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S The words tcxlurc, mast, and density provide visual and tactile analogies for an experience of sound that is difficult to describe in purely acoustic terms. The experience ranges from silence on one end of the spectrum to high-intensity noise from the highest to lowest audible frequency on the other, with literally infinite possibilities in between This entire spectrum has opened up to com posers .during the past half cen tu ry, ow ing to new freedom s in the exploration of pitch logic, time, sound color, and com po sitional process, all of which interrelate to create texture. The possibilities are so rich and varied that m any com posers have m ad e texture a focal element in the structure of their music.

P R C D m
C nee th e boundaries of traditional tonality began to fall aw ay in the late nineteenth century, musical texture was no longer limited by the strictures

T C i l l i k t , S M I ) . fiiis w t i n i i f

of tonal voice lead in g and counterpoint. In Debussy's music, one result was an extended use o f parallel ch ord s; the com plete sameness of motion from one chord to the n ext represents a degree o f homophony a uniformity of texture not possible w hen voices are w orking, coordinated but individ ually, tow ard a tonal goal. Schoenberg, in totally abandoning any semblance of tonality w hatso ever, opened up a vast array of textural opportunities. One widely not^d example is "S u m m er M orning by a Lake (C o lo rs)," the third o f his Five Pieces for O rchestra, O p .J 6 (1909). The opening chord in this m ovem ent (C -G " -B -E -A ) has a com pletely static, neutral quality, made possible by its lack of tonal im plications and barely discernible rhythmic motion. With little distraction from tonal o r rhythmic m om entum , the ear becomes more alert to sound co lo r and texture, which fluctuate subtly as the chord alter nates between tw o tim brally distinct groups of instruments. (This is the mosJ famous instance of Klangfarbcrunclodie, Schoenberg's term for a "m el ody" of successive tone colors, analogous to that of successive pitches.) The tw elve-tone technique, which Schoenberg later developed, often played a crucial part in generating texture. Webern's idiosyncratic use pf the technique gives rise to lean, transparent textures, exposing the intcrvallic consistencies and sym m etries in his pitch mateiial. The sp are open ing of his C oncerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24 (1934) is a classic illustration; it plainly and econom ically highlights the structure o f the row , which is m ade up entirely of trichords related by inversion and retrograde. This, too, is an instance of Klangfarbcnmclodie, each trichord being played by a different instrum ent. The freer use of dissonance allowed by expanding or abandoning to nality greatly liberated the com poser's approach ro counterpoint, since polyphonic voices w ere no longer obliged to gravitate toward triadic rela tionships. W hole new realms of contrapuntal texture w ere discovered , as can be heard in the m usic of Stravinsky, Bart 6 k, and Ives. In Bart6 k's music, for exam ple, a densely packed counterpoint of seconds, tritones, and sev enths often arises from a literal, interval-for-interval imitation o r sym m etry between com plex lines that would be impossible if traditional relationships held sway. For Stravinsky, in contrast, harm onic freedom m ore often m eant the ability to generate contrapuntal textures from highly dissim ilar lines of counterpoint. The introductory section of the Rite of Spring (1 9 1 3 ), for ex ample, culm inates in a densely com plex orchestral fabric w oven from a variety of m elodically and rhythm ically distinct instrum ental lines. Dia tonic yet harm onically conflicting strands are superim posed, at tim es rep resenting eight different and sim ultaneous subdivisons o f the beat (triplet eighths, quintuplet sixteenths, septuplet thirty-seconds, etc.). But where Stravinsky apposes contrasting individual lines, Ives su p erim p oses entire musical passages w ith conflicting rhythm , tem po, and tonality. A n oft-cited

^instance is the second m ovem ent ("P u tn a m 's C a m p ") of his 1914 Three Places in New England , w hich d ep icts tw o separate m arching bands co n verging from opposite sides of tow n as th ey play different m arches. In these exam ples both Ives and Stravinsky achieved bristling textures of massive weight and com plexity by generating a highly dissonant collage from otherwise relatively fam iliar elem ents. Edgard Varese, how ever, went entirely beyond the fam iliar; in such w orks as Integrates for w oodw inds, brass, and percussion (1 925) and Arcana for orchestra (1927), he deals di rectly with dissonant and disparate blocks o f sound, clashing and con ten d ing with one another to create a highly charged polyphonicw ebTln bothTiis instrumental and electronic m usic Varfcse anticipated the achievem ents of Ligeti, Penderecki, and others by treating aggregates of sound defined by timbre, texture, register, and rhythm as basic com ponents of musical stru c ture, much as a traditional com poser m ight treat melody or harm ony. The above-mentioned exam ples by Debussy, Schoenberg, and W ebern offer uniquely sim ple, sustained, o r transparent textures, while those of Bart 6 k, Stravinsky, J^es, and Varfcse represent textures of unprecedented density and intricacy. But perhaps the boldest exploration of texture before 1945 was by Henry C ow ell, w ho pioneered the use of tone clusters. In a tone cluster, all possible notes between a specified upper and low er limit are sounded at one tim e, resulting in a texture whose density and vibra tional complexity com e as close to noise as acoustic instruments can. (N oise contains all frequencies within its upper and low er limits). Clusters m ay be notated in com plete detail, such as f , o r with ortiy the outer limits speci fied: | or J . Cowell originated the use of clusters in his early piano m usic with such works as "The Tides of M anaunaun" (1912) and "The Hero Sun" (1922). The performer uses fists, palms, or even forearm s, and the effects range from thunderous m asses of sound and frenetic splashes of color to quiet, expansive, ethereal textures. Ives's song "M ajority" (1921) is another wellknow n early exam ple employing clusters in the piano accompaniment. Another im portant concept originating with Cowell is that of perform ing on an instrument using techniques for which it was not designed, thereby evoking new timbres and textures. A gain, he turned to the piano. "A eolian H arp " (1923) and "Sinister R esonance" (1925) require the p er form er to reach in and sweep, strike, strum , or m ute the strings with one hand while m anipulating the keys w ith the other. Perhaps the most noto rious example is "T he Banshee" (1925), during which the pianist plays only on th e strings, never touching the keyboard, while an assistant holds dow n the dam per pedal. The entire work is played in the lowest register of the p iano, where the strings are swept continuously in various ways. (Period ically, fingernails stroke the strings lengthwise, producing an eerie

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"s c re a m " su g gestiv e of the title.) The result is a work sh ap ed entirely by fluctuations in its textu re, dom inated by rum bling, howling richly resre nant w aves of sou nd w ith no clearly discernible pitch (except for an occasional pizzicato). As w ith w orks o f Vardse, Cow ell's m usic embodies the rem arkable notion that a com p osition m ay be structured o r "scu lp ted" not from dis creet pitches, chord s, o r rhythm s but from raw , abstract sound. That notion anticipates n ot only the m usic o f Penderecki, Cdrecki. and other Eastern European "sou n d m a s s " com posers of later decades, but also the basic achievem ents of electron ic music.


