The accordion concert in contemporary music (2nd part)

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Luigi ManfrinIt might, in broad terms, give us an interpretation of language?

From a general point of view the song appears rather compact and it is not easy to identify the parties to clearly separate or differentiated among themselves; however, there is a complex temporal architecture, based on sections regulated in their life and in their overall distribution of modules derived from the Fibonacci’s number.

I recognize the inflationism of Fibonacci in contemporary music; nevertheless, in Acrylic Mixtures II, the mathematical series was used to compute and fix the roughly ratios temporal duration, on which adjust the continuous variations of the metronome to which the piece is constantly subjected.

The times of metronome follow an arithmetic progression proceeding from 6 multiplied by 7, 8, 9 … 16. The relationship between the duration and the metronome allows to derive the amount of pulsations required to cover a section. This procedure has proved effective to regulate the processes of temporal deformation of the sections by relaxations and contractions calculated.

The first section (marked in the score with 1) consists of 77 pulses at 42 to the quarter note, for a duration of about 110″ (equivalent to twice the value 55 of the Fibonacci series). In it there is an initial game periodicity nuanced, built on agreements held with durations calculated around a constant that sometimes is repeated and sometimes varies. Each term is divided into two phases related to growing from nothing and decreasing toward zero and, at the same time, it becomes the start of a subsequent growing, thus repeating the process throughout the entire first part of the track.

In particular, the length of constant duration is given by the second-decreasing with increasing peak on mf, while the first duration, with peak on mp, is slightly extended; the third and fourth term remain identical to the second with spikes on fe on mf and, finally, the fifth duration extends dilating with a peak again on mf.

In the entire first section durations of crescendo and diminuendo differentiated and appear only in the sixth round, with the peak in ff, the two phases are of equal length; this coincidence prepares a turnaround. In fact, up to the sixth cycle is always growing to be wider than the decreasing, while the seventh cycle prevails with the extension of the decreasing. Following a sudden attack on a f which decreases by starting the process again cycles divided into crescendo-diminuendo. Interruption similar happens in the 16th beat, with a sudden attack on fff which is the highest peak reached in the first section.

In the subsequent repetitions chord changes tend to fill the two extreme frequencies in order to polarize two layers tonal chord or two blocks (on the extreme acute C # 5Bi5-A5-G5 one hand, on the extreme severe E0-F # 0-G # 0 # 0- A on the others) that remain fixed from the point of view of the register that they are set up chord. The only modifications relate to the game of appearance, in the sense that the same frequency components, separately, come out and fall on stage, generating coloristic variations of the same block chords of belonging.

The second section (2 in the score) introduces some minor changes compared to the first section, determinants throughout the next evolution of the song. First start of very slight modification of the frequency spectrum, always divided into two distinct registers, and, gradually, over the course of the subsequent sections, will take on more and more consistency from the sixth section on (6 in the score).

Second step happens when the constant modification of metronome asks to the accordionist to accelerate from 42 to 54 to the quarter note. The executor must contract each unit of movement connecting the exact rhythm included in them; this implies a discontinuous conduction and deforming of the time that, ideally, should convey a sense of continuity to listening. It makes you think of an idea of ​​the continuous time but lives, demands and can not be separated from warping or distortions that, in fact, they do exist as such.

This deformation is, however, directed as accelerant. The third section (3 – score) remains fixed to the value of 54 of the metronome at the quarter note and, continuing the process initiated in the previous sections, introduces as a differential vibrato. The fourth section decelerates to 42, while the fifth accelerates again, this time to 60 to the quarter note, coinciding with the sixth section culminate, in which all the processes of the first part of Acrylic Mixtures II.

I have dwelt on this first part to illustrate the concept of sound-image as correlation energy / between virtual and dynamic morphology spatiotemporal evolving: it’s all about the connection between the dynamics – the game calculated both locally and globally of crescendodiminuendo – with spatial transformations (frequency / logs) and temporal (contraction / expansion of the individual durations and sections, plus the constant presence of the oscillation between acceleration and deceleration of metronome).

Acrylic Mixtures II, therefore, takes place constituting the repetition of a single event; the latter seems to unfold in singular “monads energy” which, as they were each equipped with a “virtual memory” capable of maintaining and transmitting the information above, repeating and varying them together, contribute together to create the feeling of a gradual increasing differential, continuous and oriented voltage.

From the sixth section forward, in fact, begins a central part in which the sound space shrinks – combining the two registers clearly separated from the beginning; this part is characterized by rhythmic impulses-chordal increasingly close together, culminating in the thirteenth section (13 score) with quintuplets formed by sixteenths spotted.

