American Mirror: Part II

from by Derrick Spiva, Jr.



American Mirror reflects on the coming together of cultures in our society, which consists of many generations and descendants of refugees, slaves, and immigrants, and how intercultural collaborations are essential to the well-being of American society. Melodically, the piece draws from West African, North African, and Eastern European vocal techniques and ornamentations, in addition to modal scales. Underneath these melodies, American Mirror uses open harmonies commonly found in Appalachian folk music, and also includes drones, an accompaniment practice found in many musical cultures. American Mirror is written in two parts.

Rhythmically, Part II uses clapping as an accompaniment, continuing a tradition practiced in many cultures around the world. Part II also uses rhythmic structures found in Hindustani (North Indian) classical music such as tihais (rhythmic cadences played three times where the last note of the third time resolves to beat one of the cycle) and dumdhar chakradhar tihais (a longer rhythmic cadence that may include tihais, played three times where the last note of the third time resolves to beat one and there is a rest between each repetition). Part II also uses an eight beat cycle called adi tala, found in Carnatic (South Indian) classical music. Towards the end of the piece, a portion of the audience is invited to mark the shape of adi tala using their hands (clapping and counting with fingers), a practice found in Hindustani and Carnatic classical music.


from American Mirror, released May 19, 2018


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