spirare

1993 ~ for computer processed audio
1993 ~ for computer processed audio

spirare is designed around a symmetrical arch form of five sections with several layers of sectional divisions based upon proportions of the overall shape of the composition. The outer pairs of sections – sections I & II and IV & V – are similar in length and design while the middle section III is designed as a architectural duplicate image of the overall shape of the piece - that is, it is divided into five sections of length roughly proportional to the overall structure. Furthermore, the center pair of section III is again divided into sections of proportional significance based upon the overall shape of the composition.

 

               Quarter-tone, Eighth-tone and Just tuning systems were used in spirare and were often layered with equal temperament tunings to create the sometimes thick and translucent effects heard in the first and fourth sections of the piece.

               

               spirare opens with a section that is 3:10 in duration, composed entirely of a single FM voice. From this original voice, several variations were produced which, as the section progresses, are used as strata for building the ambiguous textures. The timbre and pitch alterations to the voice included applying an LFO to produce modulating upper partials; the use of a just tuning system emphasizing the pure fifths and major thirds; and exploiting the variations in the pitch registers of these voices. Successive layering of the processed voices succeeds in imparting a surreal quality to the sound image.

 

               The next major section begins at 3:10 and extends until 5:25. Section II is a series of three parts that share a 3/2 proportional relationship. The A and B1-3 parts are temporally related this way, as are the A and C parts. Three exact delineations of 15.4 seconds each seamlessly combine to make up the A section. The last note fades into the silence of the first pail of the B section. The B section is a series of 4 short subdivisions, the first being 7.7 seconds of silence (half of each of the A parts) while the second two are multiples of the first part. The fourth B section is further divided into three areas with the same relative proportions as the entire section II. Pitch material for the B4 section grows out of the Bl-3 parts. Increased activity is achieved in each of the three parts of the B4 section by adding more notes, with increased voice panning, achieved through use of MIDI controller data, and changes of voice timbre, while the tempo decreases. The material in the C section is modified A section material reworked in three 10 second segments.

 

               The third section of the piece is the center of the arch form and the area of primary pitch material development. It is divided into five major sections as is the whole piece and each of these five sections is proportionally related to their corresponding outer section. The middle section of this division is further broken down into two sections of two thirds and one thirds duration.

 

               Section IV begins at 11:23 and is a brief chordal transition to the final section at 13:17.

 

               spirare concludes with a section that is characterized by long, slowly evolving changes in timbre, heard first on the left side of the stereo image, then later after a moment of silence, on the right side. This static backdrop is interrupted by occasional shifts in the stereo image from left to right. At 15:11, new material taken from earlier in section V appears in a compressed form until 15:33, followed by 4" of silence. A return to material from the opening of this section breaks the silence, this time entering from the left side of the stereo image. A rustling of sounds which first appeared at 15:11 can be heard at first faintly in the background, but eventually overtake the dominant sound, rising in amplitude to a climax at 16:47. At this point, a final transformation of the voice that opened spirare fades the piece out.

© 2019 Steve Antosca. All Rights Reserved.