KeywordsMusic and dance.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOrigin Unknown is a 15-minute, single-movement work for orchestra. The piece maintains an understated, meditative quality throughout, and adheres to the principle of perpetual variation of a very limited amount of material. The form of the work is process-oriented: the music unfolds slowly, according to a consistent, yet flexible, dialectic. Two basic materials—one that is tonally stable, and another that modulates—alternate throughout the piece and form a harmonic backdrop. A type of respiration occurs, as the lengths of the stable sections expand and contract, while the modulatory passages get progressively longer each time they recur. A surface layer of triplet melodies is superimposed onto this background structure, forming a subtle counterpoint. Percussive, bell-like sounds (glockenspiel, vibraphone, celesta, harp, and piano) articulate most of the pitches in the work. As these sounds decay, they often meld into a wind or string timbre which sustains the pitch after its percussive attack has faded. Eventually, these sustained sounds fade out, just as their percussive attack did, but at a slower rate with a long diminuendo. A regular rotation of the percussive timbres produces a kaleidescopic effect, while the wind and string choirs often alternate in an antiphonal fashion. As the alternating wind and string passages expand and contract in length, the orchestration of the piece effects a "respiration" in the timbral domain analogous to that built into the harmonic structure of the piece.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance