Cecilia Arditto Delsoglio

Post Term: microtonality

Tissue (2019)

for orchestra
1st prize Rychenberg Competition, Winterthur, Switzerland
Based on the photo series “Wounds of violence” by Adél Koleszár.

The human skin has its sonic representation on the whole orchestra like a flexible and elastic body, represented by big percussion instruments: timpani, thunder sheet, bass drum, lion’s roar, and tam-tam Big surfaces of skin, wood, metal, string and paper are hit, rubbed, stroked, scratched, and touched with the fingers by the percussionists, echoed by the rest of the orchestra. It is a “concerto” for big surfaces, where the soloists are not only the percussionists but “the matter itself.” The orchestra doesn’t play “around” or “with” the players but “inside”: in an implosive gesture, the percussionists “swallow” the orchestra which is playing from the heart of their matter. The orchestral tissue expands and contracts in various levels: density (from solos to full divisi), rhythm, and tone division (going from small microtones to wide intervals). Ornaments and microtones in this piece are used mainly to create textures, crafting the sound from “inside out” and modeling micro-variations. As a cantus firmus, Tissue uses a traditional Mexican song, “La llorona (The weeping woman”) close to the spirit of Adél Koleszár’s geographical and emotional landscapes. Lyrics refer to romantic love, mainly as suffering and death, and women as an object to be deathly loved and consequently disposed of.

Audio
Video (version 1)
• Video  (version 2) final Rychenberg competition
• Video explanations (percussion extended techniques)
• Comments about the piece by C. Arditto

• Press

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Related works:

• Música invisible for flute (2003)
• Palabras / Words (2005)
• Life on Mars (2016)
• The dearest dream (2018)

 

 

Life on Mars (2016)

for clarinet, accordion and cello
for Roadrunner Trio

Life on Mars is a trip between tonality and micro-tonality. When zooming in from a scale to a single tone and within that single tone to a micro-tone scale, our perception moves progressively deeper and deeper into the sound. Imagine that the perception of tones and micro-tones resembles observing Mars from Earth while getting increasingly closer to its surface; after a while, our eyes can’t embrace the whole planet anymore, only the small details.

The clarinet uses extremely micro-tonality: scales of 32nd of tone obtained by the usage of specific ventilation holes. The aim is not to turn the audience into listening machines but to create a context that opens perception.

• Audio

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Related works:

 

Palabras / Words (2005)

for soprano, viola, baritone saxophone and 1/16th tone piano.
comissioned by NFPK, Holland

Palabras uses words in two different ways: words as sounds, and words as meaning.
Written for 1/16 tone piano, saxophone, viola and voice, the microtonal division of the tones remains the fluctuation of the spoken voice.

The piece is divided into five different blocks of spoken language that go from the proper spoken voice (Part IV) to a melodic line (part II) which is sung by the four instruments. Every block or surface has a different quality in relation to different kinds of discourse.
Julian Carrillo,s  1/16 tone piano was a primary inspiration for this piece and its relation to the spoken voice. The microtonal divisions of the piano are in the frequency range of the spoken language.

• Audio
• Video (excerpts)
• Analysis
• Press

Related works:

• Música invisible for flute (2003)
• Life on Mars (2016)

Casi cerca / Almost close (2003)

Casi cerca / Almost close is based on the idea of suggestion rather than revelation. The music operates in the outer limits of perception; events are sensed rather than clearly perceived. Contour prevails over detail, the respiration of music is whispered.
The narrow dynamic range, the restricted instrumental timbre, and the blurred effect of the rhythmical combinations aim at creating music that is slightly ‘out of focus.’
Melodies are masked, melos being more important than the melody itself. Casi cerca is related to something possible to perceive but impossible to touch, impossible to see, impossible to hear. The word “casi” (almost) represents the fragile line that divides things that are close, completely apart.

• Audio
• Interview/article PDF
• Analysis

Related post/s in my blog:

“About notation” (English)
“Sobre el triunfo del fracaso” (Spanish)

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

Related works:

• Canciones (1998)
• Palabras / Words (2005)
• The daughter of the sorceress – opera page