TITLE: adjusting to beams falling adjusting-to-beams-falling-title-page-and-notes_border
CAT# (YEAR COMPOSED): 73 (2006)
INSTRUMENTATION: flute and cello
NOTE: written for Frank Cox and Lisa Cella

IDEAS: adjusting to beams falling (the phrase from the chapter “G in the Air” from the book The Maltese Falcon) is a continuation of a series of compositions designed to elevate the structural importance of those musical elements that are normally seen as appendages to pitch and rhythm, by scaling the multidimensional phase spaces of instruments and voices. As early as 1911, Schönberg suggested that

“If it is possible to create structures out of Klangfarben that are differentiated according to tone height (pitch) .., then it must be possible to make such progressions out of the Klangfarben of the other dimension out of that which we call Klangfarbe.”


Although it is ambiguous as to precisely what Schönberg meant by Klangfarbenmelodie, here we have a clear indication that he was indeed thinking of dimensions outside of pitch and rhythm. Since then, other composers have explored such elements, with many working in the realm of the extended technique that was so popular between the 1960s and mid 1980s. However, current approaches look to a greater sophistication and structural relevance to the non pitch/rhythmic axis. So, to that end, I have been developing a theory of this work in the continuum (or multidimensional phase space), that will encompass not only my work, but implicate, in general, work by composers such as Klaus K. Hübler, Julio Estrada, Frank Cox and Salvatore Sciarrino, as well as ethnically diverse world musical traditions.

Specifically, this piece is not an attempt to represent an abstract theoretical complexity. Rather, this piece attempts to utilize compositional methods of redundancy/novelty, tension/release, fission/fusion, consonance/dissonance across multiple dimensions. This is accomplished by 1) selecting robust elements involved in the production of sound, 2) scaling each parameter between minimal and maximal values, in order to 3) compose across multiple dimensions utilizing methods of similarity, contrast, development and variation as found within the pitch/rhythm domain; this leads potentially to 4) an increase of procedural redundancy/novelty, which is a prime concern of composition; this may be achieved either within a single or across multiple dimensions via 5) modulation within the same dimension, or via transference of procedural contour from one dimension to another; such procedures add to 6) notions of relatedness, similar conceptually to tonal music, but here implies that transposition/modulation within a single dimension will carry a closer correspondence to its original than when transferred to another dimension; all of this movement may 7) heighten the inherent nonlinearity of a system by shifting a value into a certain robust range, or by decoupling the elements from one another into certain ratios; the result of such procedures often 8) produce a) nonlinear phenomena, b) changes of timbre, or c) nonharmonic source/resonant multiplicities.


IDEAS2: This is a piece about not accepting lies; about looking deeper into and beyond the propaganda distributed by the powers in charge; and mostly about asking the question “why?” Dissent and resistance are outlawed, arrested, charged in courts of law, judged not by our peers and labeled insurgents for resisting the onslaught. A people’s history wishes to resist campaigns of disinformation, to avoid unknowingly providing consent to crimes by states and crimes against humanity.

On the very day that Harold Pinter was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for literature, the BBC (the propaganda engine of the British establishment) who should be singing the praises of one of their own sons, said he was unworthy of the prize because of his political stance, and that he was chosen, only because the Nobel committee wanted to make a political statement through the outspoken Mr. Pinter. Well, no matter that his prose and plays are well-known and loved throughout the world. My, my, my, what a scandal, that an artist will have broad-reaching socio-political views. Since the Hutton Report, which found the BBC guilty of not supporting the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the change of leadership at the BBC has engaged in the shameful manufacture of public opinion against common sense and international law, to consent to allowing the US and British Governments to commit war crimes that have resulted in over 100,000 dead in Iraq and over 1,000 American soldiers. So I guess the BBC has now become the Backing Bush Constantly (corporation). But to get back to the question why – on September 11, 2001, I heard only one voice in the corporate-controlled media ask the question “why?”. Seemed an obvious reaction to me – but perhaps the Bush Cabal knew already… One other small point, the recent report titled NIST Response to the World Trade Center Disaster, Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster, Media and Public Briefing on April 5, 2005 Dr. S. Shyam Sunder, Acting Deputy Director and Lead Investigator of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce could not definitively determine why the twin towers collapsed. In their report, the investigators found that:

•The two WTC towers withstood the initial impact of virtually identical aircraft (Boeing 767-200ER) during the terrorist attacks of September11, 2001.
•Calculations of demand to capacity ratios due to aircraft impact damage showed that for the floors affected by the aircraft impacts, the majority of the core and perimeter columns in both towers continued to carry their loads after the impact. The loads from damaged and severed columns were redistributed to nearby undamaged columns.
•The above finding supports the fact that the WTC towers withstood the initial aircraft impact and the finding that they would have continued to remain standing indefinitely but for another significant event such as the subsequent fires.
•Fires played a major role in further reducing the structural capacity of the buildings, initiating collapse. While aircraft impact damage did not, by itself, initiate building collapse, it contributed greatly to the subsequent fires and the thermal response of the structures.
•The jet fuel, which ignited the fires, was mostly consumed within the first few minutes after impact. The fires that burned for almost the entire time that the buildings remained standing were due mainly to burning building contents and, to a lesser extent, aircraft contents, not jet fuel.
•As a result of the above factors, the buildings would likely not have collapsed under the combined effects of aircraft impact and the subsequent jet-fuel ignited multi-floor fires … The existing condition of the fireproofing prior to aircraft impact and the fireproofing thickness on the WTC floor system did not play a significant role in initiating collapse on September 11, 2001.

So many questions about September 11 – who, how, why?