Palette de Couleur et de Lumiere

Palette de Couleur et de Lumiere

The concept of a palette of instrumental colour and timbre is derived from deepest aesthetic principles of the work.  The choice of instruments are essential to the colouristic balance of the work.

Glockenspiel                                            Vibraphone
Bongos                                                    Congas
Tom-toms                                                Bass drum
Small shaker                                            Tambourine
Whistles                                                  Blowers
Flute/Alto Flute                                       Clarinet/Bass Clarinet

With the piano as the mediator, the opportunity for balanced and contrasting exploration of instrumental colour are great.  For example;

The two types of combinations are demonstrated below.  The first is cross-species representation where there is a contrast of both instrument and register.

Example 1


The second contrast intrumental colour only.

Example 2

This is similar to the first cross-species representation above.  Here however, they are of the same instrumental family-the drum.  Therefore the contrast is of timbre rather than colour.

Example 3

This is a contrast of timbre and a subtle change of register.

Example 4

With the keyboard percussion combined (which in terms of colour and register stretches a wide range)interesting cells of timbre and colour emerge. 

Example 5

The combinations are maximised when woodwind are taken into consideration:

Example 6

Example 7
                           Treble           Alto           Tenor          Bass
Catergories I        Flute          Alto Flute   Clarinet      Bass Clarinet

Catergories II       Glock.        Vibraphone.............      Pianoforte 

Catergories III      Cabasa       Tom-Tom    Congas       Bass drum

Catergories can also be made in terms of metal and wood sounding instruments:

Metal                                    Wood
Flute/(alto)                             Clarinet/(bass)
Vibraphone                             Wood blocks...

Like the previous work Apres La Mort des Artistes, the instrumental combinations are devised through an elaborate and complex plan.  The leading figurative writing is divided between instruments that are intended to dominate the texture. 

Pitch and Rhythm Generation

As this work is predominately a percussion piece for the nature of the pitch generative material is one that is closely associated with spectral processes. In other words pitch and rhythm are created side by side. Pitch and rhythm in terms of acoustics are inseparable-partials are elements of rhythmic displacement from the fundamental tone, tributaries form the main source. The displacement of rhythm causes irregular reverberations and alters the frequency of the tone. It is the amplitude of these pitches that determines the timbre and the colour of the tone.( Every acoustic tone consists of a multiplicity of overtones and partials that are semi-suppressed or active). The 'palette' of colour is derived from the conflict of rhythm and pitch that is created by the disparagement between the main tone and its off-shoots.  Wave lengths are often drawn as regular curve lines that gradually expanding and then contracting in curvature but in reality pitch tones played on acoustic instrument rarely display such simple pattern. In acoustic instruments (violin,flute, trumpet and clarinets) the same pitch undergoes incredibly different manipulation according to the material its made of, manner in which the instrument is played, etc... The note is passed through several bands of partials of which some remain dormant due to their relative low amplitude or some partials come to the foreground. This effectively is an essential element that gives an instrument its sense of timbre and colour:

Model of Tone Reverberation