Dichotomy was written for the Windsor Symphony’s Canadian Music Festival and is scored for string orchestra. The two movements are compositions of opposites; the first movement is slow and somber while emphasizing melody supported by primarily minor triadic harmony. The second movement is quick and light-hearted with rhythm and meter being paramount and the harmony composed of major triads. Both movements are derived from a simple motif consisting of the movement a major and minor second away from and back to a central tone. This motif is developed more dramatically in the second movement in contrast to the more simple presentations in the first.
The compositional language is derived from both traditional and contemporary harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic principles and techniques. An important characteristic of the harmonic language is the independent use of major and minor triadic structures which have been removed from their traditional reliance on key and mode. Additionally, the related interdependency and hierarchical principles usually associated with triadic harmony have been discarded; each triad is utilized independently with no predetermined harmonic significance. Musical direction is then produced by the creation of various new progressions and patterns of the triads.
The construction of melody is related to this non-functional triadic principle. No longer confined to a specific mode, melody can explore chromatic possibilities with unusual freedom while being supported by simple triadic movement. Complementing the harmonic and melodic language is the utilization of additive and traditional rhythmic presentations. In the construction of both melody and accompaniment, rhythmic alternations of two or three beat groupings provide the motivation for musical expression. The resultant effect is spontaneous rhythmic energy.
Instrumentation: String Orchestra
Duration: 9 minutes