When Bill Rayer posted his “Chaos Dreams” (later incorporated into“The Legacy”), the scale he created for his piece intrigued me. After noodling around with it, I thought it might be fun to do an experimental piece of my own, but in a different genre: jazz big band. Click on the title to hear/download my arrangement based on Bill’s scale:
“So ‘Bill’ Me Later”
Here’s Bill’s original scale (with some enharmonic license by me):
I re-interpreted the scale as follows:
· I Looked at his 10-tone scale of successive m2nd-M3rd intervals (excepting the final Fb-G m3rd) as two, dovetailed five-tone scales built a m2nd apart, each comprised entirely of perfect 4ths. The perfect 4th thus became the key interval for my piece. Nearly all my harmony is quartal, with some clusters sprinkled in here and there.
· I also looked at Bill’s scale as a 12-tone row with only A and D natural missing. The first 10 notes of the “A”-section theme is Bill’s scale used as a row. Also, the bass line under the piano solo in the long, swing, middle “B”-section is Bill’s scale in its original order.
· Whenever possible, I wanted to remain faithful to the fact that Bill spread the 10 tones over two octaves.
Although Bill’s scale (and my piece) is in G, this may very well be the first piece of music I’ve written with no regard to harmony. Yes, the predominately quartal voicings can be analyzed in traditional harmony terms, but I preferred to think only of line and then simply voice down with the available tones. The resulting harmony often has an ambiguous feel to it, perfect for jazz. Most of the voicings contain at least five tones, and the big, impact polychords (as well as the final pyramid) contain all 10 tones of the scale. This arrangement will definitely NOT sound like a Count Basie chart to you!
My approach to remain faithful to Bill’s “Blurring of the Bar Lines” was to accomplish this by extending and floating phrases. Although the entire arrangement is in 3/4, including the middle swing section, there are few places where the music feels like it is in 3 (and those were quite deliberate to ground the piece a little).
ORCHESTRATION: “So ‘Bill’ Me Later” is scored for a “standard” 16-piece jazz big band:
5 Saxes (S-A-T-T-B)
4 Trombones (including bass trombone)
Piano, Bass, and Drum Set
All reeds and brass is Garritan JABB; rhythm section is GigaPianoII, Larry Seyer Bass, and Cakewalk TTS Drums (brush and jazz kits).
The piece was created in Sonar 8.3.1
Thanks to Bill for the encouragement … and for letting me borrow his scale .
I hope you find it interesting and different. I welcome any and all comments!