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Options March 1, 2012: Dave Soldier: Timeless Radio Project - for Radio Boredcast


Timeless Music, explains the two physical dimensions of music and approaches to manipulate them, with musical examples.

For recorded music, the dimensions are air pressure amplitude and time: and for composed music the dimensions are frequency and time. We explore some approaches for how one can play with these dimensions, for example using fractal patterns with partial dimensions, so that issues like tempo become undefined, and the length of music become ambiguous.

The show includes explanations / illustrations of how to make deliberate fractal patterns in music, Fourier transform music and even a straightfoward explanation of white noise. (These are really not hard, and I'd like to think I explain them with minimal jargon.) 

Exploring this direction, I have prepared some math music:

The variations on Chopin's Minute Waltz uses integrals, derivatives, averages, and more.

My third string quartet, "The Essential" consists of mathematical variations on the second movement of Arnold Schoenberg’s Second Quartet, and can be heard and the score downloaded from the Scores page. It includes a derivative movement, an integral (very short), a fractal movement, and a Fourier transform. 

Olivia Porphyria, a fractal on Haydn's name, from Organum can also be heard and the score downloaded from the Scores page at www.davesoldier.com 

Here are scores for two other fractal pieces for trombone and two guitars, Fractal on the Name of Haydn (http://davesoldier.com/scores/FractalHaydn4.30.Frets.pdf) and Fractal on the Name of Bach (http://davesoldier.com/scores/FractalBach4.30.pdf). For clarity, though, I advise starting with the Fractal Variation in "The Essential Quartet" (see score page) which is easier to follow and is essentially equivalent to a Koch snowflake pattern.

Why haven't integrals and derivatives been used to compose? It's not hard. Here's a mini-lesson on making a derivative or integral version of a musical theme:

Use a C major scale, CDEFGABC. 

Assigning a number to each note, here starting at 0=C, the scale is: 0,2,4,5,7,9,11,12 

For a first derivative, subtract each note from the preceding note, (0),2,2,1,2,2,2,1

Which using the original scale tones would be: C,D,D,Db,D,D,D,Db: voila'! the first derivative! 

To integrate the derivative add each number to the previous, (0),2,4,5,7,9,11,12: which returns the original scale 

Integrate the original scale, and you'll see why integrals of the music rapidly go beyond the range of hearing! Examples are in the Essential Quartet and the Chopin Variations below, both with very short integral movements. 

Dave Soldier leads a double life as a musician and a neuroscientist. As a composer, he developed a repertoire for groups including the Thai Elephant Orchestra, 14 elephants for whom he built giant instruments and who released 3 CDs, and projects with children, including rural Guatemala (Yol Ku: Mayan Mountain Music) and New York's East Harlem (Da HipHop Raskalz). His Soldier String Quartet helped usher the use of hiphop, R&B, and punk rock into classical music in the 1980s, and his long-running Memphis/New York Delta punk band, the Kropotkins, is a cult favorite. His composed The People's Choice Music: the most wanted and unwanted songs, following poll results of likes and dislikes of the American population, with artists Komar & Melamid; song cycle/oratorios in collaborations with Kurt Vonnegut, and many chamber and classical works. As a performer and arranger, he worked with John Cale, Bo Diddley, Van Dyke Parks, David Byrne, and many jazz and avant garde acts, appearing on over 100 albums and films on violin, guitar, or arranger. As David Sulzer, he is a neuroscientist and Professor at Columbia University in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology.


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