Melodía de los sueños
Released on the album Travelling Pieces
The composer and author Lola Fernández Marín headlines a book she has written on flamenco theory with the saying “flamenco is not only music, but it is, above all else, music.” Her book, together with recent experiences in performing this fantastic music, has influenced me in the composing of a series of works dedicated to the exploration of flamenco. In Melodía de los sueños (Melody of dreams), which lends its poetic title to the flamenco cantes, I let the original flamenco rhythm and melody depart from tradition and reorganise themselves in structures common in modern classical music.
The rhythms create the form of the piece. Several rhythmic compases function on all levels of the music, from the overall shape to the microstructures within the single bars (it is the twelve-beat compás of Seguiriya that is mostly used). A tabla rhythm opens the piece, and the rhythmic pattern is distributed between the instruments. The horn and double bass play in quasi unison, based on the harmonic soundworld from the plucked flageolets in the bass. A retuning of the third string of the bass by a half-tone avoids many of the perfect fourth and fifth intervals that are associated with western classical music (and the tuning of string instruments), and instead lends an ear to Asian sounds. The tabla rhythm is repeated later in the piece, when it is combined with a typical, melodic drone figuration common to the accompanying instruments (tanbours and lutes) in Central Asian classical and folk music.
The melodies, being the principal element in Melodía de los sueños, follow the idiom of the flamenco voice. Simple, modal melodies are coloured by non-systematic microtonalism, where appoggiaturas and flourishes of quarter-tones and three-quarter tones give the melodies their special beauty. As in the modal system, the musical discourse is horizontal or linear. A vertical structure is practically abundant, and concurrent harmonies appear only in coinciding melodic lines, and in the harmonic use of natural horn, where the overtone series are borrowed from G. Ligeti ́s Hamburg Concerto. Simultaneous chords are only hinted at towards the end of certain sections of the music, as a consolidation between the performers, and possibly as a meeting of the parallel dreams.