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As a general paradigm , w e might say IhqMhe num ber of sim ultaneous pitches within a given interval span (densfl>), th eirrfeg isT ^ p lacem en t (high or low, wide o r n arrow ), and their ffiythm ic relaiTon<S (e g homophonic, contrapuntal, etc.) provide the basic quantitative substance o f a m u syalje x tu re ; sound color, dynamics, and artiffilaho b r ^ T T o n e is -s h a p e d , including the quality of accent and re le a se -tra n sfo rm that basic substance and give it further distinctive qualities. Countless exam ples o f evocative textures in p re -1 9 4 5 orchestral and cham ber mustc literature spring from innovative use o f instrumental color H ector Berlioz s Sywphome f a n t a s t i c (1830) w as perhaps the earliest work to employ unorthodox m ethods of orchestration. But frequent, som etim es drastic departures from g o o d " or "accep tab le" orchestration in the service of timbre and texture becam e m ore com m on in the early twentieth century particularly in the works of Mahler, Debussy. Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Copland, among others. These departures m ight involve im aginative in strumental doublings, placem ent of instrum ents in their extrem e high or low registers, rarely. u sed cK 57 d voicings, o r the creative use of fluttertonguing, muting, stnng harmonics, m ultiply divided strings,(a 3 o r m ore) or other less com m on effects. 4 After 1945 the relationship between instrum ental color and texture becam e an ever m ore fruitful basis for innovation, even within relatively trad.t.onal approaches to instrumentation. Stefan W olpe, for exam ple, picks up the technique of Klangfarbenmelodie w here W ebern left off and extends .1;>o soaring dimensions in his Chamber P.ece No. 1 h r fourteen instrum ents (1964). This is evident in Exam ple 10.1, w h ich show s two brief m elodic




lines arch in g from low to h igh and back again, both spanning m ore than two o cta v e s. By com paring the fragm ents in boxes with the reduction un- d em eath , one ca n see that single lines are projected through a constantly changing series o f doublings. The color and sweep of these lines brings an ecstatic and kinetically charged quality (one found throughout W olpe's m usic) to a texture that is oth erw ise sparse and economical. (Earlier in this passage, W olpe acknow ledges his debt by inscribing "O h, Webern . . . " betw een the staves.) W hile Klangfarbenmclodie offers a kaleidoscope of timbre that is melodic or horizontal, an equally rich variety of color may be arrayed harmonically or vertically. For exam ple, p assages in Messiaen's Chronochromie for orches tra (1 9 6 0 ) em ploy every type of instrumental color simultaneously, each with a distinctly individual line, thus forging a huge, prismaticcontrapuntal landscape. Elsewhere in this work, timbrajlv distinct groups (instead of individual instrum ents) are sim ilarlyjayefledr each having its ow n d ura tional schem e and chordal characteristics. The departures from conventional instrumentation mentioned earlier unusual doublings or combinations, extrem es in register, fiuttertonguing, and so on had become m ore com m on in new music by the 1960s and 1970s; tod ay, they must be accepted not as signs of originality but as part of an established timbral and textural reservoir that has grown inevitably richer w ith time. To these might be added one m ore instrumental technique that has em erged since World W ar II, that of tinibTan^hdaUim.Qr-JutznS' formaTTon. Although related to Klangfarbenmelodie, it is perhaps m ore akin to am plitude and frequency m odulation in electronic music, since its focus is on transform ation of a single, sustained sonority from one timbre to another. In its simplest manifestation,Two instruments of different timbre sustain one chord or pitch, but one swells while the otherxiiminishes; pitch rem ains constant while sound color shifts from the timbre of one instru ment to that of the oth er. In Exam ple 10.2, from Danie. C haw i o f flute and violin (1985), this exchange takes place repeatedly, with a pattern of swelling and diminishing staggered between the two instru ments. (The violin not only alternates color with the flute but also m odu lates its ow n timbre with a gradual change in bow position.) Transm utations of this kind are frequent in the music of Steven Stucky


1 0 . 1.

Stefan Wolpe: Chamber Piece No. 1

Copyright 1977, 1978 by Southern M usic Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission

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Daniel Godfrey: Scrimshaw

Reprinted by p erm issio n of A m erican C om posers A lliance, N ew York

(b. 1949). Example 10.3 is an illustration from his Sappho Fragments for mezzo-soprano and cham ber ensemble (1 9 8 2 ). C ross-rhythm s and o v er lapping entrances yield a texture that m odulates both timbrally and rh yth mically. Two strands are transform ed, one in volving the pitches D and F (flute, violin, and piano), the other involving E and F* (vibraphone and cello). Note the shift in timbre and rhythm betw een the flute's sixteenths and the piano's quintuplet sixteenths, set against continuous triplets in the violin. Also note that the crescendo and initial d ecay of the vibraphone's E mask the pianissimo entrance of the cello, w hose oscillation between E and F" emerges seamlessly as the vibraphone dies aw ay.


P e r f o r m a n c e T e c h n iq u e s .

Previous chapters have touched on a variety of perform ing techniques that bring forth new and unusual sounds from traditional instruments. W e h ave had a glimpse of this versatility from exp enm ents w ith the piano by C age and Cowell, but virtually every other instrum ent offers a com parable wealth of novel capabilities. George C rum b's Vox balaenae, for instance, op en s with an elaborate melisma for electric flute, w hich the flutist doubles, note for note, by sin g ing at the same tim e. Other startling effects that can be elicited from w ood wind and brass instrum ents include rattling or slapping the keys or valves, percussive effects with the tongue, biting the reed (creating a harsh or "p in ch ed " sound), blowing without lip pressure (creating a wind sound),

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tapping with knuckles or fingers, and blowing into a detached m outhpiece. Also, alternative fingerings and changes in embouchure can be used to p ro d uce m icrotones (pitches that fall between those of our familiar chrom atic scale) and multiphonics (tw o or m ore sounds at once, produced by a single fingering), as well as to alter the intonation or timbre of ordin ary pitches* The novelty and variety of such effects have not only given rise to a new class of performers with specialized skills (a few of w hom are m en tioned in C h ap ter 9) but have also generated many publications devoted exclusively to new performance techniques. Among them, New Sounds for Woodwind (1 967) by Bruno Bartolozzi (b. 1911) and The Other Flute (1974) by Robert Dick (b. 1950) outline nonstandard techniques, alternative fin gerings, and specialized notation; they also include a score and recording of music, com posed by the author, that dem onstrate these innovations (Collage for four solo woodwinds by Bartolozzi, Afterlight for flute solo by Dick). As is visually apparent in Exam ple 10.4, Dick's haunting essay ex emplifies the opulence of color and texture that can be achieved w ith a single instrument. String instruments offer a similar w ealth of possibilities. A great variety of generally accepted but hitherto less com m on bowing techniques ( i u l ) (fjfonticcllo, flautando, col legno battuto, ricochet, etc.) are now used extensively in contem porary scores. The rfcent past has also seen m ore liberal use of harmonics, left-hand pizzicato, w ide vibrato, non vibrato, triple and qua druple stops, scordatura, and glissando. N ew practices have also em erged, such as bowing behind the bridge, on the tailpiece, behind the nut, or in fact, anyw here on the instrument. These and m yriad other possibilities cause the instrument to resonate in unique and unfamiliar ways.

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O ne of many contem porary works abounding in such procedures is Jacob D ruckm an's Valentine for solo contrabass (1969). As seen in Example10.5, Druckman also incorporates a rare d ep artu re, that of using a timpani mallet (as well as bow ing and pizzicato) to activ ate the strings. The square noteheads in this example indicate use of the timpani mal let, open notes being struck with the mallet head, filled notes w ith the w ooden handle. In addition to the usual five-line staff, the brace contains other lines below the staff to indicate playing on various parts o f the bass (bridge, tailpiece, body front o r side, etc.). T h e line above the staff is for vocal sounds ( " p a " ) . TTiis passage offers a richness o f texture surprising for a solo instrument, generated by startling effects in rapid-fire sequence. In the first gesture, for exam ple, a z through the stem indicates "b u zzin g " (m ade by ricocheting the wooden handle closely on the strings). As indi cated by the steplike notehead, this is to be executed while making a rapid arpeggio across the strings between bridge and tailpiece. At 7 '4 2 " the x-ed noteheads indicate a dow nw ard pizzicato arp eggio with all four strings "ch o k e d " (prevented from resonating by the left hand). In the next figure, the mallet handle is beaten rapidly from side to side between the A and E strings, moving from the bridge to the fingerboard. . Much of the groundw ork for all this innovation w as laid by Luciano, 'u e rm , w ho is widely acknow ledged as a pioneer in experim enting with instrumental color. His Sequenzas for solo instrum ents (beginning with Sequenza I for flute in 1958) are widely inventive explorations of timbre, and although less radical in technique than the ab ove exam ples, they continue to influence and inspire the work of many others.


i o . 5.

