(with a special limited edition of 25 copies with 5 5"x5" signed and numbered artist's prints by jeff davis)
silk-screened cardboard ecopak
artwork by jeff davis
these pieces grew out of my research and interest in just intonation
and prime numbers. during my explorations, i came across some
interesting prime number sets and wondered what they would sound
like. i constructed these pieces using sine wave generators in max/msp.
i chose a base frequency (fundamental) for each piece and multiplied that
number by each of the prime numbers in a given set to determine the
harmonics / partials / overtones. most of the overtones were transposed down
several octaves to fit within a comfortable 2-3 octave range. this became
my “scale” or harmonic zone for each piece. i related the panning and metronome
speed of each overtone to its frequency. rhythmically, each sine tone / frequency
followed its own 3 beat cycle which created overlapping
prime number rhythmic patterns.
beat 1 = base frequency for that given overtone
beat 2 = an octave higher
beat 3 = silence (rest)
the lower overtones had faster rhythmic cycles and the higher overtones
had slower rhythmic cycles. this was a way for me to relate the rhythm
to the prime number sets and integrate it with the harmony while still
retaining a musical texture that was interesting to me. i used a simple stereo delay
to blur the rhythmic texture to create more of a slowly
shifting, patterned harmonic cloud.
these pieces are dedicated to james tenney (1934-2006).
they are an acknowledgment of his extraordinary work with
alternate tuning systems and just intonation.
his musical life should be an inspiration to us all.