#66. Sangītaśiromani

TITLE: Sangītaśiromani01_o-v-e-r-t-u-r-e_edgerton_sangitasiromani_01-border
CAT# (YEAR COMPOSED): 66 (2002)
INSTRUMENTATION: 7 strings (vl, vla)
NOTE: SANGĪTAŚIROMANI, refers to a medieval handbook of Indian Music, the “Crest-Jewel of Music”, written in 1428 A.D.

Ancient north Indian treatises, such as the SANGĪTAŚIROMANI and the RG VEDA were concerned with relationships between human existence and ancient structures of affect that ruled the planets and our expressions.  These ancient texts theorized on the relations between humans and biology, proposing a complex network of affectations that could be realized in music, movement, speech or theater through a system of tonal associations.

The correspondence between the elements is regulated in north Indian Classical Music according to prominent tonal centers within music.  However, in my composition these associations do not exclusively reference pitch centers, but in addition those scalable properties of the 3rd dimension (Scelsi).

Throughout the piece, the character of each section relates to the sage-poets in the following order: Madhyama (Visnu); Nisada (Tumburu); Madhyama (Visnu); Sadja (Agni); Gandhara (Soma); Panama (Narada); Sadja (Agni); Samudra-Manthana; Pancama (Narada); Madhyama (Visnu).

In addition to the ideas from north Indian classical music, this piece also stems from psychacoustic study of desynchronized string production. The acoustical results of this study have been published here:

Edgerton, M.E., Hashim, N., Auhagen, W. (2014) A case study of scaling multiple parameters by the violin. Musicae Scientiae, Vol. 18(4) 473–496.


Still unpremiered in concert, Stefanie Heilmann recorded all parts at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin.