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06. Heron in moonlight

After “Syllabic” I kept thinking about different perspectives. How the “same story” can be told by different people and vary slightly or a lot. I wanted to conceptualize this concept. I came across a zen saying 「銀椀盛雪、明月蔵鷺」 (ぎんわんにゆきをもり めいげつにろをかくす), “Silver bowl full of snow, white heron in clear moonlight.” It’s about the juxtaposition of things that look the same and seem to blend in but that are actually different. The snow may look like a part of the silver bowl and the bowl may look like snow. The white heron in bright moonlight may look like the moonlight itself, or is it the other way around? I learned that this saying also implicates the philosophy of the natural vs. the manmade coming together, different groups of people coming together in harmony.

I started this piece with a literal iteration of the saying in alternate notes. There’s a tweak on the melody line “D E G E D C D E A.” The last two pitches, E dropping to A, can also go to A-flat or G. I use the three variations interchangeably. In the accompanying bass line “C B A G” the B also changes to B-flat, and A to A-flat, interchangeably. I’m fixated on the ability to have alternate versions with just one note. I also let the piece come and go between ¾ time and 4/4 time as I see fit. I love the low clarinet and flute sounds on GarageBand. Up to this point I was more inclined to use electric sounds on GarageBand. I’m coming out of that phase in “Heron in moonlight” with its mostly-acoustic orchestration. I started the piece as though it’s in the middle of saying something. My thought was that it will have said something by the time the piece ends. I stuck the bass solo in the middle because it felt right. Different elements, seemingly unrelated, coming together. In harmony. 

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