The natural harmony willed by the melody

«Bird Song – Paul Dukas used to say, ‘Listen to the birds. They are great masters.’ I confess not to having awaited this advice to admire, analyse, and notate, some songs of birds. Through the mixture of their songs, birds make extremely refined jumbles of rhythmic pedals. Their melodic contours, those of merles especially, surpass the human imagination in fantasy. Since they use untempered intervals smaller then the semitone, and as it is ridiculous servilely to copy nature, we are going to give some examples of melodies of the ‘bird’ genre which will be transcription, transformation, and interpretation of the volleys and trills of our little servants of immaterial joy.» (p. 34)

«Paul Dukas often spoke of effects of resonance. Effects of pure fantasy, similar by a very distant analogy to the phenomenon of natural resonance. One will find remarkable ones, mingled with learned variations of rhythm, in the Danses rituelles and especially in the Mana of André Jolivet.» (p. 51)

«All these investigations ought not make us forget the natural harmony: the true, unique, voluptuously pretty by essence, willed by the melody, issued from it, pre-existent in it, having always been enclosed in it, awaiting manifestation. My secret desire of enchanted gorgeousness in harmony has pushed me toward those swords of fire, those sudden stars, those flows of blue-orange lavas, those planets of turquoise, those violet shades, those garnets of long-haired arborescence, those wheelings of sound and colors in a jumble of rainbows of which I have spoken with love in the Preface of my Quatuor pour la fin du Temps; such a gushing out of chords should necessarily be filtered; it is the sacred instinct of the natural and true harmony which, alone, can so charge itself». (p.52)

Olivier Messiaen, “Technique of My Musical Language”.


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