Jacob Druckman: Valentine for solo contrabass

Copyright 1970 by M CA M U SIC PUBLISH IN G. A D i vision o f M CA . INC., 1755 Broadway, N ew York, N Y 10019. International C o p y righ t Secured. All Rights R e served. Used by permision

APPBOfKHtf G iven that a single instrum ent can produce such a broad spectrum of sounds, one can imagine the potential of such techniques w hen applied to many instruments at once. This realm is explored repeatedly and with great experim ental fervor by the A m erican com p oser Donald Erb (b. 1927). In his w orks for band and orchestra, conventionally notated and perform ed passages are often juxtaposed w ith oth ers that deviate drastically from ordi nary practice, with results that w o rd s cannot convey. Erb's The Seventh Trumpet for orchestra (1969) is recognized as a classic in this respect. It includes, for example, a grad u ally ascending glissando for strings, articu lated by rapid (and unsynchronized) pluckings; in other passages, groups of w ind instruments are asked to p erfo rm percussive trem olos" with keys alone (i.e., without blowing), o r to play solely upon their reeds. O ne area particularly ripe for tim bral and textural exploration is per cussion. Dramatic differences in attack , resonance, and timbre can be achieved depending on w here, h ow , and with what a given instrument is struck. Percussionists are not even lim ited to mallets o r sticks; for example, m etal instruments like gongs, tam -tam s, cym bals, or vibraphone will produce unique resonances w hen activated b y the fingertips, m etal rods, o r the bow of a cello. Beyond this, p resen t-d ay ensembles routinely employ a dazzling assortment of percussion instruments. In addition to the usual display of drum s, timpani, cym bals, tam -tam s, xylophone, glockenspiel, triangles, and other instrum ents ow n ed by most orchestras, today's scores often call for wood or temple blocks, castanets, tambourine, guiro, maracas, crotales, almglocken, wind chim es, bongos, tabla, m arim ba, vibraphone, or other instruments too num erous to mention. Before 1945 m any of these w ere considered exotic when they ap peared in such scores as John Becker's The Abongo for percussion orch estra and dance troupe (1933), Varese's Ionisation, Antheil's Ballet niicanique, o r C age's First Construction in Metal. The instruments just listed h av e long been extant in one culture or another, but other percussion resources are new. A m ong them are every d ay objects with resonant properties attractive to the com poser: brake drum s, iron pipes, tin cans, wine glasses, whistles, auto horns, and pistols, to nam e a few. (The conjuring of new "instrum entation" from improbable sources has been taken to com ical extrem es by com p oser/p erform er David van Tiegem .) Some instruments h ave been refined o r developed specifi cally for contem porary scores; included are the musical saw , vibra slap, lion's roar, whip, ratchet, thunder sheet, wind machine, and waterphone. H arry Partch and David Moss are am ong com posers w ho have designed and built their own instrum ents from scratch, em phasizing sculptural ele gance as well as acoustical innovation. Since about 1960 this stag gerin g wealth of acoustical resources has inspired the formation of ensem bles devoted exclusively to percussion, such as the Percussion G roup C incinnati, Zeitgeist, and the Netherlands Percussion Ensemble, am ong m an y others.

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During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries instrumental combinations such as the orch estra, woodwind quintet, string quartet, and piano trio becam e standard, while other formats such as the symphonic band, big band, and saxop h on e quartet have become com m on only during the twen tieth century. (W idespread recognition of the saxophone quartet as a con cert ensem ble is credited to Sigurd Rascher, a legendary advocate of new music for the saxophone.) But among the freedoms enjoyed by today's com poser is the freedom to select and combine instruments purely accord ing to im agination. One resulting phenomenon is the mixed cham ber en semble, typicalJy consisting of any combination of string, woodwind, brass, percussion, or keyboard instruments, with o r without voice, and usually with no m ore than one or two of each kind. Early twentieth-century ex amples m ay be found in Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat (1917) for clarinet, bassoon, co m et, trombone, violin, double bass, and percussion (w ith nar rator and d an cers) or Var&se's Octandre (1923) for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trum pet, trombone, and double bass, to single out just two. Since 1945 scores for mixed ensembles of this kind have becom e so com m on, w ritten by composers of every stylistic persuasion, that countless groups specializing in this repertoire have com e into being. A list of the more prom inent ones would include the Ensemble InterContemporain, the Ensemble M od em , the Fires of London, the Melos Ensemble, "D ie Reihe" Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, Boston Musica Viva, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the California Ear Unit. Of course, creative instrumentation m ay involve any imaginable com bination, as in Jo Kondo's Sight Rhythmics for violin, electric piano, banjo, steel drum , and tuba. An opposite strategy is followed by Gunther Schuller (b. 1925) in his Five Moods for Tuba Quartet (1972), and by Paul Chihara (b. 1938) in his Tree Music (1966) for three violas and three trombones. Another trend is the use of early instrum ents or instruments from other cultures (the latter to be explored in C h ap ter 11) as new sources of color and texture. Twentieth-century works for one or more recorders are nu merous, ranging from Paul H indem ith's relatively straightforward Trio (1932) to the maniacally innovative 12.5.83 for alto recorder by Drake M a bry. More notew orthy, perhaps, is the use of the sackbu\ sh aw m , crum h om , rebec, viol, and other less fam iliar instrum ents from the M edieval and Renaissance eras. These are still strange to concertgoers not fam iliar with early music; in an avant-garde setting they are totally anom alous, a noto riously irreverent exam ple being M auricio Kagel's Music for Renaissance Instruments (1965).


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T C X T U R C f l nD PROCS$
In previous chapters we h ave already encountered in the m usic of Stock hausen, Boulez, Babbitt, and W uorinen vividly elaborate textu res resulting from a rigorous compositional process. Although total organization tends to produce in their works a textural surface of galactic com plexity, an im portant distinction separates their m usic from that discussed in the fol lowing paragraphs. Babbitt and Stockhausen did not aim chiefly at gen er ating and manipulating com plex polyphonic textures, but rather at achieving a cohesion or integration of all compositional m aterials (pitch, duration, dynam ics, etc.). In the w orks discussed below, h ow ever, texture is a prim ary focus of the com positional process. A straightforw ard illustration is offered by the player-piano studies of Conlon N ancarrow (b. 1912), an A m erican expatriate in M exico whose eccentric artistry remained little known until the late 1960s. The control and precision possible in punching piano rolls have allowed him to achieve elaborate polyphonic relationships and virtuosic extrem es utterly beyond the reach of any live performer. These result from layering rhythm ic strands of different IcnifHJS, often employing such ratios as 12:15:20 (Study No. 17), 2 to the square root of 2 (Study No. 33), or 60:61 (Study N o. 39).|f>ome studies superim pose voices that accelerate or decelerate in differing ways. In Study No. 21 (Canon X) the upper of two voices begins at an extrem ely fast tem po and then gradually decelerates, while the low er voice does the opposite sim ultaneously. Thus, the upper register m oves from extrem e density to utter sparseness, while the lower register gradually builds to a thunderous m ass o f sound. In other w ords, a pattern o f changing tempos creates a pattern of changing densities. The m usic's texture is shaped by a temporal process. To som e extent, the sam e can be said of Elliott C arter's music; but where N ancarrow view s opposing layers.of rhythm and tem po in mathe matical terms, C arter associates them with the contrasting "dramatic roles or personalities he assigns to instrum ents. Often the protagonists consist of instrumental groups, each with its ow n characteristic form of behavior. For exam ple, his Double Concerto for h arpsichord, piano, and tw o chamber orchestras (19 o l) m ight crudely be d escrib ed as tw o co n certo s-olayed simulianeously, pach idpnfffiahlp TTyJts^oyvn d istinctive rhythm s and intervals, but just as im portantly, by its ow n entirely distinct tem pos. In fact, at one point in the m iddle m ovem ent, thg_giano and associated instruments accelerate from very slow to very fast while the harpsichord and its group do the opposite, the tempos coalescing and diverging m uch as in Nancarrow's Canon X. The two ensem bles d o influence and interact with one another (m C arter's w ords, "in te rru p tin g " o r "co m m en tin g " on each oth-

