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for ensemble

Year:  2023   ·  Duration:  11m
Instrumentation:  Flute, Bass Clarinet, Trombone, Piano, Percussion (1 player), Violin, Cello, Electronics (Digital Signal Processing)

Year:  2023
Duration:  11m
Instrumentation  Flute, Bass Clarinet, Tromb...

Alex Taylor

Composer:   Alex Taylor

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: pages 1–8 of score

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Adjustments is essentially a study of a single harmony. A six-note chord (B3, E4, F#4, A#4, C#5, E#5) is distributed amongst the seven instruments in different ways, exploring different voicings of the chord and how they might suggest alternative possible roots for the harmony. This draws on the idea of Klangfarbenmelodie in the Schonbergian sense, where the "melodie" is not a motion of pitch but purely in timbre. In each voicing, a pair of instruments is foregrounded: for example in the opening measures, the trombone E and bass clarinet B are brought forward in the mix, emphasizing a possible root of E for the chord, but also forming a sort of composite timbre, around which the other instruments orbit.

In the second section of the piece, these different voicings are microtonally adjusted to the partials of those suggested roots, creating a series of different harmonies that are both variations of the initial chord and entirely new chords. Here the pairs are still present, but reinforced spectrally by the accompanying instruments. This expands the concept of Schonbergian Klangfarbenmelodie to include literally melodic motions from chord to chord, even if they are relatively tiny.

The electronics provide a further layer of "adjustment", at times clarifying and highlighting the instrumental harmonies, and at others distorting and detuning them.

Commissioned note

written as part of the ACTOR project