This concept was created in June 2009 when I was in Poland for a month and lacked access to an instrument. In my frustration, I was eager to create something.
Going back home for the first time was quite significant and in reflection, I aimed to compose an instrumental piano piece. Instead of composing simply for aesthetics, I had the idea of turning my thoughts into musical pitch and using this as a possible building block for finding melodies that would eventually lead into an instrumental piece.
- The 26 letters of the alphabet, assigning these to their number for eg: 1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, etc.
- Ignoring the beginning of the next octave, there are 12 semitones in a scale (C - B):
You then assign the beginning of the alphabet (number 1) on any note of the scale.
If you start it on C, you then count up each semitone to 26 from this point and this is the parameter that you’ll be working in:
Now you have 26 semitones that are assigned from the alphabet.
11, 1, 20,
A#/B flat, C, G
I suggest to notate on score paper once you’ve got all you’re numbers written out.
There is, inevitably, a lot of randomness involved with this kind of transposing but in hindsight, this approach can lead to some lovely discoveries. Going a step further, you can start the 26 numbered scale on any of the 12 available semitones; changing the melodies altogether (although the pattern of the words will remain the same).
The possibilities are endless considering how many words are in the English language. I’ve experimented with a lot of words, including my name which was interesting- plus sentences as well.
We can go a step further and incorporate other languages too!
I have also tried doing all of this in reverse by transposing from music into words. I took a very small part from one of my original compositions and used this method to find words; unfortunately I just got a random selection of letters. Again, the possibilities are endless!
© Katarzyna Wiktorski