DOI

10.17077/etd.d4jn-i5ht

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Music

First Advisor

Gompper, David

Second Advisor

Charles, Jean-François

First Committee Member

Cohen Elias, Sivan

Abstract

“Eclipses” orchestrates the movements of human beings as celestial bodies—as wandering beings that emit waves, cycle in orbit, and create shadows. Subtle microtonal movements, or retunings of the same pitch, tell the story of gradual planetary motion leading to the drama of the eclipse. In the dimmed light of a solar eclipse, even the most familiar surroundings seem unfamiliar and strange.

The harmonic material of “Eclipses” was composed using the Rainbow Harmony Matrix, a MaxMSP-based mouse and keyboard interface designed for real-time interaction with a 2D colorized pitch space defined by Just Intonation ratios. The most difficult coding in this patch was completed thanks to the generous help of Jean-François Charles. The spatialization and color-coding of Just Intonation pitches provided by the Rainbow Harmony Matrix proved invaluable to organizing harmonic and melodic material. Elements of rhythm, timbre, and articulation were largely left to the ear’s intuition.

“Penumbra” magnifies the shadow cast when one celestial body partially obscures the light from another. Moments from “Eclipses” are revisited through a telescopic lens, such that the small whole number relations hiding in the harmonies are magnified, into the field of rhythm. Small gestures orbit each other in wandering motion, building a web of cause and effect.

The harmonic material from “Penumbra” is extracted from two chords occurring in measures 41-43 of “Eclipses.” The small whole number frequency ratios governing the cross-relations of these two chords are magnified and modified to create polyrhythms that cycle over several minutes.

Keywords

eclipse, intonation, microtonal, penumbra, quartet, string

Pages

viii, 20 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (page 20).

Comments

Eclipses audio file: https://doi.org/10.25820/ajtv-k472

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Copyright

Copyright © 2019 Day McMaster Beyer

Included in

Music Commons

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