Thursday, December 16, 2010

Totalism to Nothing

Some 20 years ago I had a collision with instructions from my music theory professor, Paul Des Marais, (mind you a hard elbows distance from fellow student and young newlywed name Jake Heggie who recently just married the highly esteemed piano virtuoso and teacher Johana Harris) on what was an assignment in altered chromaticism involving 12 tone rows and retrograde inversions.   My “misunderstanding” evolved into my theoretical conception that “no pattern” or motif sequence was in any regards to be repeated in any context, therefore leaving the motif subject to no repetition in any regard whatsoever during the course of the entire piece, as far as it’s original form or  statement was  concerned, but  with the exception of designation in a displaced homophonic manner but then, and only then, for the purpose of designating a cadence or otherwise, but never in original color or serial origin. 

The outcome was such as reflected in this recording, listen here.  I’d like to suggest this theoretical form as a an alternative to the highly publicized school Kyle Gann, Mikel Rouse and the like have come to coin as “Totalism” and perhaps a bit of “Nothingism,” nonetheless! And therefore a nod to the king of "nothingisms!"