Read a short biography on Dutch composer J.M. Suijkerbuijk, browse through a list of his compositions and listen to a number of audio fragments.
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In his music J.M. Suijkerbuijk uses a specific type of tonality based on a hierarchical modus. The composer speaks of a “modus” to describe the constructed scale that he uses.
[…] In fact, the scale consists of notes derived from the series of harmonics on the keynote and bases the hierarchy of notes in relation to the keynote on that very sequence. This hierarchy is only relevant for the harmonic (chordal) structure since the strength of intervals is determined by its approximation to a lower and stronger, or higher and weaker, position in the harmonic series.
[…] Although the modus is originally octatonic, the minor third is often added to allow for an even wider range of expressiveness. The addition of the minor third also makes the modus repetitive within itself — the modus has then a limited number of possible transpositions.
Consequently, with the addition of the minor third, the modus enharmonically equals Messiaen’s third “mode of limited transposition” [Technique de mon langage musical. Paris: Leduc, 1944].
This nonatonic scale is repetitive within itself: the end note of the first tetrachord is the start note of the second tetrachord, the end note of the second tetrachord is the start note of the third tetrachord and the end note of the third tetrachord is again the start note of the first tetrachord. Each tetrachord is equal (transposed by a major third).
As such, the modus intrinsically has three tonal centers, three possible tonics within one scale: the first note of each tetrachord. This offers an incredible array of harmonic opportunities, since every harmonic progression can lead to three different targets. It is therefor quite evident that this modal system offers a sheer infinite range of expressive possibilities.
[…] Since the modus will repeat the set of notes with every transposition of a major third (or: instances, as J.M. Suijkerbuijk prefers to name them), the modus has but four transpositions within the constellation of twelve equal tempered tones that will result in a different set of notes. The four transpositions, of course, being every chromatic note within that major third.
[…] Because of the inherent hierarchy in notes (tonics are dominant, other tones are subservient), the composer refers to using this scale as employing a form of “tonality”, in the sense that there is a clear “tonic”, the central and most stable note of the scale (in terms of tension) and a mandatory hierarchy of notes, which has its consequences for harmonic structure and progression. This form of tonality, however, has nothing to do with the diatonic or functional tonality. Use of the modus prohibits conventional diatonic harmonic progressions — the subdominant chord and the dominant seventh chord e.g. cannot be constructed within the modus. Nonetheless, the gravitational pull of the tonal centre(s) is evident.J.M. Suijkerbuijk
Die Stille (“The Silence”) is a symphonic poem for large orchestra based on the eponymous poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.
Harmony, from a score’s point of view, in essence is the vertical result of simultaneous horizontal musical events. With the elapse of time and the movement of the horizontal lines, the vertical result is not static and as a consequence becomes a horizontal line itself: chord progression. For that reason harmony is an important parameter in music that cannot solely be the fortuitous result of voice-leading and should be treated accordingly. The relationship, the tension between successive, or rather: progressive chords must be proactively considered, constructed and strategically deployed in a composition.J.M. Suijkerbuijk