now has its beginnings in the second part of Section E - from the pick-up of mm. 300-304\5 [Section F mm.308-326/19]This is made up of 4 parts: Part I mm. 308-326/19, consists of the amalgamation of motive c mm. 12-19/8 and the bombastic partial scale figure encountered in Bridge I. We may call this motive f mm. 82-84/3. The energy generated within this section is the result of its rapid scale passages - sometimes in oblique posture - repeated right hand chords in the upper register against running scale units in the left hand. [Part II mm. 342-362/21] This is ushered in by segment g that formed the second bridge passage first encountered in mm. 147-160/14 in Section B. It is set a half-step higher - in B rather than the initial Bb. This Part II also contains the seed of Part III as shown in m. 342 - the hanging dotted whole-notes with their preceding acciaccaturas. The consequential sequential pattern (1+2+2+1+1+5) brings Part II to a near conclusion. Three quartal chords in an upward trajectory M.362 usher in Part III of Section G (Recapitulation). [Part III mm. 363-377/15] The potentially bombastic seed implanted at (m. 342), toward the end of Part II now reveals itself. In a step by step upward trajectory, they soars the uppermost register of the keyboard. They starts from Bb (m. 363) to C (m. 364), to D (m. 367) to Eb (m. 368). The figure hangs on a little, then to E (m.373), to F (m. 374) to F# (m. 375) to G (m. 376).the agitation and excitement of this part is also partly due to the hemiola relationships in the second part of each measure within this Part III to make it an agitated climax. [Part IV mm. 378-396/19] This is a return of Part I (mm. 308-326/19) that sustains the energy flow generated in the preceding Part III. Parts III & IV together constitute the climax portion of the piece. [Recapitulation/Reprise] The Closing Section of the piece is from mm. 397 to the end. It is made up of elements previously heard and in reverse order. Section A is first restated mm. 397-428/32 mm. It is then followed by its variant - mm. 429-448/ 20 mm. It has as its basis, the hesitant portion first encountered in mm. 47-54/8 mm. of the Introduction Section. Part I of Section F mm. 448-460/13, follows next for one more encounter with the partial climax material. A final reminder of motives a, b, and c of the Introductory Section is made (mm. 461-483)/23 mm. The now familiar tremolo passage from the introductory section precedes the 3-measure affirmative ending. E. Gyimah Labi North Brunswick, NJ. USA
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