mirrors

2 August 2009 - musik muzikologi

[tab:concept]

concept

mémoire de composition de 3ième cycle -- sous la direction du Dr. michael young -- a obtenu un First (en anglais) --

I have a certain degree of visual dyslexia. It is a syndrome whereby written signs appear to be jumping all over a page, their horizontal or vertical order seemingly substantially scrambled. What do I do with it? In this instance, I decided to let it take over, so that it became a friend, rather than an annoyance. From an initial material of four diatonic melodic lines, I let the dyslexia rearrange notes, beats and bars, in both the vertical and horizontal axis of a traditional orchestral score. The result was encased inside a Minimalist type of structure, with the repetition of entire sections, propelled by an unchanging tempo.

Mirrors utilises techniques of musical Minimalism, such as repetition with slight modifications over time of a primary material. In this instance, the initial material consists of four monophonic diatonic “lines” , each subdivided into patterns. All the lines were obtained through improvisation on the piano, my main instrument. They are as follows:

The types of modifications are:

-Distribution of a pattern across several instruments (i.e. hocketing).

-Exchange of patterns among instruments.

-Vertical cascading of patterns from Flute down to Cello.

-Elision of a pattern, i.e. deletion of some its notes or beats.

-Union of parts of a pattern with parts of another pattern.

-Vertical superimposition of 2 and 3 bar patterns. Permutation (at note, bar or beat level)

These modifications allowed me to create 26 sections (marked A-Z) which, repeated and concatenated together, make up the entire piece. The initial material is therefore combined with or folded upon itself, in a series of permutations, in order to derive new elements. It almost exclusively only utilises itself, since there is no recourse to modulation, inversion or chromaticisation. However, and where applicable, notes have been shifted an octave up or down, so as to fit an instrument’s range, or bring out certain if its characteristics. This is a purely practical choice, not an aesthetics one. I have also consciously avoided the use of stress accents, preferring to rely on the presence of a large interval from one note to the next for the ear to synthesize them (or not), since high pitched notes have more energy than low pitched ones. Most importantly, the piece is driven by an invariant overall pulse (provided by Marimba and Vibraphone) and tempo across all the sections.

The driving consideration for the modifications was visual, as opposed to sonic. It is usual for composers, once a melodic idea has been scored down, to consider its notated order immutable. Looking at my score notes, I wondered what would happen if note X from beat Y exchanged place with note W from Beat Z. This is akin to certain features of visual dyslexia, whereby characters or even entire words seem to be jumping all over a page. This allowed for the appearance of local small scale pulses alongside the overall pulse, this gesture being reinforced by the shifting of high pitch notes onto a weak accent (and vice and versa) as a result of the (visual) displacement of notes, beats or bars. For the section descriptions, the score is here.

[tab:sections]

