THREE AFFECTS is a work consisting of three short movements, each one focusing on specific unique strengths of the early musician. This music celebrates improvisation and ornamentation, precise and diverse articulation, subtle control of intonation, spontaneity and risk, and the specific type of contextual awareness required of a basso continuo player.
Movement I is about groove and harmonic progression; it uses a set of custom articulations inspired by the bow exercises of Leopold Mozart’s Violinschule and by the Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release envelope that determined articulation of early synthesizers. Movement II is about melody, with each musician playing an intensely ornamented, personal interpretation of the same line. Movement III combines the previous two textures: canonic (digitally-delayed) melodies fuse with furious grooves in contrasting meters.
Once the work was finished, I assembled tools for interpreting the emotional content of each of these three musical worlds. I drew upon J.P. Kirnberger’s The Art of Strict Musical Composition, Bharata Muni’s Nātya Shāstra, Ben Johnston’s ideas about meaning and harmonic ratios, and Lasse Thoresen’s writings on the semiotics of music-as-heard. After absorbing and combining aspects of these four approaches, I created personal interpretations of each movement, signified by the titles.
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