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er's activities) m uch as two actors in a piay. The textural outcom e, however, is a kaleidoscopic and con tin u ou sly evolving polyphony o f con trasting tempos and playing styles. In many of his other works C a rte r fashions the sam e kind of richly layered contrapuntal textures by assigning divergent dramatic roles to in dividual instruments (rather than in stru m en tal groups). In the String Quartet N o. 2 (1 9 5 9 ) Carter views these " r o le s " or "p erson alities" in plainly anthropom orphic terms: the first violin is impetuous, m ercurial, and virtuosic; the second violin is stubborn and rhythmically rigid throughout; the viola is prone to m audlin, m elancholy behavior; and the cello tends to be romantic and effusive. In sum marizing their roles. Carter has explained: "E ach player, in turn, dom inates a m ovem ent while the other three m im ic the leader, translating his phrases into phrases from their ow n vocabularies. In betw een the m ovem ents, there are three cadenzas, solos for first violin, viola, and cello, during which the other members oppose the cadenza player as if they w ere disenchanted by his actions." Exam ple 10.6 from the cello cadenza exemplifies the w ay Carter uses tempo and rhythm ic detail to differentiate between these instrum en tal personalities. W hat appear to be elaborate cross-rhythm s are really to be played and heard as independent rhythm s, relatively simple in them selves, proceeding at different tempos. The first and second violins play regularly spaced attack s, each at its ow n speed, with occasional rests; the viola plays in effect a rubato line of sustained but som ew hat irregu larly spaced pitches; and the cello, in keeping with its soloistic role, be gins with its ow n regular pulse but then shifts suddenly (in m. 25 4 ) to longer durations from which it accelerates dramatically, as if breaking aw ay from the others in defiance. To combine and coordinate completely individual stream s of musical activity is a com plex challenge; but in achieving it, Carter has eschewed the mathematical precision of electronic technology or other artificial m eans (as developed by N an carrow , for example). Instead, he has evolved his ow n process of m anipulating time, working purely within the bounds of tradi tional music notation. Cross-rhythm s, involving many ways of subdividing the beat, are one resou rce used to project and control independent tempos. Another such tool, pervasive in Carter's scores, is metric modulation, already introduced in C h ap ter 6 . Example 10.7 offers a simplified illustration of how this technique is used to achieve the simultaneous accelerando and ritardando found in w orks like the above-mentioned Double Concerto. Carter's highly fluid and variegated polyphonic textures, then, are the outgrow th of a tem p oral process characterized not simply by polyrhythm but, as Charles Rosen has suggested, by "poly tem po." This term could also apply to Stockhausen's Zielmasse ("T em p os") for five winds (1956), which achieves as m any as five temporally independent streams of activity through the com b in ation of strict and aleatoric notation, the latter allowing

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Elliott Carter: String Quartet No. 2, first movement

Copyright 1961 (R en ew ed ) Associated M usic Publish ers, Inc. (B M I). International C opyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by perm ission

sep arate parts to establish or change their ow n m eter and tempo autono m ously. In live perform ances of C arter's Double C oncerto and Second String Q u artet mentioned ab ove, as well a s his Symphony of Three Orchestras (1976), th e polyphony is spatially enhanced by separatin g dram atically and tem p orally distinct instrum ents or grou p s of instrum ents onstage. Stockhaus e n 's Gruppen for three orchestras (1 9 5 7 ) and Carr6 for four orchestras and fo u r choruses (1960) also depend o n spatial separation to clarify the tex tu ral, timbral, and rhythm ic identity of each ensemble. Both are works

whose central concern is the polyphonic interaction of distinct sound masses or textures. In the preceding exam ples by N ancarrow , C arter, and Stockhausen, texture is the product of counterpoint generated by durational p rocesses involving multiple tem pos. 'Hie music of Iannis Xenakis is also govern by process, and as with N ancarrow , the process is mathematically con ceived. But Xenakis's textures jire not contrapuntal, that is, they do not result from the COmbinaTibn oT indppfndpnt lines o r layers of counterpoint to'yield a com posite texture. Foi'Xenakis^)the basic substratum of m usic is texture, even though it m ay be tW -protfuct of m an y smaller sonic co m p o nents. The only counterpoint one m ight speak o f meaningfully in such works is a "co u n terp o in t" of textures o r sound m asses* Xenakis's backeround in architecture^ n eL jS ffir^ eririg informgcLhlS. approach to com position, inspiring him to establish the Center for the Study of M athem atical and Automated Music in Paris in 1966. During the 1950s and '60s his m usic grew out of m athem atical processes derived from calculus, gam e theory, and scientific principles su ch as the Kinetic T heory o f Gases and Bernoulli's Law of Large N um bers. Many works from this period rely on w hat Xenakis has called the stochastic methcxLTn w hich sound masses a re shaped by m athem atical p r o b a b ility j as expressed in Bernoulli's lilw k Tfrp stnrhflsfir approach f l o w e d Xenakis to calculate, as a function of probability, the shape an d b ehayior orcomDQSiteJQaSSgs of sound m ade m any brief sound-eve& ts. T h us, his m usic is often by en orm ou s clusters or "c lo u d s " of sm all sound "particles, d o m m ai ___ ________ beginning, ending, and fluctuating in density as rain or hail does w hen striking against a hard surface (Xenakis's ow n a n a lo g y ^ T w o early and highly influential works to exhibit this ap proach w ere Metastasis for sixty^ one-piece orch estra (1954) and Pithoprakla for fifty-piece orchestra^ 1956).

In Pilhoprakta, for exam ple, the entire string section is divided into individual parts. For Xenakis, the use of as many separate parts as there are orchestra players is a logical outgrow th of the stochastic process, since large sound m asses built of m any sm all events require m any individual participantsiThis prafficeT>ecam ecom m on for othertexture-oneniecf com posers as Well (esp recki,' Serocki, and Lutosiawski), nuflong i t possible to generate massive sonorities that saturate a given register or span of time. Exactly how the stochastic process translates into actual rhythms and pitches is beyond the scop e of this chapter, but the musical outcom e is fascinating. In Pithoprakta alone one can perceive a great range of orchestral sound masses, including "clou d b u rsts" o f rapid but imprecise percussive noises made by^ tapping the bodies of stringed m stm m ents,_as_xrossrhythm s create t h e l mpr^fp* ^ im e ra h lp r^pdom lv spaced attacks s and dense fabrics created when p itch js introduced into the equation. With jfegard to the latter. m axim aTdensityis often achieved by gniTuring that apy two . instruments sharing the sam e register have different pitch contours, rhythm s, or both; conse^JUTTifly, no UVOlnstruments play the same pitch_at the sam e time I-'urthermore, the i tral span traveled by each instrument overlaps that of its neighh u< h that every part of the ensemble's range is traversed in various w ays by four o r five instruments a tjijim e ^ M ore over, pitches are chosen so that every n o te within a four- or five-octave span is represented at least once in every beat. By varying states of articulation as well, Xenakis has created textures of rem arkably contrasted ch aracter. One can hear in Pithoprakta, a string o r chestra sonority during which every instrum ent plays a forced pizzicato (arraclti), a passage in which all strings p lay a continuous glissando while m oving at different rates in different directions, and another featuring col legrto battuto Ifrappi) for every player. W h aL is apparent when experiencing the entire w ork is the overall shape of these gestures, the flnrmatinn of .their densities, and the som etim es gnHHpn som etim es subtle shift from one textu r g jo the next all these qualities being v ita 1 to the work's structure.. Like Carter, Xenakis has added a spatial dim ension to the unfolding of texture in som e of his w orks. A m ong them a re Terretektorh for eighty-eightpiece orchestra (1966), Polytope de Montreal for four cham ber orchestras (1 9 6 7 ), and Nomos Gamma for orchestra (1 9 6 8 ), in all of which the m usicians are spread out am ong the audience. The relationship betw een textu re and com positional process takes on a different aspect in B erio's Chemins II b/c fo r nine woodwinds, six brass, percussion, electric g u itar, electric organ, p iano, and strings. This work began as Sequenza VI for solo viola (1966); a cham ber ensemble w as then added to the viola p art, resulting in Chemins II for viola and nine instru m ents (1 9 6 7 ); the in stru m en tation was then further expanded to include full orchestra in Chemins 11 b (1 9 7 0 ), after w h ich a part for solo bass clarinet



num. no Dcnsuy


was added to create Chemins II c (1972). Chemins II b/c is yet another version, replacing the bass clarinet w ith a tenor saxophone. With each incarnation the music gained a new stratum o f texture, the totality being com pared by Berio A to an o nion with m any layers, the outer layer providing a new surfaco and the older layers c h a n p m: in junction. "P ro cess" in Chemins II b/c, then, refers ' ' to the com poser's w ay of w orking: revision a n d /o r accretion o f material through successive versions o f the composition. T exture is an outgrow th o f process in the music of Brian Fem eyhough (b. 1943) as well. On a purely su rface level, his scores are fabulously ornate, characterized by a dense succession of highly variegated gestures and ef fects, w hich present im m ense challenges to the performer. Underlying this is a labyrinthine system of thought, as much guided by the com poser's views on phenom enology and epistem ology as by purely musical concerns. (Fem eyhough's Carceri d'Invenzione I is discussed in Chapter 21.)