SECTION A (Tutti): modified version of Line 1B distributed across: Marimba/Flute/Alto sax (1st note, augmented.)/Violin, Vibraphone/Clarinet/Trumpet/Viola (2nd note, augmented).
SECTION B
Marimba Line 1B, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1B, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
SECTION C
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 2-3 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 2-3 removed
Marimba Line 1C, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1C, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
SECTION D
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 2-3 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 2-3 removed
Marimba Line 1D, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1D, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
SECTION E
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 2-3 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 2-3 removed
Marimba Line 1E, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1E, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION F
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 2-3 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 2-3 removed
Marimba Line 1F, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1F, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION G
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 2-3 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 2-3 removed
Marimba Line 1G, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1G, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION H
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 2-3 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 2-3 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 2-3 removed
Marimba Line 1H, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1H, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION I
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., beat 1-4 removed, Bar 2=as Vib., beat 1-4 removed
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., beat 1-4 removed, Bar 2=as Mar., beat 1-4 removed
Marimba Line 1I, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vibraphone Line 1I, note 3,4,7,8,11,12,15,16 (complement of Marimba)
Violin Line 3A
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION J
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., Bar 2=as Vib.
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., Bar 2=as Mar.
Marimba Line 1J, note 1-3, 7-9, 13-15
Vibraphone Line 1J, note 4-6, 10-12, 16 (complement of Marimba)
Violin Line 3A
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION K
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., Bar 2=as Vib.
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., Bar 2=as Mar.
Alto Sax Line 3C, (3 bar pattern)
Trumpet Line 3B (3 bar pattern)
Marimba Line 1K, note 1-3, 7-9, 13-15
Vibraphone Line 1K, note 4-6, 10-12, 16 (complement of Marimba)
Violin Line 3A
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION L
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., Bar 2=as Vib.
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., Bar 2=as Mar.
Alto Sax Line 3B, every other note
Trumpet Line 3A
Marimba Line 1L, first 5 notes
Vibraphone Line 1L, following 5 notes
Violin Line 3B (3 bar pattern)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION M
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., Bar 2=as Vib.
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., Bar 2=as Mar.
Alto Sax Line 3B (3 bar pattern)
Trumpet Line 3A
Marimba Line 1M, Beat 1,3
Vibraphone Line 1M, Beat 2,4 (complement of Vibraphone)
Violin Line 3C (3 bar pattern)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION N
Flute Bar 1=As Mar., Bar 2=as Vib.
Clarinet Bar 1=As Vib., Bar 2=as Mar.
Alto Sax Line 3B (3 bar pattern)
Trumpet Line 3C (3 bar pattern)
Marimba Line 1N, note 1,2,7,8
Vibraphone Line 1N, note 3,4,5,6 (complement of Vibraphone)
Violin Line 3D (3 bar pattern)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION O
Flute Bar 1=note 1+2 of each beat of Mar., Bar 2= note 3+4 of each beat of Vib.
Clarinet Bar 1=note 3+4 of each beat of Vib., Bar 2=note 1+2 of each beat of Mar.
Alto Sax Line 3D (3 bar pattern)
Trumpet Line 3B (3 bar pattern)
Marimba Line 1O
Vibraphone Line O shifted by 1 beat to right, last beat rotated at start i.e. Boolean Logical Right Shift and Rotate.
Violin Line 3C (3 bar pattern)
Va Line 4, note 1,2,5,6,9,10,13,14
Vc, Line 4, complement of Va.
SECTION P (3 bar pattern)
Flute Takes Alto Sax
Alto Sax Takes Flute
Clarinet Takes Trumpet
Trumpet Takes Clarinet
SECTION Q (3 bar pattern)
Alto Sax Takes Va.
Trumpet Takes Vc.
Va Takes Alto Sax.
Vc, Takes Trumpet.
SECTION R (3 bar pattern)
Flute Takes Va
Va Takes Flute
Clarinet Takes Vc.
Vc. Takes Clarinet
SECTION S (3 bar pattern)
All instruments=1st bar of P + 1st bar of Q + 1st bar of R.
SECTION T (3 bar pattern)
All instruments= Bar 1,3,5 of section K
SECTION U (3 bar pattern)
All instruments= Bar 1,3,5 of section L
SECTION V (3 bar pattern)
All instruments= Bar 2,4,6 of section k
SECTION W (3 bar pattern)
All instruments= Bar 2,4,6 of section L
SECTION X (3 bar pattern)
All instruments= 1st beat of each bar of section S.
SECTION Y (3 bar pattern)
Mar+Vb.=note 2,3,4,5,6 of section X
Fl.+Cl.=beat 1+2 of section X
Other instruments=no change
SECTION Z (3 bar pattern)
Fl.=Beat 1+3 of Bar 1 of Mar.
Cl.=Beat 2 of Bar 1 of Mar.
Sax=Beat 1+3 of Vib.
Trumpet=Beat 2 of Vib.
Other instruments=no change

Sections A-W are in 4/4, while sections X-Z are in 3/4. Sections made of 2 or 3 bar patterns are repeated twice. Sections made of a superimposition of 2 and 3 bar patterns (L-O) are extended to 6 bars (2 x 3) so as to obtain a complete cycle, and repeated twice. Sections X-Y-Z are repeated 3, 4 and 5 times respectively.

[tab:performance notes]

Performance Notes
Each rehearsal mark corresponds to one section. Since they are all repeated, a full extended score has been avoided, in agreement with the tutor for this course. Instead, each section is shown once with the usual Repeat Bar symbols, but with the number of repeats indicated at the end of the section (above the End Repeat symbol). For instance, the indication “x5” means “repeat the section five times”. It supersedes the normal Repeat Bar symbol.
For the hocketing and pattern exchanges to be fully appreciated by an audience, the usual Stokowski orchestral formation must be avoided. Instead, the playing ensemble ought to be aligned along a half circle or half ellipse, or along a 3 sided rectangle (one long side + and two short sides). In particular, care must be taken so that Flute, Marimba, Viola and Saxophone are positioned on one side, while Clarinet, Vibraphone, Cello and Trumpet are on the opposite side. The Violin can be positioned at the apex or somewhere near the center. The conductor has full freedom in realizing this formation when taking into account the acoustic properties of the performance hall, as long as the hocketing contrast is spatially realized.

[tab:hear it]

realised with cubase+kontakt 5+ozone 5

[tab:END]

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