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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody.

This is a piece that I just composed:

https://soundcloud.com/ramon-capsada-blanch%2Ffrom-french-horn-to-sinusoid
Thanks for listening!

Ramon


If you want, you can also read the following introductory note to the work:


From French horn to sinusoid


This work has been composed for a metal quintet (horn, 2 trumpets, trombone and tuba) but with the addition of a complementary part of electronic synthesis. Electronic music offers wide possibilities but I have just used them only in the definition of a musical instrument comparable to others, without having a prominent role but integrating in a homogeneous way with the other five acoustic instruments.

Also, a fundamental idea that I have wanted to use is the concept of Additive Synthesis of Sound (a special mention for the mathematician Joseph Fourier!) that defines the sounds and also the timbres of musical instruments, as complex oscillations formed by the addition of an infinite set of elementary oscillations that if we represent them mathematically to see how they vary according to time, they have sinusoid shape. A sinusoid is a very simple and smooth wave that repeats itself over and over again. The sound of the oscillation of a sinusoid is so simple, fundamental and pure that it does not exist in the natural environment, it has to be originated electronically. Natural sounds are structurally much more complex and can be decomposed in an infinite combination of these elementary sounds that have the structure of a sinusoid.

I have particularly wanted that, in the work, this additive synthesis process appeared explicitly and I have done it showing just the reverse process: starting from the complex sound formed by the horn timbre, the evolution of this sound is presented as it goes progressively losing the components that form it, until they have a single component formed only by a simple sinusoidal wave. A "glissando" effect is thus obtained, but in this case the continuous variation is not of the tone but of the timbre, starting from the acoustic and complex timbre of the horn and ends up reaching the simple timbre of an electronic sinusoid. This process is presented directly in two moments of the work, the first just after the introduction (played exclusively by the five acoustic instruments) and the second in the precise final of the work.
The simple and fundamental nature of the sound produced by a single sinusoid, has been the reason why I wanted this sound to be the timbre of the "sixth instrument", of the electronic instrument. Just at the beginning of the work this new timbre is presented, where a simple sixth melodic interval sounds.

I have defined this instrument with two parts or voices. The bass voice and the alto voice. With the bass voice I wanted to get extremely low tones difficult to get with acoustic instruments since some are much lower than the nether limit of the tuba; It fulfills a support function to the rest of the instruments as a "bass line". The alto voice is more difficult to treat given the simplicity of its timbre and takes the melodic complement function on the other voices.

About the use of electronics, we can specify that although the genuinely electronic instrument is the sinusoid previously explained, strictly speaking, the other wind instruments, in this version that I present here, its performance has also been made electronically with the computer but in this case emulating real acoustic instruments from samplers of virtual instruments (interpreting the score of the piece through the Noteperformer reproduction engine). Very different case is the sound of the sinusoid since it has been originated directly by electronic synthesis (using the Max MSP development environment).

In relation to musical materials (melodic, rhythmic and harmonic) used in this work, it can be noted that I has started from the definition of two classes, the first, formed by the materials that have a "antecedent" function and that have been originated following models of two types of continuous, persistent and augmentative variation (both of growth and decrease), one is exponential type and another of logarithmic type. The second class of materials have a "consequent" function and have been originated from more calm and oscillating variations, based on sinusoidal models. These two types of materials have been combined by creating constructions that had structural and logic consistency at different levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your very pertinent observation since it deals with one of the most critical aspects of this work on whether it can be interpreted by real players. I know that quite a few passages are very borderline uninterpretable. But given that, at least at the moment, it is very unlikely that my works will be played by ensembles of real musicians, I have preferred to prioritize my formal and aesthetic ideas over their interpretability and opt for a computer performance that would answer my approaches.
 
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