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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24380

Title: Concentric Circles for Orchestra
Authors: Shi , Fuhong
Advisor: Kulesha, Gary
Department: Music
Keywords: 0413
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2010
Abstract: The concept for my thesis, titled Concentric Circles, as well as for its organizational framework, is inspired by the ancient Chinese book of divination called the I-Ching (Book of Changes). The I-Ching consists of sixty-four hexagrams and related texts. The hexagrams are formed by combinations of six unbroken (yang –) and/or broken (yin --) lines arranged on top of one another in a vertical sequence. There are sixty-four possible combinations which are distributed into four dynamic sections: Great Yin, Lesser Yang, Lesser Yin and Great Yang. I designed the four movements of Concentric Circles based on this order, and employed these terms as subtitles for each movement. Dualism and pluralism, along with the basic principles of simplicity, variability, and persistence, offer numerous possibilities for the construction of the musical parameters, and for development in the work. Concentric Circles is a hybrid of essential elements taken from various Western and Eastern composers, such as symmetry, multiple orchestral layers, and quartal and quintal harmony. From Debussy and Ravel, I have drawn orchestral colours and instrumentation. From Messiaen and Takemitsu, I have attempted to create a timeless atmosphere, poetic expressions, subtle timbres, and sounds drawn from nature. The polymetric process reflects the influence of Nancarrow and Ligeti. The extremes of orchestral dimensions and levels are drawn from Xenakis, while the melodic syntax which interlocks the ending and the beginning of the adjacent musical phrases reflects Chinese folk music. The movement and energy within the individual notes, textures such as the sustained long notes with vibrato, the timbral inter-relationships among different instrumental groups, the proportion and balance between silence (pauses) and music are all informed by the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Four selected hexagrams from four different dynamic distributions are assigned odd and even numbers, forming minor and major seconds, which are used to construct four musical scales. These four scales are the basic musical material of each movement. Each movement is designed with different and specific orchestral colours. For example, the first movement focuses on rustling texture and exquisite softness in the strings; the second movement seeks transparent colours and echo effects in the woodwinds, strings and percussion; the third movement conjures up an energetic dance ritual with multiple timbral and textural layers in brass and the lower instruments; the last movement concludes the whole work with orchestral tutti.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24380
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Faculty of Music - Doctoral theses

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