These blocks rhythmic chordal-are each distinguished by its own specific dynamics. This represents a situation opposite to the starting composition, because it is as if the initial cycles of crescendo-diminuendo they had contracts in individual dynamic pulses, following one another in a discontinuous manner: fff, ff, f, mf … until ppp. Again dynamic affect the morphological synthesis help so essential writing rhythmic-harmonic of the central sections of Acrylic Mixtures II.

The modification of the persistent time of metronome – deformation also continuing throughout the central part of the composition – allows the fourteenth section (14 score), by slowing down (from 72 to 42 to the quarter note), to articulate internally agreements in chaotic form with attacks fff ppp immediately.

This articulation agreement to agreement allows, always through the change metronome, to transit to section 18, set at 84 to the quarter note, and characterized by joint chordal furniture; in fact, the agreements are moved in the region of the acute sound space by tracing the trajectories. The first three lines of section 18 are marked by a shift toward the high-pitched, crescendo, culminating on a complex agreement to section 19 (F # -G -A# # # -D -C- C -E-F-G) with the dynamic that Emboss chaotically between fff and ppp. This dynamic sbalzamento assumes importance in the conclusion of the song.

Entire section 18 is built on sound images derived from waveforms: for example, in the first three bars, locally alternating joints of 4, 5, 3 notes in a vertical format with guidelines downhill and uphill, but that globally form an overall upward direction. This game of internal alternate directions, generally oriented, is also present in the large descent of the final section.

In summary, the song evolves from an initial situation timbre-chordal fixed, slowly modulating micro-fluctuations and coloring itself of little nuances with varied effects of proximity and distance – increasing / decreasing – repeated; everything deforms gradually contracting and multiplying in most agreements tight until it began a kind of costellation, rhythmic pulses and joints chaotic component chord. It progressively form a complex sound block increasingly contract, which increases the weights and volumes of sound through a certain use of the registers of the accordion, and which then leads to unfolding of the rapids figurations extended in space to the waveform.

Since section 20 there are metronome slowdowns that initiate the conclusion of Acrylic Mixtures II. Deceleranti in sections 20, 22 and 24seem poles of attraction:  two sections fixed at 42 to the fourth, anticipatory time conclusive. The slowdowns start at a value higher and higher until they fasten to 96 eighth, extending more and more in their lifetime. Within these general slowdowns are scattered situations that oppose them, for example the pulses in the chordal accelerating which contrast the linearity of the path of metronome, making the overall perception of ambiguous and uncertain.

Writing back to proceed to chordal block articulated internally directing increasingly go sharp. Each block plays on the agreement between different treatments, the harp, the oscillation of some of its components and rhythmic accentuation. Despite these different joints, the sound tends more and more to homogeneity and the merger.

The last section (27 score) points to a mixture tone-chord placed on the extreme acute (A-C # 5 # 6 # 6-D-G6-A6). It asks the accordion to perform a crescendo of about 5 “and a half culminating on f, followed by a lowering of about 11″ and a half, but proceeding to irregular fluctuations so as to generate a surface sound unstable and grainy.

This crumbling expands later with the addition of an F # 0 and that reconstitutes the situation, the sound start, divided between the extreme low and high. Now the crescendo up to ff extends for more than 17 “and the decreasing is prolonged for 20″, always with the same previous mode, ie to sudden changes and with the maximum possible instability.

Finally the same mixture of timbre with almost periodic oscillation between 0 and ppp for the duration of about 1 minute closes, giving the feeling of something that is not there. The conclusion of Acrylic Mixtures II, therefore, calls the sound “electronic” start, due to the joint treatment of the sound space – sharply divided in its end-to-severe acute – with an amplitude envelope unstable although oriented crescendo and diminuendo.

What do you think of the instrument accordion?

The accordion is an instrument that has had some important developments in the classical music of the twentieth century. There are some works that have become classic and a musician who wants today confronted with this instrument, it can not disregard it.

Composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina (De Profundis, 1978), Magnus Lindberg (Jeux D’Anches, 1990), Luciano Berio (Sequenza XIII, 1995), Franco Donatoni (Feria IV, 1997) – to name but a few of the most representative – have composed for solo accordion. Through these works, writing for accordion has certainly emancipated pursuant to an innovative experiment that has highlighted the increasingly large and varied tonal and expressive potential.

As for me, the choice to write for accordion has matured gradually over time, after composing in 2003 a duo for flute and accordion. This instrument has proved suitable to face a musical problem, one concerning the transposition of techniques derived from electronic music in a strictly instrumental. This issue brings us back to some ways of the spectralisme and to the instrumental synthesis mentioned by Grisey.

