Biloba for chamber ensemble
Tan, Zi Hua
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Biloba is a chamber piece for eight instruments inspired by the Gingko biloba tree. In an abstract way, the piece attempts to capture the movements - to me, the structural details of a tree give the illusion of dancers frozen in time - and textures exhibited by the tree, as well as the environment in which it inhabits. Many transformations take place in this piece. In terms of the general form, it loosely traces the evolution of the Ginkgo leaves from the Permian era to the present day in retrograde. The compositional materials were molded according to different permutations of the plot of the pitchfork bifurcation equation in the supercritical case, which bears resemblance to the outline of a typical fan-shaped Gingko leaf. Aesthetically, the different levels of vibrationality of the sounds produced by the instruments were used to mirror the different energy states of living objects in nature. Each instrument has a unique set of vibration gradations. The flute, for example, generally progresses in this fashion: pure tone, molto vibrato, timbral trill, trill, tremolo, and successive triplets. The sonic elements were flexibly laid out with mathematical models, mainly systems based on palindromes and the Fibonacci series. Palindromes can manifest themselves in multifarious way, from the number of beats in a group of measures in a phrase to the unfolding of pitches in a musical gesture. One instance of the usage of the Fibonacci series is in the time of entry of a similar gesture for each instrument. The harmonic language of the piece was derived from a pool of spectra, namely the natural harmonics of B2 and A1 (with C4 as middle C), inverted natural harmonics of B5, and two artificially constructed harmonic series based on the other three spectra.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Instrumentarium -- Performance notes -- Acknowledgements -- Biloba