www.i-ching-music.com I Ching as a Structural Foundation for Music
I Ching Music
First period organization
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Ways to use this in music

For the composer this may be the most important page.


This list is of some of the different ways I have used the I ching
as a resource for music compositions.

I.
Scale is obvious.

II.
Form

In using a recording program, like digital performer, that I use, a whole composition can be shrunk down so it can be viewed on one page. Here you can see the hexagram +,+.-,+,-,-
Richard Burdick's Particles 11
++++     ++++   --------                   ++++    -------------         --------------

In the particles section of my opus 159, Waves and Particles, the Yin or
receptive energy is slower and therefor is the longer sections.

III.
Chords & Arpeggios
My I Ching arpeggios CD is still popular after ten years. This is done with a pattern the is based on the relationship between the scale and the harmonic series a simple versions of a major scale would be 1, 9, 5, 21, 3, 27, 15 and then 2 so then the harmonic signature of the c major scale would be C, G, E, D, B, F, A (from low to high)

IV.
Rhythm
This seems obvious also,
but there are two main ways to interpret the I Ching patterns as rhythm.

I CHIng Haxagram #11 would be I CHing Rythym 11aor I Ching Rythym 11b

I prefer the first version above, it seems more accurate to the I Ching and the music become more complex; less normal

V.
Like Wagner, I have an archetypal melody for each Hexagram

VI.
I have a whole set of little piece called I ching rhythm patterns

VII.
In some of my newest work like Opus 170 I Ching (#27) Meditation & Dance (icmd27) I am using the four basic sound types (Sine wave, Square wave, Triangle wave and Saw tooth wave) as a main part of the piece, sort of replacing the string section with a computer generated sound group. (None of these pieces have been recorded yet).

VIII.
My Opus 148 "One -hundred-twenty-eight Amens" takes us from the universal fundamental "F" through the harmonic series up to the 128 partial each step takes us through a simple chord progression in each of the 64 hexagrams and then some . . .

IX.
Scale is obvious, but can be used in various ways:

The fundamental really should be a long tone and the leading tone a short tone, so with an eight tone scale and two predetermined scale tone lenghths the middle six tones outline the hexagram:

53 I ching scale in the middle              58 I Ching scale in the middle