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Showing posts from April 15, 2018

Opening Section + Magic Squares

This section has no solos, it's a simple contrast of two strata: (1) descending rapid scales, and (2) sustained chords swelling and receding. Listen to the opening page (score below) here:
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The pitches for both are derived from the magic square. The chords are most straightforward, they simply read the horizontals of the square as 6-note chords. The piece starts with the uppermost vertical (the main material + high G), and works its way down.


EG#DF#A#GBFAC#A#DG#CEC#FBD#GFAD#GBG#C

Sax & cymbals duet

The second section (bars 34–71 of the finished score v1) of the piece is an improvised duet for tenor saxophone and bowed cymbals. I've already referred to the ensemble part for this section, see here for an explanation of the system used to generate the asynchronous ensemble part from the magic square.

The duet uses exclusively multiphonics on both instruments. "Multiphonics" are not chords (collections of single notes played simultaneously on different vibrating objects), rather they are multiple-sounds, metastable vibrations where more than one pitch is vibrating simultaneously on thesame object sothey interfere with each other to form complex timbres of difference tones. Playing multiphonics requires practicing a specific skill to learning to balance the multiple-pitches. For saxophone, the tonal flexibility of the usual monophonic (single pitch) technique is sacrificed because the multiphonic will only stay balanced with a very specific mix of embouchure-position, b…

cello solo v2 - orchestration

Re-working the generated part: Before I get to orchestrating the cello solo, I decided I need to re-work the generated line. The previous line (ex.1 below) wasn't too practical, and didn't give the cellist enough leeway to work with the prepared-string to bring out the desired sounds: the whole point here is that the preparations allow for different harmonics and multiphonics to emerge, and that the tablature-style notation constrains the player's actions to limit what specific sounds emerge.

In the notation (as explained in earlier post) there's a 6-line stave to indicate not pitches but bow positions, between the preparation (bottom) and bridge (top); essentially sul-tasto to sul-pont. The part mostly only uses the right hand for playing, with the left hand occasionally used for timbre variation through interference (see b.143–145).

To generate the part, I allowed the isorhythm (ex.2) to run for nine iterations of the pitch line ('color' seems somewhat meani…

Finished Piece (v.1...)

The concert is on May 4th, so at some point I had to finalise the piece, though I could keep tinkering forever. Here's the full score as of 12/4/18, there will still be some minor changes I imagine; some things need tidying up, and at the moment it's missing performance instructions (most of which are in the score, but an instruction sheet will be added. Here's the structure of the piece:

bb.1–33 Opening Full ensemble contrasts material presented in two forms; static chords (reeds/brass/perc/cello), and falling “scales” (flutes/pno/gtr). technique: Magic square, randomness. 34–71 Saxophone & Percussion duet Improvised duet of sax multiphonics and bowed-cymbal harmonics. Ensemble plays Feldman-like gentle background of overlapping melodies and soft noise. technique: Magic square. Links: generating ensemble part. 72–115 Guitar & Piano duet Guitar and piano play almost together, pushing/pulling each other, the ensemble play sparse additions to support or undermin…