Schematic Nocturne for solo piano (1997)
by Bruce Christian Bennett
Hear Schematic Nocturne: Nocturne.ra (RealAudio) or Nocturne.mp3 (MP3)
Schematic Nocturne was commissioned by Lee Alan Nolan and composed during the winter of 1996-97. The piece is an exploration of a series of harmonic fields modeled after frequency modulation generated spectra. The formula for frequency modulation synthesis is pi = c ± (m * I), wherein pi are the partial pairs (sum and difference tones) at a given index, c is the carrier frequency, m is the modulating frequency, and I is the given index (all frequencies are measured in Hz. and then rounded down to the nearest semitone of the tempered scale). I employ several different distinct types of music (fast, slow, wide interval leaps, scalar runs, etc.) to explore various registers and internal structures of the aforementioned harmonic fields throughout the piece. These various types of music, as well as the harmonic fields, interpenetrate one another over the course of the whole work, contributing to a kind of overall arch form supported by pillars of fast perpetual motion music in the lowest registers. This music is based on a symmetrical nine-note scale (around C-sharp) derived from the first twelve pairs (sum and difference tones) of partials of an FM spectrum generated from a pair of F-sharps below middle C.