Refractions (Armstrong, Peter McKenzie)
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Peter McKenzie Armstrong (composer)
|Alternative Title||12-Tone Chords on an All-Interval Row|
|Composer||Armstrong, Peter McKenzie|
|Year/Date of Composition||2012|
|Dedication||in memoriam Phil Winsor|
|Average Duration||90 seconds|
In the mid-80s I wrote the first of several programs collectively named "IntLens", which, given
any pitch class series (probably a 12-tone row), complemented or compounded its intervals
in all combinations of selection by class, outputting each result as a graphed chord with asso-
ciated statistical goodies.
Now for a sounding realization true to that idea, I have chosen input 0 1 4 2 9 5 11 3 8 10 7 6,
Mallalieu's all-interval row (most perfectly self-similar, with second half reversing/inverting the
first), to ensure that chord-to-chord contrast stem maximally from registral differences, mini-
mally from input-specific quirks.
Viewing the total process as one of expansion, I have assigned importance to the density of
pitches at extreme range, by making such density determine for each chord both duration
and volume level.
There are two movements, based on alternate strategies for primary vs secondary ordering.
Movement I sequences chords outerly by range, innerly by density; Movement II swaps the
Two scorings are offered: "macro", a single staff with alto clef, serves in listening to track the
overall chord shapes, but obscures note detail; "micro" in four-staff piano style serves in
reading to provide full note detail, by breaks up the chord shapes. This latter score notates
each chord as two columns: one for black keys, with a collective sharp-sign; one for whites,
with a collective natural-sign. Each column pair is read as sounding at once.
Not detailed in score, but explicit throughout the audio files, is consistent chord arpeggiation.
This is applied: in Movement I as "rolls" in pitch-class series order (rather than up or down);
in Movement II as "unrolls" -- similarly ordered note releases after block-chord attacks.
Refractions is dedicated to the memory of composer Phil Winsor, who mentored IntLens's
inception during my season at UNT and once corralled me as keyboardist in a crazy chord
piece of his own. He dared anything graced with self-discipline. I already miss him.