c o m p l e x it y



W e return again to the discovery made by Cowell, lv.es, and Varese that blocks or masses of sound can serve )ust as well as chordSjor-indi\idual notes in shaping a musical discourse. For our purposes, a "sound m a s s e s) - ] \ a^ a sonority liberated from being hea.rdjn terms of specific-pitches orch o rd s, ( ^ allow ing it to serve as more abstract and in som e ways more versatile-J/ m aterial. N ot only is sound m ass ius i as m alleable as notes o r ch ord s w ith respect to rhythm, register, timbre, dynamics, and other.variables, but it can also be manipulated in terms of its apparent "w e ig h rp n lld e n s ity " and the relative simplicity or complexity of its surface. Sound-mass textures, how ever, are fundamentally different from genuinely contrapuntal ones jn that individual lincsjof music, perhaps represented by individual in stru -l n r A dy m ents o r instrumental groups, h ave no significant idenfity of their ow n, \ rJc i . I being indistinguishable parts of a larger fabric. Thus, the texture in Xe- I T w * 6^ nakis's Pilhoprakta cannot be usefully regarded as contrapuntal; even ^ though it contains an enormous am ount of counterpoint^each part is only on e of very m any similar parts contributing to a single m assive, composite y texture. An instrument or ensemble m ay be approached not as a vehicle for

fafiK APM OACilO and as a so u rce o f ra w sou n d from w hich tex tu re s can be erected oisculpte^/This is illustrated in the O rganbw k 1967 of^VdlianT^ Albright (b. 1 9 4 4 ); w ho as a com p oser an d perform er h as been a leader in exploiting new sounds for the organ . T w o types o f textu re are featured in one passage, one generated by ton e-clu ster glissandos N ^ a n d th e other by very rapid thirty-second note p attern s b oth textures ranging

V 1

wildly and unevenly over the com p ass o f the keyboard. Thg rapidity and unpredictable contour of the th irty-seconds obviates an y p ercep tio n o f spe cific pitch or rhythmic content; w hat w e perceive instead i s a blurred^ toI tality, identified by its overall shape and d u ration . The sliding clusters are perceived in a similar w ay, m easured by their w idth, speed, range, and cor.touryi'his passage 15 without any clearly defined sense of rhythm ; its m ^ ra n u n fo ld s on a m ore abstract plane, form ed by the relative durations of the tw o textures and by the pacipgjpf th e u .rcg is jra lp ca k s andjralleys. (Souncf coloTTrateo ^ fa clo rn h e re are frequent chang^sTrom one manual to another, and hence changes in tim bre.) Two com posers, Gyorgy Ligeti and K rzysztof Penderecki, cam e to prominence d u rin g th e late 1950s and 1960s as p ath fin d ersjn using sound masses of varying color, density,. and com plexity. Like Xenakis, but with out the aid of any mathematical system , they treated these as the primary constituents of their music, supcrscding_m clody, harm ony, and any immediately discernible rhythm (dr microrhythri). Typically, the structure of their works from this period u n f o id rtrr a large-scale rhythm (o r mncrorhythm) shaped by durations and rates of ch an ge within and between bands or blocks of sound. Ligeti's Atmospheres for orchestra (1 9 6 1 ) is am ong the m ost renowned com positions in this genre. All eighty-eight instrum ents of the ensemble play a separate p art, with only rarejn stan ces of doubling during the nine mifiutes of the w ork. (A s one would exp ect, nearly every p age of score is huge, often dom inated from top to bottom by strings divisi a 56.) The opening sonority typifies Ligeti's technique. Fifty-six m uted strings, all playing sul tasto, quietly sustain a gigantic sem itone cluster sparviing five octaves, parts of which are filled in or doubled by w inds and bass. Ligeti forms masses or blocks of sound by saturating a given register, but does so in m any ways and with m any timbral transformations. In one well-known p assage (mm . 2 3 28), the satu rationriesu lts from minor-third trem olos spaced a semitone ap art; th cT m n gT fern olos begin slow ly and then accelerate rapidly, while w oodw ind trem olos in the sam e register begin rapidly and slow to a stand still. Thus, even though the overall texture rem ains quiet and th e pitch con tent rem ains static, the shifting relationship between winds and strings creates a subtle m etam orphosis of color and surface activity. E xam p le 10.8 show ing only the winds and first violins illustrates

CXf l f RPLC Vienna







first violins of European American

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b y Universal Edition

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another w ay of saturating a fixed ran ge of pitches while transform ing color and textu re within it. During the first tw o m easures show n, all fifty-six string instrum ents are following sep arate routes over the sam e four notes (b^ to d k) while executing a giant crescen d o . (The com p lex interlacing of parts to gen erate a dense, highly active surface is referred to by Ligeti as ( nucropofyplwhy) The enorm ous tension of this m om ent, which has been ^building Tdr m any m easures, is suddenly and rem arkably released by a dram atic shift to what in effect is the sam e texture, w ith the same pitches, only now played at the quietest possible dynam ic by eight wind instru ments. T h e cessation of strings o ccu rs a split second after the winds have already en tered ; thus, the wind en tran ce is m asked, leaving the impression that the abrupt disappearance of one layer has exposed another layer al ready present. This passage represents poly one of Ligeti's m any varied approaches to creating, transform ing, and juxtaposing textures in this piece. At times, entire blocks of sound enter o r cut off abruptly, while elsew here, textures develop o r dissipate gradually. Differing textures m ay abut, overlap, or interlace in a variety of w ays. T h roughout the w ork, instrumental color plays a vital part in articulating the behavior of sound m asses. The sim ul taneous use of nonstandard techniques by many players also has a role.Jn^ m easure 76, for example, all fifteen Jprass players blow softly into their instrum ents without producing any tone, and in m easures 88-101 the en tire string section plays nothing but glissando harm onics, with constant changes in speed and contour. In later works Ligeti's exploration of texture em braces a m ore expanded harm onic palette and a greater identity for the individual performer. Lontano for orchestra (1967), for instance, goes beyond sem itone clusters, open ing its vocabulary to wider intervals and m ore open sonorities. * Furtherm ore) the many individual lines are no longer mere "p articles" in a sound m ass but m ore distinct voices albeit in very large num bercanon ically interw oven into a vibrant tapestry. The m ost important works by K rzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933) are also dom inated by the manipulation and interaction of textures with varying density and com plexity, em phasizing a broadet spectrum of sound than that offered by clearly defined pitches, chords, o r rhythm ic sequences. The alternative notation in his scores m akes this imm ediately apparent. Swajth. of sound rising, falling, growing, diminishing, overlapping, and collid mg are graphically depicted. Special symbols also appear, calling for un conventional sounds on conventional instruments (scraping, hissing, rattling, knocking, etc.). The most striking and widely acclaim ed example of this is Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima for string orchestra (1960), which is discussed in Chapter 12. O ther orchestral w orks exemplifying this approach include De natura sonoris (1 966) and the Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra (1967).





