Communauté électroacoustique canadienne
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Works » By Title » T » Trinity (15:20 / 1976)

Barry Schrader

Trinity is composed in rondo-variations form wherein the theme alternates with variations of itself. In addition, the original form of the theme, which serves here as the refrain, is slightly altered in each repetition. Trinity’s theme is not the traditional set of pitches, nor is it a particular group of elements from any other dimension of music. Rather it is a musical gestalt that may be visually represented as . As realized in the first statement of the theme, this idea becomes a continuous expansion of sound, particularly with respect to pitch, timbre, and dynamics. To consider the theme is also to postulate its permutations. A number these were selected for Trinity resulting in the final overall form of the work. Since this notion of theme represents such a general but fundamental musical concept, it lends itself to countless possibilities of variation and combination, each of which, in turn, can be represented in many ways by the various dimensions of music. The second variation, for example, is realized initially through changes in timbre and rhythm until, through amplitude modulation created by rapid change of channel assignment, the two dimensions become part of a perceptually larger continuum. At this point, the focus shifts to changes of pitch and timbre as an increasing pitch range creates an expanding additive timbral structure. This is, of course, only one of the many possible ways this variation could have been realized. Trinity, like most of my other works, is greatly concerned with the establishment of new and interesting electronically generated timbres, as well as with their transformation. Timbral transformations may occur in a linear fashion as in the original theme and at the close of the second variation, or as changes of discrete steps along a timbral continuum, a continuum that may be unique to a particular timbre, as in the first variation. Used in this way, timbre becomes not only thematic, but definitional and functional as well. This is, I believe, a characteristic musical possibility unique to electro-acoustic music. Trinity is the earliest work of mine that fully exhibits my concerns with both time-variant timbres and timbral transformations, concepts that continue to be important in much of my music. There is a particular frequency heard throughout Trinity that, because of the way it is used, takes on tonic qualities. This frequency is 313 Hz, one that does not represent any traditional pitch since it is not within the accepted tuning of the tempered scale. This frequency was selected for just such a reason, as well as for its obvious relation to the structure of the work.

  • Studio: University
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