- Year of composition: 2006
- Duration: 17:22
- Instrumentation: 5.1-channel fixed medium
- MP3, 320 kbps
- 48 kHz, 24 bits
- 96 kHz, 24 bits
- 96 kHz, 32 bits
Rococo Variations is an abstract work based around a series of synthesized harmonic transitions. After completing Dreaming of the Dawn, I was interested in animating basic / base harmonic material and disguising repetition with structural change. Rococo Variations began with a very simple (and melancholic) 8-bar harmonic passage (of whole notes). Working with pitches and harmonies in this way proved extremely challenging as synthetic voices, once recorded, were resistant to modification. Quite clearly, if a series of manipulations were possible, variation form was going to be one way of maintaining some coherence at the mixing stage.
The discrete nature of the notes / chords also provided a number of challenges. In addition to recorded MIDI files of the harmonic transitions, sequences were translated to Max/MSP enabling synthetic glissandi between chords, flexible duration control and dynamic timbral control of synthesis using a graphics tablet.
But why rococo? One possible transformation of the initial pitched material involved manipulating its harmonic spectra (perhaps making it inharmonic or animating the internal characteristics of a sound by glissandi). The graphic detail of certain sonograms was very intriguing. However, it would be foolish to ‘decorate’ the entire piece with these manipulations, doubly so to let this dictate the structure of the piece. But the idea of ‘rococo’ was set, especially influencing spectral and spatial manipulations in panning, granulation across multiple channels and convolution of drones with highly decorative material.
Rococo Variations was realized in 2006 at the composer’s studio and premiered on February 3, 2006 during the Soundings… festival in Reid Concert Hall (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK).
- February 3, 2006, Soundings… 2006: Concert, Reid Concert Hall — Edinburgh University, Edinburgh (Scotland, UK)