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
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
α, each of them exploring a different
harmonic realm and spectral quality.
initial fundamental “key”, F-sharp, is reinstated in the
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.
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.
title, “STRINGS”, I refer to a number of parallels that between my current
microtonal research and phenomena in contemporary Superstring Theory.