A few years ago, I formed a music duo with a friend. We called ourselves Rosin and Reeds after our instrumentation – violin and clarinet, and had a lot of fun playing together. Much of the music we played, we arranged since there is not a wealth of original music for this combination of instruments. We had the good fortune of performing live at some interesting venues.
Tonight I had a real flashback to the ‘duo days’. One of the pieces we enjoyed performing, composed by Mozart, was written in a particular way. There was actually only one page of music for a single melody line. We had two copies of the original part. The duet part was created by taking the page of music and turning it upsidedown (top to bottom). In essence, one player played the original melody while the second player was playing the original melody retrograde (backwards) and inverted (upsidedown).
I came across a YouTube video tonight that demonstrated these same composing techniques (original solo, duet, retrograde, inversion) in a very effective visual format – pitch and rhythm punctuated with moving trackers, followed by all the variations and an interesting twist. A literal twist – a musical mobius strip.
I will be sharing this video resource with the music teachers I know. Have a look and listen – Crab Canon on a Möbius Strip by J. S. Bach on YouTube. Enjoy the music, enjoy the visuals.