Cycles of Fifths in Lines of Self Similarity (for percussion ensemble)

“Cycles of Fifths in Lines of Self-Similarity (Horizontal Color Forms 9)” by Steve Kornicki

The version for percussion ensemble is performed here by the University of Central Florida Percussion Ensemble conducted by Nick Stange under the direction of Thad Anderson. The piece requires eleven players (snare drum, orchestral bass drum, kick drum, 2 triangles – 1 player, crotales, glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone, 3 marimbas).

This piece was originally written in 2005 for guitar quintet and then expanded in 2012 for various ensembles. It uses a process of music composition wherein five twelve-tone rows constructed from perfect fifths are extended across the melodic lines for the 6′ 30” duration. Each line utilizes its own individual rhythmic pattern, occurring for every pitch in a horizontal manner, thus creating a self similar piece of music. The non-pitched percussion provides a backdrop of continuous sound patterns. Overall, a soundscape effect is created through the extended duration of the individual pitches and the expanding rhythmic structures.

The piece is based on the mathematical concept of self similarity (the property of having a substructure analogous or identical to an overall structure) and fractal geometry. Objects in the real world that can be defined as fractals (coastlines, sea shells, snow flakes, crystals, leaves and plants, etc.) all display aspects of self similarity. The musical processes utilized in this music can be seen as analogous to this principle because the work’s resulting textural structures consist of many instances of the same or similar material, ultimately defining the overall form. The self-similarity effect of the music may also create a “suspended time frame” experience for the listener

Music, video, text, copyright 2013 Steve Kornicki