Morphs, overview

WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2020

Morphs are about moving one note as little as possible…

The word “morph” is my invention to describe what is usually called “chromaticism”. The concept is really simple. You play a chord, any chord, then you move something. The rule, my rule, is to always move exactly one note, called a “half step”. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

You can move as many notes as you wish…

Normally you want to start out moving one note at a time because it is simpler to understand and to track how the fingers move. But later you can move more than one note at the same time.

You can move two ore more notes in the same direction, but you can also move in opposite directions, called “contrary motion”.

You can morph intervals or chords…

If you morph an interval, you are only dealing with two notes. But you can then add an extra note and go on morphing.

You can move everything in the same direction…

If you move everything in the same direction, you end up with the same interval or chord a half step lower or higher. However, when you move everything, it also has another name called “parallelism”, and that gives you special sound that was especially common in the music of Debussy.

There are no other rules…

You go completely by what sounds good to you. If you like it, use it. Even if you don’t like it, you may change your mind later.

Morphing is an adventure…

When you go on an adventure it’s all about exploring, discovering new things, having fun. On an adventure you don’t necessarily know where you are going, and often when you get somewhere interesting you don’t know exactly how you got there. You just enjoy the trip.

The greatest composers did not know where they were going, they just knew how to get back home…

The difference between them and students is that they always knew how to get “home”. “Home” is your “home key”. Great composers generally started out in a key, sort of a “home base”, and when they finished a piece of music, they went back to that key – home base. So as you are morphing, just enjoy the trip. But later there are very useful tricks for morphing home.

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