Traditional Japanese Scales in Jazz Composition for Solo Piano: A Phenomenological Study
Andreas von Herzogenburg
Artist Statement
The cycle of my compositions is based on the concept of using only scale tones of different, traditional Japanese scales for the melody tones of the songs, but to draw the harmony from the western chord stock, especially from the jazz harmony. Since the Japanese scales I use are pentatonic, the compositional process has fewer (if only two) melodic tones available than would be the case if western, heptatonic scales were used. This makes the technical composition process a lot more difficult, but it also proves to be much more appealing. So there is a self-reduction in melodic, but not in harmonic terms. The songs should only be in solo pianistic form, since I consider the return to the essential, i.e. only by means of the pure instrument, to be the most interesting and at the same time the most demanding type of music creation.
The reference to the past of Japan lies in the use of the traditional scales - the reference to the future is that I expand this precious clay material in a tonal construct without destroying its original form and in an unprecedented way into the global, harmonious context of the 21st century. At the beginning and at the end of each piece, the respective scale is presented either in its basic mode or as a tonal pattern, a variation, which in turn contains only the same scale tones and no others, for sonic illustration.
Artist Bio
In 1976, I started playing classical piano at the Herzogenburg Music School, Lower Austria, where I was enthusiastically involved in all school events. In 1985, I was a founding member of the BORG-Bigband of St.Pölten, Lower Austria, that brought the most famous musical productions on the stage all over Austria with great success. There I first came into contact with Jazz. After I moved to Vienna and did not hesitate to enroll in Jazz Piano at the then Franz Schubert Conservatory. I graduated with distinction after a change to the Vienna Conservatory in 1995. I publish Jazz and Electronic Music under the artists name "Andreas von Herzogenburg" and am a composer of Viennese Traditional Songs. Besides my work as a musician I have been working effectively as a lecturer in the Jazz and Pop department at the Vienna Conservatory since 1995 and the MusicJamLab Private University since 2016 to this day.