Polly-Birdie’s Secret Life, suite for two violins




Polly-Birdie’s Secret Life, suite-palindrome for 2 violins


  1. Dance Through Reflection
  2. Puzzling Steps
  3. Mute Song
  4. Reflection Through Dance


Date of composing early versions – 2016: final edition finished in September 2018

Genre suite of four pieces

Style contemporary

Duration  [1’54”] [2’24”] [3’59”] [1’54”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyright © 2016-2018 Natalia Pispini

Dedication Dedicated to my beloved sister


Idea and musical structure

The idea behind of this music was growing slowly, from my early piece ‘Mysterious Steps’ for solo violin (2016) to the later drafts for duo violins, from, initially, 3 separated pieces cycle to 4-pieces suite with a palindromic ending.  The concept of two egos debating, fighting or coexisting in peace, and all this is inside of a weird woman’s mind, who is bearing bird-like characteristics and behavior: she is as quick in movement, light in thinking, changeable in mood, fragile in sadness as a bird could be.

While that ‘birdish’ character defines the music stylistics, the idea of the double egos is converted to the constructive principle of palindrome or mirror. Each piece of the suite solves this ‘puzzle’ in its own way.

Dance Through Reflection. G-major. Allegretto volante [1’54”]

There are two contrasting sections with dancing themes in 2/4 and 3/4. The 2nd violin plays palindromic variants of each measure of the 1st violin’s part in section 1, and the palindrome of the whole theme played by the 1st violin – in section 2.

Puzzling Steps. In A. Andante ritmico [2’24”]

This is 2-voice canon with a long temporal distance between voices and basically tritone interval relationship. The leader voice isn’t imitated exactly but with some changes in melody as well as interruptions. At the same time this is variation form where there are ‘assigned’ changes within the tones (some tones go to more extension and rhythmic transformation, and others are less modified). While the variation theme is progressing in an aggressive manner, the second, mild and compromising theme is flashing and finally takes over.

Mute Song. G-minor. Pietoso [3’59”]

The free-scale lines like in some folk song traditions resemble an improvised singing manner and serve to recreate sad mood and haunting thinking. The 2nd violin’s part is a mirror reflection of the 1st violin’s music, sometimes transported in octave higher, or enriched with additional tones. The note alteration signs are often preserved in non-convenient and ‘mistakable’ way to keep the desirable intervallic combinations between two violins.

Reflection Through Dance. G-major. Più mosso [1’54”]

It’s return to the music of the 1st piece ‘Dance Through Reflection’. The same two sections appear in opposite order: 3/4, then 2/4. Section 1 is a mirror reflection of the section 2 of the 1st piece. Section 2 is a measure-by-measure palindrome of Section 1 of the 1st piece.


Performance Notes

It is possible to play pieces No. 1, 2 and 4 in slower tempo than indicated.

I think that the idea of this suite might be supported by special appearance of the musicians on stage, when the first violinist dressed in white, and the second in black.

Some elements of theater or pantomime are suitable if it matches to the character of the players. (I see it in mysterious and slightly dramatic modus, not in comic one). My suggestions are: (1st piece) playing face to face, turned to the listeners by sides, and gradual changing of mutual positions; (2nd piece) playing and performing steps, i.e. slow walking on stage towards the opposite corners (or whatever can be identified like ‘corners’); (3rd piece) the players are sitting in opposite corners and turned back to the listeners; (4th) gradual returning to the initial position. It is up to the musicians to decide about the exact style of movements and gestures, and further elaboration of extra-musical aspects of their performance.

Look at the score samples    1      2      3      4

Listen to the electronic realization on YouTube:


! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to play this piece, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, collective’s title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.


Morning Leaves Palette, for flute quartet


In F.

  1. Adagio quasi sognando
  2. Allegretto fragile


Title Morning Leaves Palette

Date of composing August 2017

Genre suite in two movements (slow-fast)

Style contemporary, Neo-Romantic

Duration [5’18”], [2’05”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyright © 2017 Natalia Pispini


Idea and musical structure

Looking at the forest foliage in summer morning, I dreamed to set those images to music. I thought of different colors of green, their obscure transition and mixture, the sun light coming and illuminating new sites and corners before masked in shadow…

For this task, the quartet of 4 flutes in C, I thought, would be suitable.

The constructive principles of the piece came as the continuation of the idea of a morning leaves palette. It is the ‘mixing’ and ‘blurring’ motifs, and the shimmering of major / minor keys (as similar to lights and shades). The thirds and the sixths intervals in various combinations play important role in the whole construction. While working, I developed at least two different ways of how these principles can be applied, and, in order to display both ways, I composed two movements in slow-fast scheme. The second movement follows the first immediately (attacca).

  1. Adagio quasi sognando. Consisting of several blocks which are like different kind of images grasped by the sunrays. The blocks, although have different texture, follow certain tonal scheme. Instead of direct joining the blocks I used the technique of ‘blurring’ the borders, when the sound of the following block appears while the previous one still goes, and the sound of the previous block is echoing while the new one comes. Technically, you can create this ‘blurring’ in various ways. Here, for blurring sectors I used arithmetic and geometric rhythmic progressions. The same set of blocks is repeated twice, with slight ‘blurring’ variations, in order to prolong the impressions, to make them yet more static and expository.


  1. Allegretto fragile. The major / minor keys shimmering and the thirds / sixths intervals are intertwined with polyphonic form based on a 4-voice canon. So called ‘simple’ canon (imitations come at the unison), rhythmically plain, but has structural complications.

Performance notes

The flute players are better to be located spaciously on the stage in order to achieve the stereo effects in some episodes of the 1st mvt., and all along the 2nd mvt.

The 1st mvt. needs exact rhythmic reading. Before the longer notes the short breathing breaks are possible. Legato should be applied everywhere when appropriate.

The 2nd mvt. has moderate volume between mp and mf, and quiets down by the end.


Look at the score samples  1st mvt.    2nd mvt

Listen to MIDI-generated excerpt on YouTube

! This work may be commissioned or/and performed. If you want to play it, please contact Natalia. In your message, kindly provide some information  (brief introduction, ensemble title, website, contact details). The score, parts and all necessary material will be sent to you within a week.

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