Cycle of Fourths – Misses by One


Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

A cycle of fourths looks like the chart on the right.

In 53-tone to the octave equal temperament, 22 steps makes a perfect fourth. Start on E, and see what happens after 13 modulations. Instead of coming back to 17, you end up on 16. So what do you do when you don’t come our right? I slide up by one and make up the difference. Otherwise I suppose I could go around again. How many would I have to cycle through? 54. Naturally.

Slow down a bit

Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

This is a work in progress…

Lots more trills in the flute and cello. This is going round a circle of fifths, but keeps missing the destination by one out of 53.

Chords based on fourths

Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

This is a work in progress…

Instead of triads based on the 4:5:6 and the 7:9:11, these are based on 5:7:9, 7:12:16, and other fourth based triads.

Crescendo and decrescendo

Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

This is a work in progress…

I’ve finally added crescendo and decrescendo ability to my macro preprocessor to Csound. Now, after I’ve generated the wave file, I run it through Csound again to modulate the overall amplitude. I can’t believe I relied on the volume of each note making the increase or decrease in loudness. How cumbersome it was! Every note had to be hand set to the desired volume, and the envelopes changed to implement an increase in sound.

Picture of the Dry Spring instrument


This is a picture of the Dry Spring instrument. It is a 12″ piece of 1/4″ Sitka Spruce wood, with lots of things glued to the surface: tooth brush, rocks, comb, rubber strips, plastic, steel, cork, & glass. There is a contact microphone on the back side. For my latest piece, I recorded short samples of some of the sounds to use as percussion instruments, controlled by Csound.

Better balance

Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

This is a work in progress…

Remixed with speakers. Never mix with cans. Now you can hear the flute trills better, the finger piano arpeggios are quieter, and the percussion is audible. Much better.

Up and down again


Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

This is a work in progress…

Today we hear from some new sections. Trills are handled by multiplying a note by a function table, like one shown on this page. The numbers represented by the graph are generated in csound with the following code:


f 421 0 256 -7 1 16 1 0 1.1249114 16 1.1249114 0 1 16 1 0 1.1249114 16 1.1249114
0 1 16 1 0 1.124911356 16 1.124911356 0 1 16 1 0 1.124911356 16 1.124911356
0 1 16 1 0 1.124911356 16 1.124911356 0 1 16 1 0 1.124911356 16 1.124911356
0 1 16 1 0 1.124911356 16 1.124911356 0 1 16 1 0 1.124911356 16 1.124911356 ; 9 : 8 120 up & down 9

I tell Csound what function table to multiply the note by, and then get a trill. In this piece, the C is tone 0, D a 9:8 above is tone 9, and E a 5:4 above C is tone 17. I multiply the C by the function number 421, and it trills from C to D. I create a triad with C, E, G, also known as 4:5:6 in just, and trill it to D, F+, A+, also known as 9:11:14. With a certain amount of randomness, it might play zero, one, two, or three notes at a time.

More flute

Listen here: to this file

Subscribe here: to this RSS feed

This is a work in progress…

In the major keys, the flute gets to play the cello parts.