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Two different tempos in the same time.

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Hello everyone. This is my latest composition, and it is first one made for two pianos. It has some really interesting features. First one is that players are playing in different tempo. Jelena is playing in tempo 64 and Dimitrije is playing in tempo 39. They have earbuds in their ears with metronome. I choose tempos that are in golden ratio, and I wanted to see what kind of poly-rhythm I can get with that. Of course, I am not searching for some ultra precise figures, rather I am looking for unexpected rhythmic relationships, because every performance is different, because the other player can never start playing at the exact same time. 

Second important thing is that this piece is canon, so everything that Dimitrije plays in the low register, Jelena plays in higher, and because Jelena is starting one minute behind, she  eventually keeps up to Dimitrije right until the very end, and then they are playing simultaneously chords, everyone in theirs own tempo.

This setup was very interesting, because it forced me to think differently about melodies and the harmony when I composed the music, and also I can say that I am very satisfied with the result, and I will make some more compositions in which I will explore this kind of rhythmic relationships.


I am very curious what you think about this. How it sounds to you, can you recognize patterns that repeats between the players, how the polyrhythms affects you etc. Feel free to write any impressions.

In attachment I will send PDF of one line, but has some mistakes, because I didn'f finish writing the score.



ALSO, I recommend more than one listening, because with every listening you will hear more details and things would make more sense, first time is mainly just confusing :) 

Edited by DMT
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Well, because it is canon, I didn't bothered to make score that way. I just made part for every player, and because they are preoccupied with their playing and listening to metronome, they don't need to know what other player is doing. (Of course, in my initial stage of composition, I wrote it that way, so I can see what is going on vertically) When I decide to make it with Finale, I will post it here.


I never listened to Okegem's Missa Prolationum, thank you for bringing it up, I will now listen to it. My inspiration for this piece was canon works of Conlon Nancarrow. He did a bunch of interesting stuff for player piano, and I wanted to achieve similar poly-meters but with human players.

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I just read today that Lutoslawski in his String Quartet  originally produced only the four instrumental parts, refusing to bind them in a full score, because he was concerned that this would imply that he wanted notes in vertical alignment to coincide, as is the case with conventionally notated classical ensemble music. 

Although music is quite different than mine, same logic is going on. Because he wanted that bit of chance (aleatoric) happening in the absence of synchronization, he refused to make full score. Same here 😄

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