Dane Rudhyar's Transmutation of 1976: Transformative Use of the Descending and Ascending Harmonic Series as a Compositional Device
AuthorSuescun Valencia, Katherine
KeywordsAscending Harmonic Series
Descending Harmonic Series
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe French-American composer Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985) uses the harmonic series in a unique manner to create dissonant harmonies. His method incorporates the principles of order, interaction, and interpenetration whereby the fundamental pitches and shared partials of two interrelated harmonic series are made explicit. He uses both the ascending and the descending versions of the harmonic series as a unifying factor that substantiates his metaphysical conception of the harmonic series and his notion of the piano as a collection of gongs capable of powerful resonance. Rudhyar’s mature piece, Transmutation: Tone-Sequence in Seven Movements for the Piano (1976) exhibits the use of such interpenetrated harmonies particularly in Movements 3, 6, and 7. The scrutiny and analysis of these movements in this document reveal compelling implementations of interpenetrated dissonant harmonies as generators of the melodic and harmonic framework, gong-like textures, climaxes, and endings.
Degree ProgramGraduate College