I based the composition upon a tonal row consisting of six diatonic notes, using familiar serial composition techniques which allow only strict variations of the tone row (direct, retrograde, inversion, and retrograde inversion). The composition was originally scored as a twelve-bar, twelve voice sketch in the Finale program, then exported via MIDI to Reason 2.5, where the various rowforms were cut, pasted and fed to synthesizers for arrangement and manipulation. The only instrumental exception to this scheme is that I allowed myself the luxury of importing a finger cymbal sample, in order to provide rhythmic propulsion at specific times. The finger cymbals felt idiomatically appropriate for the piece.
In addition to the strict melodic rules, I imposed a strict hierarchy of rhythmic subdivisions as well. The row is represented in sixteenth, eighth, quarter, half and whole note phrases. Again, I allowed for one luxury, in the form of a melody which, based on the tone row, asserts rhythmic freedom. For me, the hierarchy of the repetitive subdivisions reflects the fractal nature and symmetry of the image of the white lily. During the arranging and mixing of the work, I allowed the animated sixteenth-note parts to emerge and submerge, much the way one’s eye tends to roam across the symmetry of the flower, focusing briefly on one pattern, then the next, then attempting to encompass the form as a whole.
15 January, 2006
(This piece is a winner of one of our Mandala book prizes)