Dean Rosenthal sur webSYNradio

DEAN ROSENTHAL

Mathematical Music

I have always believed that mathematics in music aren’t to be used lazily and following that, if the music that is being composed never transcends the mathematics, the piece is a failure. Much of what we hear online and off when we listen to popular sonifications of drawings, formulas, outer space, DNA, and other attempts that go viral are barely musical, if they are musical at all. Thoughtful composers that take mathematics as a starting point can create meaningful and moving works of art.

To make this playlist of mathematical music, I had to limit the subject of mathematical music significantly to attempt to create a list that is inevitably incomplete. What qualifies as mathematical music? Here are the criteria that I settled on for this playlist:

The music I have chosen is music that by virtue of composition specifically and significantly explores and exemplifies a process, property, or feature of mathematical study, such as permutations, block designs, Hamiltonian paths, self-similarity, logical harmonic progressions, and Markov Chains. I limited myself to Western classical and notated instrumental music primarily and did not include rock or jazz or other musics. I focussed on standard tuning works and not on microtonal music or music with scales outside well-tempered tuning, although different tunings clearly exemplify different mathematical considerations (nonetheless, a few were included).

Much of the list consists of recent works and works of the last 75 years; the list also includes more than handful of historical pieces that show perfect symmetries, logical chance operations, and the use of numerical series like the Fibonacci series. This includes the music of Bach, Hadyn, Mozart, Byrd, Machaut, and Bartok. 

There is much mathematical music being made, however, and saying I was creating a completely accurate and totally representative closed list would ultimately be unfair to the listener and reader. But here is a list that might shine light here and there into the universe of mathematical musical works.

Notes for the WebSYNradio playlist, prepared by Dean Rosenthal- May, 2016

J’ai toujours pensé que les mathématiques ne doivent pas être utilisés à la légère en musique, et par conséquent, si la musique composée ne transcende pas les mathématiques, la pièce est un échec. La majorité de ce qu’on peut entendre en ligne ou ailleurs comme les transpositions sonores de schémas, de formules, de phénomènes cosmiques, du séquençage ADN, et tant d’autres tentatives très à la mode, sont à peine musicales, si on peut même les considérer comme telle. Pourtant certains compositeurs sérieux qui prennent les mathématiques comme un point de départ créent des œuvres significatives et importantes pour l’art.

Pour constituer cette playlist – inévitablement incomplète – autour de la musique mathématique, j’ai essayé de serrer mon sujet et ma sélection. Que peut on qualifier comme musique mathématique ? Voici les principaux critères sur lesquels j’ai basé cette playlist :

La sélection que j’ai retenue est la musique qui, en vertu d’une composition spécifique et significative explore et illustre un processus, une propriété ou une caractéristique du champs mathématique, tels que les permutations, la combinatoire, l’auto similarité, les graphes hamiltoniens, les progressions harmoniques logiques, ou les chaînes de Markov. Je me suis limité à la musique classique occidentale et la musique instrumentale écrite et n’ai pas envisagé le rock ou le jazz ou d’autres genres musicaux. De même je me suis focalisé sur les musiques tonales sans trop de considération pour la musique micro tonale ou la musique avec des échelles en dehors des tonalités bien tempérées, même si différents exemples illustrent clairement différentes considérations mathématiques (j’en en ai donc inclus quelques uns).

La majeure partie de la liste se compose d’œuvres récentes et porte sur des travaux des 75 dernières années; la liste inclut également quelques pièces historiques (Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Byrd, Machaut et Bartok) qui développent des symétries parfaites, des opérations de logique et de probabilité, et l’utilisation de séries numériques comme la suite de Fibonacci.

Il y a une très importante production liée à la musique mathématique, et prétendre faire une liste exhaustive aurait été injuste pour l’auditeur et le lecteur. Mais voici une liste qui pourrait apporter un éclairage ici et là dans l’univers des œuvres musicales mathématiques.

Dean Rosenthal – mai 2016

Playlist

1 The 78 two-note chords 0:21 The Chord Catalogue, performed by Samuel Vriezen – composed by Tom Johnson (combinations)

2 Spectral Canon For Conlon Nancarrow 3:28 PostMinimalism and Totalism Sampler – composed by James Tenney (relative mathematical rhythmic canon on the harmonic series)

3 Ideals 4:44 performed by Stratocluster live in Ostrava 2015, by Samuel Vriezen (ring theory, algebraic structures)

4 Quaerendo Invenietis (Canon Contrarium Stricte Reversum) 0:52 Bach (JS): Musical Offering, BWV 1079 w/Neville Mariner and St. Martins-in-the-Field, J.S. Bach (mirror canon, reflective symmetry)

5 Mode de valeurs et d’intensités 4:39 Evryali / Herma / Quatre Études de Rhythme , by Olivier Messiaen (total mathematical serialism)

