TITLE: On Music
CAT# (YEAR COMPOSED): #31 (1996)
INSTRUMENTATION: for flute and viola
DURATION (APPROX): 12’00
The work was influenced by the study of De Musica by Aristides Quintilianus, a treatise devoted to the theory and philosophy of 3rd century BC musical thought. Although not incorporating earlier tuning systems, the composition utilizes micrtonality and other techniques to attain some of the imagined transient characteristics that may have accompanied the proper musical languages as suggested by Quintilianus. Additionally, the treatise discussed tetrachordal formations and applied to the chronological development of humans. Loosely, this suggests musically that the lower tetrachord has a certain arrangement that will thus link or overlap with a higher tetrachord, in order to compose a certain affection. For now, these affections will simply be labelled between good and evil. Musically, the transition between tetrachords was crucial to character of the remaining work. To this, Quintillianus drew parallels between the affection of tones and the human spirit, such that at certain transitional points in one’s life, the manner of linkage in those points are crucial to the spritual development of such persons. So that a transition of one color may be said to point the soul in a positive direction, while another will sink the soul into an abyss.
Therefore On Music examines poetical statements within De Musica and attempts to imbue the spirit of the passages into the expression of the work. As might be expected the statements encompass the sublime to the ordinary, the pure to the violent. The intent is to bring the listener to an ancient sound world of purity, gaeity and indecency.