So, I had an opening phrase and a chord that punctuated it. Oh, what chord? Well, I wanted something pungent so the "Jimi Hendrix" chord came to mind. This is a chord that Jimi uses in the song "Purple Haze". It appears around the 23 second mark:
This chord is usually described as a dominant seventh with a raised 9th, but of course it has no such function! It is simply a chord, in this case the tonic, with a major third, a minor seventh and an augmented ninth. Did I say simply? It is a great chord on guitar with a great clangy, spicy dissonance. The song "Purple Haze" has crossed over into the classical world already. Here is the Kronos Quartet performing it:
It would not be very interesting to just stick that chord into a piece, so when I wrote the piece, I let it help me create a harmonic structure. I wanted the chord to be functional. One way of looking at the chord is as a "split-third" chord, meaning it has both major and minor thirds. But you could also look at it as a minor chord with a diminished 4th. The diminished 4th was the favorite interval of Shostakovich. It sounds like something cheerful and major, but in context, you realize that it is not! It is actually something dark, something tragic, perhaps... Here is my piece:
|Click to enlarge|
No recording, sorry, I'm just learning how to play it myself. So there you have it: a new piece for classical guitar influenced in equal parts by Jimi Hendrix and Shostakovich. My kind of piece!
UPDATE: I just ran across this remarkable speech by Leonard Cohen in which we find the words:
"Poetry comes from a place that no one commands, that no one conquers. So I feel somewhat like a charlatan to accept an award for an activity which I do not command. In other words, if I knew where the good songs came from I would go there more often."
I put this here because the piece above came from that mysterious place, that as Leonard Cohen says, no one commands. I encourage you to listen to the whole speech; it is a moving speech by a remarkable man, and a remarkable songwriter and poet.