Compositional Exercise: Horizontal/Parallel

I was asked to compose a brief, 60-second piece of music using the words horizontal and/or parallel as inspiration. When writing music I feel that imposing limitations can unearth some very interesting ideas, and forces the composer to come up with new ways of doing things. For this particular exercise I decided to limit my harmonic and melodic activity, as I see those as ‘vertical’  elements of music.  When examining horizontal elements of music I immediately thought of rhythm. I decided to explore polymeter, and the way that different accents will interact over time. Starting with one element in 4/4 providing low tones, and a basis for the piece, I also introduce a voice in 9/8 and another in 7/8.  The accents in the 9/8 fall on the 1st, 4th, and 7th, giving it a triplet feel. The accents in the 7/8 fall on the 1st and the 5th beat, and when these are played simultaneously the pattern of accents constantly change until lining up again after 63 beats.  When accompanied by 2 elements with regular 4/4 feels, this rhythmic shifting can create a ver interesting effect.

I used the word parallel to inform my sound design, where I will employ may different ways of parallel processing. Separating sounds into frequency bands and using different effect chains to give these sounds some depth, and evolution throughout the 60 second piece.

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Compositional Exercise: Horizontal/Parallel

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