The d e n se orchestral textures w e have seen are com m only associated w ith E astern European composers/ especially Ligeti and mem bers of the so-called "P o lish Sch ool" (Penderecki, Lutosiaw ski, Kazim ierz Serocki, Henryk G drecki, and Tadeusz Baird). In the aforem entioned works by Ligeti and Penderecki, however, the harm onic, rhythmic, and timbral ele m ents that contribute to such textures are m eans to an end, significant mainly In term s of the overall sound m ass to w hich they contribute. By contrast, the m u sic of Witold Lutosiawski is multidim ensional in its corv ce m s. In the fourth m ovem ent of his Venetian Qqmes for orchestra (1961), for instance, the harm onic and rhythmic features of individual polyphonic "c e lls," the ever-ch an gin g contrapuntal relationships am ong those cells, and the continually evolving totality of tim bres and densities that results a re all of interest and importance. This is visually evident in Example 10.9, which also show s Lutoslaw ski's characteristic fusion of precise control and aleatoric m ethods. W inds, brass, pianos, and strings (and elsewhere p ercussion) are treated as sepa rate timbral grou p s, each performing brief cells of material unique to itself (h ere labeled f g h ,, etc.). While the entrance of each cell is precisely j r tim ed, bar lines are not used, thus elim inating any rigid interpretation of tem po or any attem pt to coordinate parts w ithin a given cellyfhis practice yields a high d egree of rhythmic intricacy and spontaneity, but with no significant chan ge in timing from one p erform ance to the next. The difference between cells is m arked by m ore than contrasts in rhythm , interval, register, and timbre; different cells involve different forms of interplay betw een parts different " g a m e s " (one of several connections between the title and the music). In the cell labeled f for exam ple, all three parts play seven notes from a repeated four-note pattern, all with sim ilar spacing and articulation; but there are no notes in com m on betw een the three pitch patterns and the actual rhythm is different for each instrum ent, creating an elaborate interplay from relatively sim ple materials. In h, a different sort of "g a m e p lan " is involved. The twelve string instrum ents enter on a sem itone cluster spanning a m ajor seventh (f* to f) and wend their w ay dow nw ard by whole or half steps, continually interw eaving to maintain registral saturation. As an additional twist, however, each su b group of instruments violins, violas, cellos, an d basses represents a scale of lengthening durations (e.g., sixteenths, d otted sixteenths, eighths, and dotted eighths in the violins). Each of the other cells in the exam ple also has its own idiosyncratic design, yielding its ow n unique textural surface. The excerpt displays a polyphony of disparate textures, from the sparse and pointillistic f, to the dense and involuted h ,. ASLwlib Ligeti and Penderecki, the structure and m acrorhythm of this m ovem ent flow from the sequence, pacing, and continuously varied juxtaposition of these materials. M ore like Carter, however, each timbral group also p rojects its own internal set of relationships, its ow n polyphonic personality.




Carnes, fourth movement


% & 1962 by M occk V erlag, C elle, Federal R epublic of Germany. R enew ed. All Rights Reserved. Used by >ermission o f European A m erican M usic D istributors rorporation, so le U.S. and C anadian agent fo r M oeck Verlag


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fr r The m usic of Karel H usa (b. 1921) also entails the b u ild u p of m am m oth ' r-T instrum ental constellations from individual, rh yth m ically independent stran d s of material (motives o r melodic fragm en ts). H u sa dovetails these aleatoric passages with m o re conventionally n o tated on es. W idely know n exam ples are his Apotheosis_of This Earth for con cert band (1 9 7 1 ) and AdjUSjr for Prague (1968) for band o r orchestra. (The latter is d iscu ssed in C hapter



Vocal ensembles have proved an especially v ersatile resource for texture-oriented composition. Trend-setting exam p les in clu de Ligeti s (Re quiem tor tw o soloists, tw o choruses, and orchestra and Penderecki tyke's' Passion for narrator, solo voices, and orch estra, b oth of. 1965. I hese w orks are filled with liitherto rarely heard effects that h a v e an im m ediate appeal, attracting many otherw ise reluctant listeners to the avant-garde experience. Particularly beautiful are those sonorities th at involve long, sustained, slow ly evolving clusters, often with every sin ger on a different note. In m any instances the text is too draw n-out to be discerned, o r too obscured by stratified attacks and releases. In oth er instances it is sub sum ed into an overall web o f asynchronous m u rm u rin g o r pattering. N ew realms of sound m ass and density op en up w hen_a]cataric iech niques are ap p lie d jo-choial c o m position; a b road s a m p lin g o f_such effects is in The Wliale (1 9 6 6 ) by co m p -* found all I V w w t miv ^ i/vv^ ^ J the English Q , o ser John Tavener (b. -L * n 1944), a biblical fantasy for speaker, two vocal soloists, cham ber choir, and orchestra. In one instance, six voices rapidly but freely chan t a line of text, each maintaining a given pitch but with no specified rhythm or effort to synchronize parts. Tfte result is a random , m u rm u rin g texture of indistin guishable consonants and vow els, harm onically flavored by the six-note chord it outlines. Another passage, seen in E xam p le 10.10a, calls for a continuously w avering glissando in all voices. The sim plicity of notation belies the com plexity of the resulting aural im pression. Since pitch, ratgjo l elissando, and rhythm of text are all freely chosen, every singer's rendition 'wTITBe slightly different, yield ing a weft o f m any sep arate but interweaving parts. In other w ords, the free aspect of the notation ensures an asynchro* * 11- ^ /Am. nous relationship between all participants, resulting in a dense and com plex textural surface. T o n otate this precisely w ould require as many w ritten-out p arts as there are singers, with a rhythm ically intricate stag gering of contours between all parts. In the case of Exam ple 10.10b, how ever, it is hard to im agine any e x a c t notation that could produce the violent, elaborate flood o f sounds effected here by giving the perform ers a few sim ple choices and instructions. A leatoric m ethods can also produce prolonged, subtly shifting tapes tries o f vocal sound. In The W hale's final m om ents, fo r instance, singers are instructed to ''ch o o se any n o te " and to sustain it for five minutes in a quiet m onotone. The ran d om pitch choices and inadvertent fluctuations of tone engender a veiled, sh im m erin g entw inem ent of voices.

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John Tavener: The Whale

Copyright 1968 for all countries by J Sc W Chester Music (L o n d o n ). International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. All rights for U.S. and Canada controlled by G. Schirm cr, Inc., N ew York (A SC A P)

W hen discussing texture, mass, and density in recent m usic, the ten dency is to focus, as we have so far, on maximally weighted sonorities dense clusters, massive w alls" of sound, surfaces glittering with detaiLrbecause they m ake such an im m ediate impression^being so m arkedly at odds w ith traditional Western practice. But the..opposite extrerpePlarge temporal spans containing very little sound, a Iso. represents a remarkable departure, stim ulating new w ays of thinking about the experience of time and the relationship between sound and silence, uch sparsity of material draw s on e's aw areness to the suJitlesLcpialities of sound itself (color, attack, am plitude shape, e tc > a m k to o n e 's innehnost responses to it. This was a Ivital consideration f^r Morton Feldm an, unquestionably theleadjnfi.figure in the use of spare, contem plative instrupfenial textures. \ The prim acy of a ^ u lrc^ s-co lo r-a n tf other intrinsic qualities, and the relative unim portance of narrow ly defined pitch and rhythm , are expressed through Feldm an's use of indeterm inate notation. E xam p le 10.11 show s an excerpt from The King of Denmark for solo percussionist (1964). The graphic score p ro vides only general guid^ ngs for choosing-pitch a n d -lh y thmic ^ placem ent; tllgTWreeTforizontaf levels signify hieh, m iddle, and low (for pitch), a n d the boxes indicate a p p roximate increments o f tim e w ithin which qotated sounds are to occur. ther sym bols indicate gen eral categories or t\ O tn

