Rooms For Tourists – A Symphonic Rhapsody via Glenn Miller

Rooms for Tourists depicts a Cape Cod inn that still stands to this day in Provincetown, Massachusetts near the house the Hoppers summered at in neighboring Truro. Hopper completed at least two sketches in preparation – one depicting the inn during the day, the other at night.

Musically, this is a piece in which my jazz roots are on full display. The first two chords – a Bb Major 7th followed by a Bb Diminished Major 7th – have a very strong WWII-era feel to them, reminiscent of Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade.

Harmonization cell from "Rooms for Tourists."
Harmonization cell from “Rooms for Tourists.”

What’s especially striking about this piece is the way Hopper handles the multiple light sources: the artificial light from inside the inn, the light illuminating the outdoor sign, the moonlight lighting about the building’s facade, etc. This is probably the “cheeriest” of Hopper’s works to be featured in this suite. Where most of the painting depict moments of contemplative silence and solitude, this seems to imply warm feelings of community. One can imagine the sounds of good food being consumed, laughter and good conversation emanating from within.

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