More than 64 Quartets
based on the I Ching
Release date: February, 25 2013
CD33 More than 64 Quartets for horns
based on the I Ching, opus 178
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The original name for this set was “I Ching Simple Meditations” which I feel is misleading. To me, music for meditation doesn’t have to be drones and slow, but that any music can be used as a meditation, if it reflects where you are or where you want to be. Since my 64 tonic system expands the tonal range of music from 12 tones to 64, this in it self is an important change, and expansive to meditate upon. If one wants simple, I would refer them to my I Ching Base tones set. These have simple patterns of scale, shape and structure, but don’t really sound simple.
This set of pieces was written during the years 2011-2012 and contains some based in scales version four and some piece in scales version five. I think that I finally have settled on scales version five as the stable set, with fixed tonics based on the 64 harmonics in an octave, but with equal tempered scale tones, and a tonic/dominate relationship usually separated by a fifth.
In the score, I have marked each piece with a “Pitch Center” specification. This is step one towards increasing the contrast of vibrational rate and feeling of each piece. I have recorded these all at “normal” A= 440 pitch center, since I am generally working at being the best orchestra musician I can. Working in alternate pitch centers is the ideal. My goal as I record these in 2012 is to play really well in tune at A=440. Twelve tones in the scale and equal tempered.
I use the Shao Yong I Ching circle as the formation of my cycle. This cycle takes us from fully creative; all six positive lines at the top or start, and fully receptive halfway through, sort of like summer solstice and winter solstice. Each piece has a fixed key that slowly rises through the octave from F (dark red) through the whole spectrum and back.
I Ching no. 1 starts to set and is loud and powerful and shows us the importance of the harmonic series.
I Ching no. 43 has more of a pyramid use of the positive lines, as it is five positive lines with one receptive line on top. It is easy to see this rhythm in the piece. (+, +, +, +, +, -)
I Ching no. 14 shows us quite readily that the overall structure spells out the I Ching hexagram. (+, +, +, +, -, +) We have four chords with an ascending version of the archetypal melody followed by one shorter and descending chord with the inverse of the archetypal melody, the last positive statement, and a final chord.
I Ching no. 34 I find to be quite beautiful, in fact, the start of this whole set seems in many ways to sound “normal”. As I look at it, the pattern of I Ching #34 is (+, +, +, +, -, -, ) which to me represents a fairly strong upward motion. The melody to me seems backwards, but the longer accompaniment chords do follow the hexagram pattern.
The alternating melody notes right at the end were actually a mistake, but it spices it up in a very beautiful way.
I Ching no. 11 (+, +, +, -, -, -, ) shows us the creative “pyramid” for 3 bars, and arpeggiated chords for three bars. This then his done six times three times forwards, and three times backwards to represent the positive and receptive energies.
I Ching no. 26 (+, +, +, -, -, +) now takes us into the state of how obvious the patterns can be if you're looking at them: three long chords, two short chords and a long, in this case I have given the hexagram the name “great inspiration”. Since it’s great, it’s loud. It’s also easy to hear the pattern presented six times.
I Ching no. 5 is the first of the jazzy pieces, and it is a larger form in six parts. To hear the I Ching influence besides the scale, one merely has to listen for rising and falling sections. Creative lines are represented by rising shapes, and receptive by falling.
I Ching no. 9 I don't feel I need to go deeper into theory other than what has been presented in I Ching the ideas above. These simple items listen to: rising melodies, descending melodies, long and short tones really should keep us focused on the inner symbolism.
If you would like further in-depth study, I have a visual version on DVD that has the color and shows a simple animated graphic of the I Ching hexagram. There is also a full score with around 150 pages of music. There is also a string quartet version of the set.
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