(Computer Music for Piano Sounds or Open Improvisaton)
Reading Terminal (ReadingT) is a piece for piano sounds using Bohlen-Pierce Pythagorean tuning. This composition is conceived as a thorough work or as an open work, as music-minus-one, to be performed by itself or with additional instrumentation. Its structure is the result of computations product of numbers that represent musical values that trigger physical and acoustic models of piano spectra. Horizontal sequences of music events overlap against vertical blocks moving across time, thereby contrasting consonances because of combinations of intervals framed within this tuning. Several groups within few forms show up as a result of time passing. Forms are sequentially arranged by following a linear track from point X to point Z with several stops in between. Though its structure is linear its body outlines the elastic metaphor by perturbing what is horizontally flat down to a skewed position before bouncing back to harmonic equilibrium. ReadingT presumes the analogy of illusion of motion on static forms as shore on it conception. [listen 🗧 to the Bohlen-Pierce scale].
On this computer music piece numbers combine to generate structures on a plane producing relations which alternate or increase intensity on their perception. Resulting combinations excite harmonized timbre where harmony is defined within the piece. Operations include sequences of numbers that arise from couple of magic squares used by Bruno Maderna as early as on the nineteenth-fifties. The struggle among vertical and horizontal linkage intensifies depending on the choice of sequences and their position along a path ensuing composition's timeline. Consonances in this harmonic subset are function of tuning. Bohlen-Pierce scales accentuate odd partials of piano sounds, therefore an appropriation of native harmonies instead of preconceived dissonances. Hereupon a contextual definition of an out-of-tune piano as necessarily nonoperational is superseded with the notion of an instrument with increased resonance. For this matter the octave is divided onto thirteen steps (a tritave). Tone-row sets on this piece were devised within at least thirteen notes but usually sixteen though using modulo-13 arithmetic.
Figure No.1: Graphic description of static motion on symmetrical patterns.
This is a symmetric form made out of inscribed triangles that seem to be moving as figure is detailed. Given that these are equilateral triangles, there is congruence amidst all sides. Here a pivotal structure can be transposed to generate a copy of the original placed over different coordinates. Likewise, this structure can also be rotated and inverted. By piecing together copies along a plane, above operations articulate a non trivial pattern and therefore movement as an illusion arises. This analogy is used for creating sequential events for the composition ReadingT. Tone rows, hexachords or other groups can be juggled by applying symmetric operations of this sort.
ReadingT alludes to one of Philadelphia's train stations at a time around nineteen-seventies. Aside from trains, the building was a market of music related stuff including electronics, records and tapes. But its function was framed as a window to center city highlights including John Wanamaker's organ almost across the street. Quoting a fellow musician:
``To the avid listener this location was music to the ears the moment you walked down the train to when you open doors into freezing Market Street. The trip to Reading Terminal was always worth. Most certainly your hands will be crammed with music on your return to Glenside.''For good-or-bad, at present still a landmark, this landmark is site of a convention center and a world reknown market underground. Not as it used to be but still standing thereby plenty of reminisces of the then abound.
Reading Terminal because of sound images of les études de ``Chemins de Fer'' where all ``chemins'' sounded as trains got to the terminal and left it by always displacing on quasi two-dimensional paths from point-to-point[s]. On this composition lines are keystone for symmetric forms given that a pair of two coordinates might imply motion. The terminal by itself -paraphrasing sound art terminology- could be the image of a soundscape encompassing thousands of sounds and movement. Albeit on ReadingT those resembling Piano either horizontally or vertically made the sound set. Routinely this terminal had its peak rush moments and slow times just like on elastic process of tension and relaxation through time.
ReadingT is a composition using symmetric methods playing upon manipulation of two prime rows. Rows themselves or their 'dihedral' subgroups were later modified by cycling, rotating or transposing their members. Prime rows were also convolved with diagonals of Maderna's magic squares. A visualization of these procedures can be seen on the Figure No.1 above. Worth noting here polygons are static, although there seems to be an illusion movement within the object as a whole. This because of symmetry on its elements and operations in within (more in figure's caption). This piece was realized using Rick Taube's Common Music, Bill Shottstaedt's Snd and S7 in addition to software developed by the composer. Thanks to Enrique Moreno who years ago pointed out apropos of microtunings and unorthodox scales.
Here we present a computer rendering of a solo version of "ReadingT". This piece is conceived as a thorough or open work for further instrumentation, Ambisonics, in addition to in-situ or telematic performance.
✇ Listen 🗧
[ Piano solo down mix of ``ReadingT'' ]
Below we can listen to Bohlen-Pierce Pythagorean ascending and descending scales. More about this tuning [HERE].