11 minutes


This score was composed for the Centre d'Acanthes 2009 and recorded by the Orchestre National de Lorraine under the direction of Jacques Mercier. Its microtonal harmonic structure is based on a study on the modal system of ancient Greece that I undertook in fall 2008. The harmonic system is based on a series of unconvential modulations  intervallic progressions based on the 7th and the 11th overtone.

The formal evolution is directed by intervallic progressions that are based on the 7th and 11th partials of the overtone-spectrum. The harmonic structures are confronted with the sub-harmonic scale of the true Dorian scale that is maintained in the voice-leading of the woodwinds. 

The background structure progresses in four states, descending from the 8th onto the 11th undertone. These four evolutionary states are labeled as δ, γ, β and α, each of them exploring a different harmonic realm and spectral quality.

The initial fundamental “key”, F-sharp, is reinstated in the γ section from where its modulation genuinely starts. Confronting a sub-harmonic scale progression with a super-particular harmonic background structure causes the formal devolution as a whole to progress in two separate directions. For that reason, the orchestral groups (mainly wind and string instruments) are treated separately. The bass-arpeggiation, as shown below, devolves into a state of utmost dissonance after providing the 11th undertone of the scale with its genuine final seat in an overtonal harmony.

The strings add an additional tuning-cycle that is based on natural sevenths (7/4). The second violins, the violas and the cellos are detuned by an applied system by means of which they mainly perform harmonics. They start from a harmonically distant relationship relative to F sharp: on A as the 11th overtone of the 7th overtone on the fundamental “key” F-sharp.

As if it were recollecting its different components one by one, the orchestra develops gradually into growing harmonic consistence until the final cadence. This is why the first section (δ) acts more or less as an introduction after which the initial set point of the sub-harmonic scale-structures (γ) is first combined with a bass-line, being used as bass line’s 7th overtone.

With the title, “STRINGS”, I refer to a number of parallels that between my current microtonal research and phenomena in contemporary Superstring Theory.

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