"gravitons": Three Pieces For Orchestra And Piano Involving Graphic Rotation And Negative Rhythm (original Composition)

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


The main objective for writing "Gravitons" is to compose a work of moderate difficulty performable by the personnel of an average university orchestra and, consequently, to make a substantial addition to the repertoire of "contemporary" music for orchestra and piano. Much of the literature in this idiom is beyond the scope of the average university orchestra. Therefore, they are unable to experience twentieth century performance and compositional techniques.Two compositional procedures were introduced to generate data for the piece: Graphic rotation of pitch-time material and a negative rhythm theory. The graphic rotation was accomplished by plotting a specific pitch-time figure on a rectangular coordinate system. This figure was rotated around a central axis at specific increments, thus generating new coordinates. The negative rhythm was produced by plotting a specific rhythm on a rectangular coordinate system and subtracting certain increments from the original coordinates. The data generated determined definite and indefinite pitches as well as specific rhythmic figures."Gravitons" utilizes many expanded resources for producing sound. Indefinite pitched timbres are combined with definite pitched timbres to create unusual sonorities throughout the orchestra. The percussion performs on tuned glass crystals and the pianist performs directly on the strings creating many contemporary effects.The compositional processes used in "Gravitons" have inspired new ideas for further experimentation and, hopefully, as more composers become acquainted with them, will become established twentieth century compositional techniques.



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