Blossoms On A Moonlit River Analysis


2.1 Exploration Of Tonality And The Pentatonic Scale
Blossoms on a Moonlit River has been written in G major, and this is known from an author’s note written above the stave and the key signature (Fig 2a). It has been written with diatonic numerical notation using the numbers 1 to 7, and the number 0 represents a rest. The piece is tonal centred, and relies on a major pentatonic scale consisting of G, A, B, D and E (Fig 2b) and this is close to the western Mixolydian scale (Fig 2c). In Blossoms on a Moonlit River, the pentatonic scale is in the following order: G A B D E (1 2 3 5 6 lü). The lü begins on E, and this is the 6th diatonic (submediant). This suggests that the piece is in E minor, due to the first note in bar 1 and the 1st beat in bar 4 (Fig 2a). Although, seeing as the 7th (D) is not raised, it is E natural minor. But the foundation tone of this piece is G, so the piece is therefore in G major.

At 0:44 in the Sacred Pool of Tears the yellow bell, or foundation tone, is heard. The piece begins in D minor, and establishes a pentatonic scale containing D, E, G, A, C with an occasional F, which makes it similar to the Ionian mode. When it changes to F minor, which is the third of D minor, the scale also changes. The pentatonic scale now becomes F, A, B, C, E which is
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In this version, it is a Pipa quartet, which means that it is only consisting of Chordophones. This means that each individual player is improvising his or her own ornamentation, specifically trills. The harmonising is only in intervals larger than a perfect 4th and 5th, specifically at 0:56 and so on. The piece is very consonant, and is based around the foundation tone of G. The ornamentation used depicts a river, and each Pipa is using their own ornamentation to depict their own element of the poem Blossoms on a Moonlit

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