New piece: The Unnameable. 12:10
UPDATE: For many years I have been trying to compose using the harmonic series, and in a series of studies for my three-Disklavier piece, including this one, I’ve finally figured out how to do it. The harmonic series in its natural pitch order (high harmonics on top) is a rather thin thing to work with, creating wan parallels. But if in one chord you use the 13th harmonic near the bottom and the 5th on top, and in the next chord you have the 11th on the bottom and the 9th on top, and so on, one can create a wonderful range of variously clear and obscure chords that all make sense, but give subtle tension-and-release patterns analogous to regular tonal harmony, with extremely parsimonious voice-leading. The chords can be almost motionless as the implied tonic zips all over the place. And to do that, I’ve become increasingly reliant on the 13th harmonic; without it, the gap between the 3rd and 7th harmonics made it difficult to keep the melodic intervals consistently small. I suppose it’s the just-intonation version of what beboppers do with the flat and sharp 9, sharp 11, and flat 13. So after years of 11-limit pieces, I’m finding myself ensconced in a 13-limit world, and I can finally really hear that 13th harmonic and anticipate its effects. Don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this paradigm of emotionally fulfilling music that barely moves, it’s just my thing.