Golden City Variations : for two pianists and two percussionists

Research output: Creative and Literary Works in Non - textual FormComposition

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Original languageEnglish
PublisherNational Library of Norway
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


Golden City Variations came out of a retrospective analysis of my previous ensemble works, especially ReTreTorika (2006) and Nermal Sonosofisms (1998). I also had in mind the futuristic imagery of Golden City (1999), an adventure comic book series by Daniel Pecqueur. The musical material was developed from fundamental compositional principles. First-species counterpoint is the interaction between two musical lines, consisting of notes that move at uniform speed: one against one. In this piece, I have investigated what constitutes a musical line, and some of the variations and compositional manipulations of interest. The first variation concerns the thickness of each line. Thickness might be varied from a single tone to a collection, such as a cluster or a large chord. Perceptually such variation is about the precision or smudginess of a line. It is linked to the concept of heterophony, i.e. when two or more lines move in approximately the same way, direction, and speed. The second variation concerns the stability of a single line. Stability depends on loudness, pitch clarity, spectromorphological consistency, and so forth. For example, the technique of iterated onsets within a sustained tone is relevant to percussive instruments such as marimba, vibraphone, and piano, allowing the musician to create an illusion of crescendo, though at the expense of stability. The third variation concerns the colour of a line. Visual colour and auditive timbre are commonly used metaphorically to describe one another. In the general population, they are associated in non-arbitrary ways through several cross-modal mechanisms, with emotion as a mediating factor.

Research Area(s)

  • Music Composition, score

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