C.74 - "Mirrors"

Composed: 26th February 2015

      This was likely my first experimental piece (and one I am not at all happy with!).

    This was my submission for the first coursework for the 'Composition 1' module during my first year, second semester at university. The task asked us to write a 1-minute single-line composition that we could perform ourselves. We then performed our pieces to one another, and for the most part, all of them were very experimental and dissonant (a lot of us seemed uncomfortable with that).

     This piece is certainly an experimental one, and it is very far from my traditional style at the time, but it is a piece built more out of pattern than pleasance.

      I probably don’t need to analyse it, but the piece explores the concept of mirroring. Each bar is a reflection; there are inversions and retrogrades everywhere, and it slowly works from the highest outwards ranges of the piano all the way to the central note. Then the piece repeats itself backwards, again because it was titled "Mirrors" and needed every reflection possible. I will note that the piece was originally titled "Mirror", without the plurality, but I changed it to "Mirrors" by the time I submitted the composition in March. Much like the previous, "Postcard Composition", at first this piece was going to have a mundane title such as "Single Line Composition", but thankfully the piece had enough meaning and theory behind it that it earned a proper title.

     I did even toy with the idea that the score would come equipped with a mirror attached, large enough to see the entire score reflected into it. I would then ask the performer to perform the score as seen through the mirror, or something along those lines. Of course, I scrapped this idea when I couldn’t figure out how to construct the score with a mirror extension.

       I had disliked this piece so much that I added a note at the end:

     Note: if you reach the end before or after the 30 second mark, do not repeat. Instead, find the closest mirror and stare at it until the 60 second mark.’

      Yes, that was very immature of me, but I was not comfortable in writing music like this, and I felt that it was ruining my love of composition. Of course, over the following years, I discovered a newfound interest and appreciation for contemporary experimental music, and soon found a beautiful charm to it (as you will later note from my "Thursday" composition, among others).

      Nevertheless, I performed this work to my fellow classmates on the 9th March 2015 (with a pocket-watch at hand), and I recorded that performance as well with my first sound recorder (a cheap Sony device), given below. The piece did receive 70% as the grade, much to my surprise.

Reminiscence written on 19th July 2016

Last updated: 20th October 2018

© 2019 Jonathan Shaw