Date Completed: April 2000
Part of Series: al-Gharaniq
Recording: Available for free at SoundCloud or you can listen through this player:
This title transliterates as al-Gharaniq I, and is named after the so-called "satanic verses" allegedly once a part of the Q'uran. There is more info on this as well as an explanation of the basic program of the piece on the series page for my Gharaniq pieces.
Like all Gharaniq pieces, the structure of this work involves small or insignificant aspects of one section emerging into prominence and dominating the next section. For example, the limited melodic range of one section spawns the next section being dominated by a repetitive ostinato motivically derived from the melody. The rhythmic rigidity of that ostinato in turn germinates and creates copies that gradually move out of phase until chaos results.
Another example comes early in the piece, where an initially very small pitch bend gradually generates more and more copies with increasingly broad and wild pitch bends and portamento. This melody is also initially played on über-simple sine wave patches. Slowly more partial freqencies are added to the sounds as they become more complex. This underlying aspect of the pitch content of the piece eventually takes over the entire composition, culminating in absolute white noise—the sound of all frequencies simultaneously.
This piece is the first entirely electronic composition I created. It was made in the University of Oklahoma MIDI lab, and was the final composition of my undergraduate career. At the time I wondered if it might herald a shift in my compositional style, both toward the incorporation of electronics and toward increased use of dissonance and noise. Now, more than a decade later, I can say that I was most definitely right.
This work also heralded my shift toward series of works that deal with the same formal and/or programmatic structures. I named it al-Gharaniq I because even at the time I suspected I would want to further explore these concepts. Not only have there been several more Gharaniq pieces since this one, but I've also continued creating new series ideas. The process has become my primary muse. So nice work fifth-year-of-college Pat!
COMING SOON (maybe)