6. Path 2:12, performed by Katerina Kuscevic, by Dean Rosenthal   (permutations, graph theory)

7 My Travels in Euler Space 5:53 by David Victor Feldman (Eulerian grids, musical geometry)

8 Logical Harmonies 2, 3:39, from Logical Harmonies by Richard Glover (logical chord progressions)

9 Canon In π 10:46 Luiz Henrique Yudo (use of Pi)

10 Permutations on Laudate Dominum 9:00 Brian Parks (permutations)

11 The 1287 five-note chords 3:48 The Chord Catalogue & Within Fourths, performed by Samuel Vriezen, by Tom Johnson (combinations)

12 Duplets Mvt I 1:30, performed by Sharon Kim, by Dean Rosenthal (rhythmic tiling)

13 Rational Melodies – No. XV 1:35 by Ensemble Klang from Cows, Chords & Combinations – by Tom Johnson (self-similarity)

14 Tergiversate 15:54, performed by Jake Rosenzweig, Laura Steenberge, Scott Worthington – basses, by Michael Winter – (graph theory, de Bruijn Sequence)

15 Menuet al rovescio, Piano Sonata No. 41 in A major,  3:37, by Franz Joseph Haydn (temporal reflective symmetry)

16 Within Fifths – IV 7:44 from Within Fourths / Within Fifths, performed and composed by Samuel Vriezen (block designs)

17 Diliges Dominum 2:48 by William Byrd (temporal reflective symmetry)

18 C31* Orbits 14:04 Samuel Vriezen (composer), Ere Lievonen (31-tone organ) – (microtonal scales, mutliplicative composing)

19 Study on Archytas’ Enharmonic 2:02 The Harry Partch Collection 2 (Volume 1) Harry Partch (alternate mathematical tunings)

20 Ma Fin Est Mon Commencement 1:40 by Guillaume de Machaut (temporal symmetry)

21 Study No. 1: Octaves, Systematically Filled and Folded 5:46 Eight Studies for Automatic Piano by Seth Horvitz (systems)

22 Duplets Mvt V, 1:46 performed by Sharon Kim, by Dean Rosenthal (rhythmic tiling)

23 Rational Melodies # XII 1:19 by Tom Johnson (systems)

24 Analogiques A & B, 7:32 by Iannis Xenakis (Markov Chains)

25 The 1-3-5-7 Hexany Chord Catalog (The 35 three-note chords possible in one octave) 5:03, Dave Seidel (hexany tunings, combinations)

26 Study for Player Piano – VIII. 4:28 Studies for Player Piano, by Conlon Nancarrow (tempo canons, rhythmic systems)

27 Andante Con Moto 0:53 Opus 60 Hanne Darboven (adaptive visual systems)

28 Rational Melodies – XI 1:30 by Tom Johnson (systems)

29 Deest « Musikalisches Wurfelspiel”, Musical Dice Game In C Minor, K. 516f, 6:21 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (chance)

30 Duplets Mvt IV 1:14, performed by Sharon Kim, by Dean Rosenthal (rhythmic tiling)

31 The 286 ten-note chords 1:31 The Chord Catalogue, performed by Samuel Vriezen, by Tom Johnson (combinations)

32 Allegro barbaro 2:40 by Bela Bartok (Fibonacci series)

33 Signals Intelligence 8:40 by Christopher Adler (self-similarity, rhythmic canons)

34.Kirkman’s Ladies – 14:17 by Tom Johnson (block designs)

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Dean Rosenthal

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ELEMENTS

Dean Rosenthal is an American composer (b.1974) of contemporary classical music, field recordings, digital pastiche, sound collage, and installations; performer, writer on music, and theorist. Dean Rosenthal’s works are performed, broadcast, choreographed, and installed internationally, primarily in North America and Europe. He has published several broadly received articles on music, including reviews, and speaks publicly about his music and the music of others. His work is discussed and taught in university and other educational settings. His ongoing, international performance piece « Stones/Water/Time/Breath » was begun in 2012 after having been written on his home island of Martha’s Vineyard. His most recent article, Approaching Completeness, can be found online at http://earreader.nl/archives/920.
Find out more at www.deanrosenthal.org and www.stonespiece.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Rosenthal

Dean Rosenthal est un compositeur américain né en 1974, actif dans de multiples champs artistiques (musique contemporaine, field recordings, installations ….) et présent sur la scène internationale, principalement aux US et en Europe. Il a publié plusieurs articles qui ont connu une large réception et ont trouvé des prolongements  notamment sur le plan universitaire. Sa pièce la plus connue,  intitulée « Stones/Water/Time/Breath », créée en 2012 et qui prend pour sujet son ile natale Martha’s vineyard, est toujours en cours.  Récemment il a publié Approaching Completeness, disponible ici http://earreader.nl/archives/920.
En savoir plus :  www.deanrosenthal.org and www.stonespiece.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Rosenthal

 

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