Thrice again

The piece is noted in a tempered 36-tone system, consisting of two third-tone scales, always derived from the two fulltone scales of the chromatic system (C-D-E-F#-G#-A# and C#-D#-F-G-A-B), whereby  soprano- and tenor saxophone always play in one scale, alto- and baritone- in the other.

Parametrical decisions are chance generated, always following a trinary code: for each decision, in terms of pitch, time signature, position of note within measure, and density of instrumentation, there are always three options.

The piece’s course is quite simple: each part is centered on a reference tone, whereby the four reference tones are always by a semitone apart; notes are arranged around these reference tones, always in irregular zig-zag movements, within the range of nine (3 x 3) third-tones. After each line of nine bars, the reference tone for the lowest instrument (1st time baritone, 2nd tenor, etc.) is always increased by a fulltone. All four instruments are limited to the intersection of their common tonerange, and the one that reaches the upper limit of that range, must always switch to the bottom end (which is by two octaves lower). Since the ascension takes place very gradually, and is additionally obscured by the zig-zag movements, the listener will possibly realize the change process only in the very moment, when for the first time an instrument (the soprano, in bar 235) switches to the low register.

An ascension by an octave takes always six pages (12 lines); it is conducted three times (“thrice”) during the piece. Moreover each section of six pages is subdivided into three periods of two pages, each of which provides a different arrangement of sounds and silences, and after each six pages, the rhythmic complexity is increased: from alternating 3, 4 or 5 eighths measures, to always alternating 3, 4 or 5 sixteenths, eighths, or quarters; on page 13 the element of repetition is introduced, which creates a notion of melody; virtually causing a shift of attention, from event-orientated, to context-orientated listening. It is exactly the transitional zone between different listening attitudes, that my compositional work is targeting.


Premiered 2016, in Hamburg, by Konus Quartet