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Ian Pearce
 Dream Dance example

Ian Pearce: Dream Dance

This is an interesting piece of scoring, a slow number, so there isn't too much of it. The melody is densely voiced in rather an unusual way. As all beautiful voicings should be, the effect is repeated often. This powerful ensemble, quietly controlled and perfectly balanced, occurs four times in the score.

The first four bars of the melody are carried by two trumpets (1 and 3) in unison, with the other two trumpets (2 and 4) in unison on a lower harmony line. This lower line is doubled by the lead alto saxophone. The mixed unison neutralises the trumpet sound, and is responsible, for the large part, for the compelling effect of this passage.

The trombones and the rest of the saxes double a four-part chordal fundament to the melody, following it rhythmically, but not adhering strictly to its horizontal line. Once again, the mixed unison on each of the harmonies alters the conventional trombone/saxophone sound, adding to the beauty of the passage considerably. The string bass doubles the bass trombone.

The harmony consists of a great deal of descending half steps that give the passage a relentless downward movement ending in the rich D7(b5) of the fourth bar, and the C9 of the sixth bar. There is an interesting use of the 11th of the Bb11 in the third bar of the example, second note of the lower trumpets, right up close to the melodic fifth.

The daring harmonic shift under the melody, coupled with the unison doubling and the stunning, almost played-down performance of Dream Dance make it a piece worth studying.