Music » The Mirror

Duration 5:48
Completed July 2008
Download the mp3


"The Mirror" is an attempt at heavily structured music, and an excuse to play with synthesizers and effects.

The entire piece was grown out of the basic structural idea /a/a/b/a/ and a desire to create fractal symmetry by replicating this structure at every level of hierarchy. The song can be divided into 4 equal sections, the first, second, and fourth are similar while the third provides some contrast (a, a, b, a). Each section in turn can be divided into 4 equals "blocks" where again the first, second, and fourth are similar while the third contrasts. This process of subdivision continues down to the individual notes in the bassline.

(maybe this would be easier to explain if I drew a picture...)

Looking at it from the bottom up: At the lowest level there is a 4 measure repeating bassline (E - B - A - G) and harmonic structure built on top of it (E minor - G Major - A minor - G Major). E minor and G Major share 2 notes in common (both parts of a E minor 7th chord), so theses closely related chords are the /a/, while A minor provides more contrast and serves as the /b/ chord. This bass figure repeats 4 times, but in the third repetition the chords change (A minor - E minor - F major - C major). So this forms a higher level, 16 measure /a/a/b/a/ pattern.

These 16 measure blocks are then repeated to form yet another higher level, where the /b/ section inverts the major/minor relationship (E major, B minor - A major - B minor). And from these 64 measure sections the highest level /a/a/b/a/ pattern is formed, where the /b/ section transposes the entire pattern up by a perfect 5th as a reference to common practice period key modulation.

From this "road map" I then of course took a lot of artistic liberties and bent the rules. The arrangement/instrumentation was not locked into any particular pattern. But the rules were very helpful: I found working within the limitations of this structure to be a very refreshing way to compose. I wasn't confronted with endless difficult choices. And I could be wrong about this, but I think the underlying rules make the music more comprehensible to the average listener. Maybe I'm deluding myself but I feel this song has a larger possible audience than most of my other work.