Continuing a look at themes, this time showing how I developed a simple whole-tone motif into several different melodies. This sequence of 8 notes, when played, at first, sounds just like a descending C major scale.

But it misses out the first C, so the first 4 notes form a sequence of whole tones. On reaching the bottom C – the 7th note, instead of continuing to B natural, it hits a Bb, and this choice makes it clear that it’s not in fact a C major scale, but two ‘tetrachords’ made up of whole tone intervals. Experimenting with different ways of harmonising this scale led to the theme for “The Rabbit’s House”

The whole tone scale also generates the melodies for several other sections of music in the score, the sombre and dour “Trial” music:

And, in a very different mood, the bright and happy Lobster Quadrille melody:

As I explained earlier, the listener / viewer isn’t meant to recognise or even understand this. Music works on several levels at once, and the composer has to call on many tricks and processes to create the material. Sometimes we don’t know which methods will turn out to be useful, sometimes we don’t even know which ones we have in our arsenal, and discovering this is part of the reward of creating music.

It’s been so exciting to hear this music brought to life. Here is a clip from a rehearsal, playing the music for the Rabbit’s House scene.


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