Some use of registers and reeds allows the particular sounds that seem to come from a synthesizer, this is what happens at the beginning and conclusion of Acrylic Mixtures II. In addition to the hybrid sounds, even the treatment of time, timbre and amplitude, partly simulated processes sound modulation that are used in electronics.

In this sense, the accordion has proved suitable to test the idea chiasmatic waste and interpenetration between the natural acoustic sound and its treatment derived from some artificial synthesis procedures electroacoustic, so that at certain points in the accordion is disguising something other than itself, and elsewhere were attended to the typical sounds almost organ instrument. It was, in terms of composition, of a work of interaction with the instrument leaving, so to speak, that it was to solicit the musical ideas.

From this point of view the works for solo accordion Toshio Hosokawa (Melody of 1979 and Sen V 1991-92) were exemplary. At first I wrote a first draft, Acrylic Mixtures I, in which is plotted as a sort of registration primitive idea of ​​basic musical system. After I worked directly with Corrado Rojac for drafting Acrylic Mixtures II: his instructions on the use and control of records, his tone colours, dynamics and articulation of its potential to create and develop Acrylic Mixtures I have been fundamental. Viewing the sheet Acrylic Mixtures I, with all its dissociation internal parameter, Corrado has endeavoured to find the best ways to make it possible from the point of view of the executive; from here it is derived, then the second version larger and more elaborate than the first .

Which other pieces are related to the accordion?

Following a commission from the Divertimento Ensemble I composed between 2008 and 2009 Acrylic Mixtures III for accordion and eight instruments; it is a reworking of Acrylic Mixtures II for solo accordion. The ensemble used, in fact, expands and enhances the sounds generated by the accordion through a merging continuous and tense with it.

Acrylic Mixtures III is not designed as a classical concert for a solo instrument – protagonist – and ensemble. The part of the accordion coincides almost entirely with Acrylic Mixtures II and acts as a kind of projector that generates and transmits its images-sound on a large screen deforming represented by the ensemble. In the first part of the composition of the projector merges almost completely with the projecting, only to be almost submerged; in the second part emerges faintly in the foreground without decouple ensemble.

In any case it is always the accordion to conduct the track. From the morphological point of view, the process of transformation of the sound and its correlation to the ratio frequency / amplitude presented in Acrylic Mixtures II reproduce and add up to a whole instrumental constant reverberations ever since the accordion; the intent was to give on an auditory sensation of a single but complex sound synthesis, suggesting the idea of ​​a wave vital pre-organic, button and intensive, that progresses periodically for reps always differentiated. Again, the movement is simultaneously advancing a backward movement that is reconstituted for continuous shooting.

The title also refers to the scope of the composition of the expressive tactility and visibility related to the painting technique, alluding to the sensations related to light and its variations in intensity, tone and colour mixtures suggested by musically by-step synthesis of space and sound timbres, now more clear and transparent, now darker and impenetrable. The suggestion can best be given by the image of a surface in view of the movement, which performs from time to time not only the gradual or sudden changes of its colour values, but also the traits materials in some cases smooth, in other creped and grainy.

Acrylic Mixtures III, although it is a purely instrumental piece, emphasizes at times hybrid convergence with electronic techniques. The ensemble, as mentioned earlier, serves as both a screen capable of projecting large-scale or larger agglomerations timbre of the accordion, both as a modulator that further intensifies their morphology through a multiplication and an overlay of sound levels in the making. Resurface again analogies with gestural painting, given the presence of sound images comparable intersection of coloured bands that seem to suddenly enter and exit from the space defined in the frame of a picture, on a background equally animated signs and colours.

Are there other projects related to the world of the accordion?

The accordion is an instrument that fascinates me and catch me a lot. For this reason, I have fantastic plans to further continue with the series of Acrylic Mixtures. The idea would be to a new song in which interacting effectively with the electronic instruments and generating a kind of ambiguous and unresolved hyper-instrument, in which the natural sound and the sound of the electric are mixed together and in the meantime leaving a margin uncertainty and difference between both. It is currently only an idea yet to devise and evaluate where the possibility of realization.

Autore: Corrado Rojac

Corrado Rojac ha scritto 12 articoli.

This article is available also in: Italian


  • 17 July 2018Selezione Nazionale COUPE MONDIALE (CIA)
  • 24 September 201871° Coupe Mondiale (CIA)
  • 21 November 2018Strumenti&Musica Festival
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