SniC A PPBO A CH O Amounts of activity, leaving m ore specific choices to the performer- (The R, for exam p le, represents a roll on any instrument, and the large 5 m eans that five sou n d s may be played on any instrument in any register within the time fram e.) The w ork's rarified atmosphere stem s not just from its mini mal density but also from two startling perform ance directives prefacing the sco re: ( 1 ) the dynam ic m ust remain uniform and extrem ely quiet throughout, and ( 2 ) no sticks o r mallets are to be used instruments must only w ith fingers, palm s, onparls olJhrLarmfrr ring the past three decades, texture and timbre h ave continued to be an exploratory focus for many composers, but the avoidance of harmonic and rhythm ic definition found in the foregoing exam ples has since lost its revolutionary appeal. (Penderecki himself began writing quasi-tonal "n eo ro m a n tic" music during the 1970s.) The new attraction to rhythmic and h arm onic immediacy, how ever, has not precluded the use o f large instru m ental sound masses. For instance, in The Surma Ritornelli for eleven m u sicians (1983), American com poser Christopher Rouse (b. 1949) deploys w eighty instrumental textures with electrifying rhythm ic urgency and force. H arshly dissonant chords played by the entire ensemble proceed with an impulsive, strongly accented, highly energized rhythm , while re maining homorhythmic throughout. The impression is one of large, un yielding, blocklike sonorities charging along unpredictably. In general, the w ork is a modern-day evocation of the primitivism in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring o r Les twees, and of Varese's enthusiasm for the raw, kinetic power of sound. A nother trend, begun in the 1960s but reaching full m om entum in the 1980s, has been to adopt a less dissonant, more transparent harm onic idiom while pursuing a radically slowed treatm ent of time. In this m usic, rhythm, m elody, and harm ony evolve gradually in repetitive patterns, yielding sustained textures in w hich any immediate sense of change is minimized. The w orks of the A m ericans Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass (discussed m ore thoroughly in later chapters) are regarded as classics in this respect. But striking exam ples can also be found am ong the works of


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Karel G o e y v a e rts, L ou is A ndnessen, Gavin Bryars, and oth ers from Europe and the British Isles. Although these com posers reduce the quantity of m usical in form atio n in a w ay very different frpm that o f M orton Feldman,' a sim ilar p u rp o se is served in that the listener is left w ith and d raw n into the h eart o f the sou n d s them selves, their acoustical properties, their phys iological an d em otion al resonances, and their unfolding in time.


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Copyright 1965 by C. F. Peters Corporation. Used by


An exten d ed treatm en t of electronic music, including its significance as a virtually unlim ited resource in the realm of texture and tim bre, is found in C hapters 8 and 17. It is only necessary here to outline a few points of p articular relevance. M ost im portant is that electronic technology offers the com poser a d irect link to creating texture and sound m ass without the interm ediation of instruments or voices. The electronic com poser works directly w ith the basic stuff of sound wave shapes, frequencies, loudness contours, noise either generated in the studio or recorded in the environ ment. A lso im portant is that electronics permit a flexibility and precision not attainable by live musicians. All o f the effects discussed earlier in an instrum ental con text (densely elaborate counterpoint, timbre modulation, interaction o f sound m asses, etc.) can be directly engineered through such expedients as tape manipulation, sequencing, multitracking, sound pro cessing, and com p u ter control. The control afforded by electronics is obviously valuable when com plex com positional processes are involved in realizing texture and color. It is not surprising, then, that both Stockhausen and Xenakis turned to this technology to realize their concepts. Stockhausen, for instance, could not have given sonic form to his esoteric theories about sound color (developed in the late 1950s) without the electronic medium. His idea w as to place rhythm, pitch, and timbre on a single continuum by choosing a pattern of pulses that is, a rhythm and speeding it up hundreds of times to become a pitch with its ow n distinctive w aveform and resulting timbre. This could only be done electronically, of course. Since the w aveform w ould be a replica of the original rhythm ic pattern in miniature, an integral relation ship between rhythm and timbre w ould be achieved. Stockhausen applied this concept in Telm usik for m agnetic tape (1966). The intricate counterpoint that results from stratifying independent and contrasting strands of activity, as noted in instrumental works by Carter and N ancarrow , is standard fare in the electronic repertoire. Such layering can be easily achieved with m ultitracking on tape recorders or multisequencing with digital equipm ent (although the rem oval of human striving and interaction renders this uninteresting to som e com posers). Moreover, the spatial separation needed to highlight individual layers of

__und is easier to engineer electronically than with live m usicians, being primarily a m atter of speaker placement. In fact, distinct textures o r stream s of polyphony can even be panned (gradu ally shifted from one location to another), moving through and interacting in space in w ays inconceivable with live instrum ents o r voices. (V arese's use of over four hun dred speak ers in Potme tlectronique remains the m ost im pressive instance o f this.) Even in live perform ance, electronic instrum ents h ave been ad van ta geous to com posers working with texture. Pauline Oliveros w as an early pioneer in this resp ect, using multiple tape decks as a real-tim e medium during the 1960s. H er many works in this gen re include Lightpiece fo r David Tudor (1965), I of IV (1966), C(s) for Once (1 9 6 6 ), and Beautiful Soop (1967), the last of which involves no fewer than four tape decks. I of IV, in partic ular, is em blem atic of her meditative, intuitive attitude tow ard sound. Slowly changing combination and difference tones are fed through an elab orate tape echo and tape delay system , producing a dream like, oceanic w ash of timbres. New realms of sound mass and density also open up when live and electronic means are combined, especially w here orchestral perform ance is involved. To cite just one example of particularly monumental scope, " . . . im oen d ig voller fig u r . . . " (1970) by Swiss com poser Klaus Huber (b. 1924) combines a large chorus, a gigantic orchestra, seven amplified vocal solo ists, and a quadraphonic tape derived from prerecorded choral, brass, and percussion sounds. Not only does every m em ber of the orchestra play a separate part, as in other sound-m ass com positions w e have seen, but the chorus of at least sixty singers is sim ilarly divided. Most significant here, how ever, is that choral and instrumental sounds are still further prolifer ated and timbrally extended by their electronically modified counterparts on tape. These forces com bine to create a sonic environment ranging from titanic clusters and splashes of sound to delicately surreal and hushed sonorities.


Having exam ined the phenom enon of texture and color in new music from m any perspectives in this chapter, w e have still only scratched the surface. N early every musical innovation m entioned in other chapters has impli cations in this area. For exam p le, collage techniques (discussed in Chapter 13) offer unique possibilities in the realm of texture not dealt with above The inclusion of n on-W estern instruments am ong the com poser's resources an important feature o f C h ap ter 11 brings entirely new timbral possi-

T C X T 0 K , m 5 S . ADD D flSIT V
bilities barely touched on so far. The list goes on. W hat is important here, how ever, is the newfound importance of these issues am o n g today's co m posers, and the willingness of som e to make texture, density, color, a n d ' related concerns a p rim ary focus in shaping their music. This development, perhaps more than a n y other, suggests the degree to w hich freedom from a traditional orientation toward pitch and rhythm has evolved in the past half century. Out of that freedom has grown a new and robust enthusiasm for sound itself and all its aspects.

-Uleitern fTlusical Influence)

D ebussy's encounter w ith the m usic of Indonesia w as a rare opportu nity for a com poser in the W estern hemisphere in 1889. By contrast, in tod ay's w orld o f instantaneous global com m unication, W esterners have ready access to broadcast o r recorded m usic from all over the planet. Rapid travel has m ade the live experience of m ost kinds of m usic m o re accessible as w ell, both in W estern con cert halls and in its places of o n g in ; moreover, the em ergence of ethnom usicology as an academic discipline has brought such m usic to university cam puses. As a result, m any have com e to realize that m usic rooted in the traditions of W estern civilization, perhaps the only m usic they have ever know n, really constitutes a tiny fraction of the mu sical w orld in its totality. B y "W e ste rn " w e are referring not so much to a geographical locality as to an established set of m usical practices and expectations; these include jazz, popular idiom s, and m o st im portant here, the so-called classical or concert m usic that prevails in the m etropolitan centers of Europe, North A m erica, and W esternized areas of South America today. In this sense, the m usic of native A m erican o r other ethnic cultures in the W estern hemisphere can be considered n on -W estem for our purposes.

