33 - Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies
J - Composition
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In conducting this research, I wanted to create a series of chamber music pieces that can be performed separately or together, using free spectral approaches to harmony and various scordatura tunings to achieve the required quarter- and sixth-tones. The title Seirenes (from the Greek seiraô, to bind or entangle) reflects this research aim, as it refers to the way in which lines wind together and then entangle to form a single melody.
I composed the piece freely, often drawing on subsets of the harmonic series pivoting around a common tone. The five movements which make up the centrepiece of the composition are cyclical which allow for a dialectical approach to the composition, alluding to the meaning of the title. The melody of the piece comes together and then entangles again over the course of the five movements. I chose to present the five movements alongside three pieces for soloist and lives electronics. This methodology allowed me to explore the various ways in which the sound of an instrument can be treated and transformed in real time, to create new colours, intensities, and haloes of sound.
The research findings demonstrate that “free spectralism” (by analogy with “free atonality”) is a viable approach to pitch selection in an otherwise free composition.
In line with the research aim to have a series of music pieces that can be performed separately or together, different pieces of Seirenes entered the public domain at different times. The first performance took place on 20 January 2014 (Movement III); the second on 13 August 2017 (first performance of Movement Ia); the third on 21 August 2017 (first performance of complete cycle except Movement Ib); the fourth on 17 December 2018 (first performance of Movement Ib). The CD with the entire composition was released on 6 September 2019.