Alessio Silvestrin

OMOKAGE for piano

Ken’ichi Nakagawa, piano

OMOKAGE for piano has been composed by Alessio Silvestrin and performed by the pianist Ken’ichi Nakagawa. This composition for solo piano uses a transcription of the 4 variants A-B-C-D of the melodic cell called Chu-no-mai, derived form the music of the traditional Japanese Noh Theater.
Chu-no-mai is originally played by the traditional Japanese flute Nohkan, a type of traditional Japanese flute exclusively used in Noh Theater, as the instrumental dance accompaniment in the Noh play Funa-benkei.
This melodic traditional material, has been integrated with trichords defined “asymmetric” which are colouring the melodic traditional material as equivalency of the the fluctuating sound frequencies of variable pitches and intonation of the Nohkan, common trait of the traditional practice of music in Noh.
The 4 variants of the melodic cell Chu-no-mai have been transcribed and given to the pitches of the 12 tone scale used in the tempered scale of the Western music. This transcription meets philological imperfections, which have been offset by an interlacement of parameters made become compatible.
Thus attributing to the traditional melodic material of Noh to sound frequencies fixed on the tempered scale, as well as the rhythmic durations integrated in the form of a new composition.
It is also to be considered that in Noh theater the combination of musical events is not fixed, or adjusted by a temporal linearity.
The function of the numerical properties contained in the Fibonacci sequence, applied to the serialization of a large part of the durations of the notes and their dynamics, finds new objective proportions associated with the traditional musical material derived from the Noh.
The possibilities of the Fibonacci sequence, designate a new relationship with the 4 variants of the melodic cell Chū-no-mai. Therefore it would develop in a musical dimension characterized by expressive qualities more subjective, and originally entrusted by the interpreter within scheme adapted to the needs of the specific theatrical and musical context.
Unlike trichords “bitoni” , within which three notes configure two whole tones, the trichords called “asymmetric” used in the composition Omokage, presents an altered semitone, sharp or flat, in the central note of the trichord. For example:
C-Bb-Ab ( Trichord “bitono” made by two-tone ) becomes C-B-Ab ( Trichord “asymmetric” ).
A characteristic suitable to use of these trichords in Omokage is the sorting of the notes in 2 sequences of 10 trichords called “asymmetric”, for a total of 30 notes, thus exceeding, 2 each of the sequences of 1 note section of piano keyboard from C4 to C8 central, last key. By considering these two sounds: C4 and C8, as initial notes of the 2 original scales, the two scales made by trichords called “asymmetric” which theoretically would extend in section of 4 octaves from C4 to C8 and so would terminate with 2 sounds and Cb4 C#8 and because the sound C#8 is not existing in the piano, it is determined that in fact the last note of each of these two scales is systematically omitted.
In relation to the high register, in which the melodic cell Chū-no-mai is originally played, the extension of the scale, in the organizational process of the musical new elements, initially maintains a similar appearance. In the course of the piece, will be explored also the low register of the instrument, thanks to the systematic use of sequence-reverse.
These chains are used to individual sounds and overlapping, thus creating solutions chordal 4 sounds, also justified according to the internal sequence of the individual trichord, characterized by semitone interval and augmented second, constituting the sequences of 10 trichords, of total 30 notes. The melodic cell Chū-no-mai was originally played by to the Nōkan which is the only melodic instrument used in Noh, the properties of the musical instrument Nōkan and as with the use of particular techniques of approach to the ethnic flute in question can vary the pitch of the sounds, as in the transcription of the 4 variants of the melodic cell Chū-no-mai and the use of them inside the form of Omokage, corresponds to an equivalence which is associated to a different use of trichords, intends to maintain aspects in relation to the properties of the original music of Noh. The reproposing the musical material from the ancient Japanese tradition in form so more stylized, as part of new expressive needs and aesthetic choices also conform to the possibilities of the instrument piano and returning it to the listener, new, rich, modern, personal and transformed.
In the 1st episode of the 1st section of Omokage, have used the scales with chords of “asymmetric” trichords, with downward movement of the right hand and ascending-descending to the left hand. Since then already present as a key pressed on the other hand, the sound is not repeated, but the chord becomes systematically 3 sounds lasting 1/32, with sign off and followed by breaks until the new chord. The durations of the chords of the 1st section, are regulated by a set of values of the Fibonacci sequence organized in 3 groups, whose main unit of duration the sixteenth note for the left hand and the unit of sixteenth note with the point for the right hand. The sequence of durations in groups of 3 units, worth sixteenth note for the left hand derived from Fibonacci numbers:

5-8-5, 3-5-3, 2-3-2, 1-2-1, 1-1-1, 1-1-1, 1-2-1, 2-3-2, 3- 5-3, 5-8-5.

Sequence of durations in groups of 3 units, worth sixteenth note, or semiquaver with the point for the right hand derived from Fibonacci numbers:

1-1-1, 1-2-1, 2-3-2, 3-5-3, 5-8-5, 5-8-5, 3-5-3, 2-3-2, 1-2-1, 1-1-1.

From bar 5 begins the 2nd episode of the 1st section with the note D entrusted to the left hand in low key lasting 1/32 to 5/8 and still linked to other 8/4, and set in chord always worth demisemiquavers, made with notes F#, lower note of it, and with the notes Eb-Lab assigned to the right hand and to the central register of the piano.
These notes are in the segment of scale:

(C-B) Ab / (G) F#- Eb / D (C #-Bb).

After the quick attack of these notes, with dynamic “forte”, lasting 1/32, appears the resonance of the note D, remains for the length of 21/8, fading slowly.
The 2nd episode of the 1st section persists in the use of notes belonging to the melodic material derived from Noh follows again a sequence of Fibonacci numbers durations, so organised:

1 note melody + note lasting 21/8
1 note melody + note lasting 13/8
2 melody notes + note lasting 8/8
3 melody notes + note lasting 5/8
5 melody notes + note lasting 3/8
8 melody notes + note lasting 2/8
13 melody notes + note lasting 1/8
21 melody notes + note lasting 1/8
extended until the end of the bar’s upbeat.

OMOKAGE being a Japanese word with multiple meanings can be translated by different words in Western languages, thus giving the possibility of understanding: the memory of an image, or the re-emergence of blurred and shadowy appearance of also a face.
By giving way to one of these possible interpretations, in a kind of completely new context, this new composition for piano came to light after several revisions of all its elements and compose a possibility of intersection in a plurality of systems.

OMOKAGE has been composed for the choreography ORIME NO UE by Alessio Silvestrin, created with Noism 1 Ryutopia Niigata-City Perfirming Art Center in Niigata, 27.05.2011.