1 9 *.

n o iM U W ia n m u s iC A L in flu e n c e
As many h ave discovered, the m usics of non-Western cu ltu re s offer not onlv a vast treasury of sounds that are still fresh but also a broad ra n g e of alternative perspectives on the ritual and societal contexts o f m usic. T h us, they provide an attractive field of exploration for p erform ers, sch olars, listeners, and com posers, especially those who view the con cert m u sic tradition, even in its m ore avant-garde guises, as a calcified resid u e of nineteenth-century European thinking. (In fact, som e prefer to label it " E u rocentric" or "Eu ropean -derived " rather than "W estern .") M any co m p o s ers consider that thinking to be outdated and lacking in vitality, not on ly in the actual sounds produced but also in the lifeless form ality (from their standpoint) of the usual concert setting, which reflects a detached and limited view of m usic as either fine art o r entertainment. To a great degree, non-W estem influences address these concerns. They also suggest fresh perspectives on m any of our nine basic factors. Pitch logic and tim e are treated very differently in some traditions. Also, instru ments unfamiliar to W estern listeners m ay be used, offering new exp eri ences in sound color. A nd perform ance ritual in vernacular traditions often has a p rim acy it lacks in W estern practice. In exploiting these possi bilities, com posers som etim es imitate or quote melodies and other m ateri als directly, m aking historicism /parody an important concern.


sounDS F R o m



Two aspects of m usic from other parts of the globe have influenced the course of W estern music: (1) distinctive melodic, harmonic, or rhythm ic practices, and ( 2 ) the quality of sound produced by instruments, tuning systems, and m ethods of perform ance not found in the traditional W estern mainstream. Both possibilities have proved significant.

Ilo n-lU eitern m ethod





In the traditional repertoire there are m an y instances where composers have incorporated superficial characteristics of music from foreign lands, perhaps beginning w ith M ozart's use of Turkic melodies and rhythm s (e.g., the Rondo alia turca from the Piano Sonata in A major, K.331). Later ex amples include the H ungarian dances and rhapsodies of Brahms and Liszt,

In Pilhoprakla, for exam ple, the entire string section is divided into individual p arts. For Xenakis, the use of as many separate p arts as there are orchestra players is a logical ou tgrow th of the stochastic process, since large sound m asses built of m any sm all events require m any individual p articip an ts.T h isp ra cT ice b e ca m e co m m o n /o ro th e r te x tu re ^ n e n le a cornp osers^ a y w e lf (especially Ligeti, Penderecki, Serocki, and Lutostaw ski), _it possible to generate m assive sonorities that saturate_a g j y e n ^ register ^ s p a riT o fiiffl^ J^ Exactly how the stochastic process translates into actual rhythm s and pitches is beyond the scope of this chapter, but the musical outcom e is fascinating. In Pilhoprakla alone on e can perceive a great range of orchestral sound m asses, including "clo u d b u rsts" o f rapid but im precise percussive noises m ade by tapping the bodies of-Stringed instrum ents, as rrm<;rhythrv>crr r o ^ ^ {frpJ ^ p r p c c ir tp ^ fnm im praMe randomly spaced attacks ^ a n c ^dense fabrics created when p itc h js introduced into the equation. With gard to the latter,m axim al^ig n sity is often achieved by .ensuring that apy two instrum ents sharing the sam e register have different pitch contours, rhythm s, or both; cooscigttPnny, n o tw o Instrum ents play the sam e pitch at thfLsam e time. F u rthcrmoreTtHeTegistral span trayeled b y^ ch jr^ stxu m en t overlaps that of its neighbors such that every part o f the enscm bje's range is traversed in various w ays by fou r o r ftVejnstrurpcntS at a j i m e . More over, pitches are cfiosen so that ev ery - note within a four- o r five-octave span is represented at least once in every beat. By varying states of articulation as w ell, Xenakis has created textures of rem arkably contrasted character. One can hear in Pilhoprakla, a string o r chestra sonority during which ev ery instrum ent plays a forced pizzicato (arracht), a passage in which all strings p lay a continuous glissando while m oving at different rates in different directions, and another featuring col legno bnttulo (Jrappt) for every player. W h at is apparent w hen experiencing the entire work is the overall sh ap e o f these, d e re iti^ jm T th e snHHf>n In m P h m p s subtle shift from one textu re to the next all thgse_qii.alities being vital to the w ork's structure.. Like C arter, Xenakis has ad d ed a spatial dimension to the unfolding of texture in som e of his works. A m o n g them are Terrelektorh for eighty-eightpiece orchestra (1966), Polylope de M ontreal for four cham ber orchestras (1967), and Nomos Gnmma for orch estra (1 9 6 8 ), in all of which the musicians are spread out am ong the audience. The relationship between textu re and com positional process takes on a different aspect in Berio's Chemins II b/c for nine w oodw inds, six brass, percussion, electric guitar, electric o rg an , piano, and strings. T his work began as Sequenza VI for solo viola (1 9 6 6 ); a cham ber ensemble w as then added to the viola part, resulting in Chemins II for viola and nine instru ments (1967); the instrum entation w as th en further expanded to include full orchestra in Chemins II b (1 9 7 0 ), after w h ich a part for solo b ass clarinet

k xtu rc,




w as added to create Chemins l i e (1972). Chemins II b/c is yet an oth er version, replacing the b ass clarinet w ith a tenor saxophone. W ith each in carn ation the m usic gained a new stratu m of texture, the totality being com pared by Berio A to-atvaqian w ith m anv Jaypre. the outer layer .providing a new su cfap* and 1 I the older layers changing in function. "P ro ce s s" in Chemins II b/c, then, lefers I to the com p oser's w ay of working: revision a n d /o r accretion of m aterial through successive versions of the composition. Texture is an ou tgrow th of process in the m usic of Brian F em ey h o u g h (b. 1943) as well. On a purely surface level, his scores are fabulously ornate, characterized by a dense succession of highly variegated gestu res and ef fects, which present im m ense challenges to the perform er. Underlying, this is a labyrinthine system o f thought, as m uch guided by the com p oser's views on phenom enology and epistem ology as by purely musical concerns. (Fem eyhough's Cnrceri d'lnvcnzione I is discussed in Chapter 21.)


(M S S :







We return again to the discovery mad e by Cow ell, Ives, and Vacse that b lod ^ Q iim asses of so u n d caji.serv e .ju s ta s well as chords^ax-igidI21 dua 1 n S jii^ h a p in g .a jiiu sica U iisg iu rse . For o u r purposes, g "sound m a ss i f s ) * V a sonority liberated from beingjheard in_terms Q tepeafic-piiches_Q L^ords, ( allowing iL to -serv s^ as 'more abstract and in s om e ways m ore versatile-V n\aledah-Not_onJy is soundjB.ass.jusias_ma 1leable a ^ QfllgsjQixhotds w i{b | respect to rhythm , register, timbre, dyn ahu c s ra m i 3 th er_vao flbles, . b u t _i t can alsobe ro a ru p u la te cL im te u n ^ fJis^ R P JJ^ n ^ '^ g h O iiC jd e n s ity " an d . the relative simplicity, ox_complexity of its surface. Sound-mass textures, howeverTare fundam entally different fjQm,genuinelxcQntrapuntal_pni.ts in th afih dividual lines o f music, perhaps represented by individual instru- j / > - , ments o r 'ir is tn im e n tS ^ n J B p s ^ Q Y ^ ^ their ow n , \ b ein g'in disH nguishab lej5a^^ o(.a.larger fabric-.Thus, the texture in Xd nakis's PithopraJcta cannot be usefully reg ard ed as contrapuntal; oven \ though it contaip s ^ -e n o r m o u s am ount.ofjcgunterpoint^ each jtailis..o n ly j one of very m any^im ilar parts co n tributing to a single..m assive,.com positey texture. An instrument o r ensemble may be approached not as a vehicle for ^

r . / A/ /

ds v