Feb 08 2015

Presenting at the 2015 West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis

Heptatonic Manifold

I am pleased to announce that my latest theoretical paper, “Of Modes and Manifolds: The Landscape of Expanded Heptatonic Modal Pitch Space” has been accepted for the 2015 West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis (WCCMTA). For those unfamiliar with the organization, the WCCMTA is a chapter of the larger Society of Music Theory (SMT). The paper, in short, encapsulates some recent research I have been doing in the area of modal theory, the centerpiece of which is my heptatonic manifold, seen above.

This year’s conference will be held at California State University-Fullerton this year, from February 27th to March 1st, in conjunction with the 14th Annual CSUF New Music Festival. If you’re interested in hearing about the manifold, and finding out more about this year’s conference, the site can be found here. More details on the schedule should be posted up there very soon. It should be a great event, covering the latest theoretical trends, and I’m quite excited to be a part of it.

-AL

Jan 22 2015

Modal Utilities Update . . . Version 0.2.0

I’ve gotten back to working on Modal Utilities of late, and hit a milestone this evening. After cleaning up the GUI some from the previous cluttered mess, I started playing around with the JFugue library. Suffice to say, that “Play Mode” button actually works now, so it’s now possible to hear the modes in the program. Next step is getting some of the other modules in place (currently occupied by the generic placeholder “Tab 2” and friends). Here’s a look at Modal Utilities 0.2.0:

modalutilities-020-01222015

-Alexander

May 19 2014

5/19/2014 – Modal Utilities Reaches Version 0.1.5

modal-utilities-05192014-watermark

Over the past few months, I’ve had an ongoing side project. I have been developing a Java program called Modal Utilities, designed for the speedy identification of heptatonic modes. Upon entering the step formula or pitch class set of a mode, Modal Utilities will give you the catalog number and name for the mode out of my heptatonic modal catalog, the mode series to which it belongs, several other useful properties (sigma values and series eccentricity–more on those later), and the data for rotationally-related modes in the same series. If you also insert a pitch to act as the tonal center of the mode, the program will spell out that mode from that point, give you the relative key signature (“inflection sum”) and give you a staff representation, to boot.

As of tonight, Modal Utilities reached Version 0.1.5, with improvements to the GUI, and the addition of the “Rotation” button, which will rotate the mode up through its series. Still quite a way to go with this project–those other tabs you see at the top are non-functional at the moment–but it should give you some idea of where this project is headed. It’s designed to be a supplement to my long-running plans to codify my (rather heretical) brand of modality in book form, a project which has progressed quite a bit of late.

I’ll have more about Modal Utilities and the other theoretical developments in the near future. Stay tuned.

-Alexander

Mar 17 2014

3/17/14 – String Quartet No. 12 recording, more site improvements

I’ve done a little further spring freshening on the site, including a rather thorough layout rework on the Music page. Far less cluttered-looking, and the recordings I have are more easily found. I’ll probably continue to tweak it in the next couple weeks, now that this quarter is coming to a close at the college.

Speaking of recordings, I’ve also just posted the recording of my String Quartet No. 12, which was commissioned and premiered by Third Angle New Music this past year, as part of their New Ideas in Music (NIIM) competition. They’re really a phenomenal group, and I especially enjoyed working with them. The impromptu “mini-symposium” that sort of came about with the other finalists during the few days before the concert made it all the more enjoyable. They’ve done another edition of the competition this year, and will be premiering six more new quartets this May.

I am drafting up a few things regarding my compositional approach–both in general, and with specific pieces–that I will be posting up here in the coming weeks, so I hope you’ll check by here again in the near future.

-Alexander

Mar 11 2014

3/11/14 – New recordings and site updates

Things have been relatively quiet here with the site in recent months, in part because life’s been a bit hectic in other quarters.  The marathon Ph.D program is done, and since then, I’ve been keeping busy with my teaching duties, trying to find something full-time, and working on getting my modal theory (or at least part of it) into an initial publishable form.  With a few new recordings rolling in, including the reading session of my periodic table-inspired dissertation with the UO Symphony, I started tweaking some things on the site, and will continue tinkering with it in the coming weeks, all the while adding more content, and trying to make this a more interesting place to visit.

Speaking of ye olde dissertation, the readings of Lithium and Beryllium are now up here, and on my recently revived SoundCloud (which, until a few days ago, only had my recording experiments with a cello I tuned down a full fifth).  I got decent takes of Nitrogen and Neon as well, which I hope to have up in the coming days.  My thanks to Maestro David Jacobs at the University of Oregon, and all the UO Symphony musicians for spending quite a bit of time on the piece, and to my former teacher David Crumb for taking on the rather active celesta part.  The next step there will be finding an opportunity for an official “premiere” of all 10 elements pieces I’ve done thus far (Hydrogen through Neon).  I’ll be posting more about the process of writing that project in the near term.

Other projects I have going on right now include a violin sonata I’m very close to finishing for Wyatt True, and I’ve also been working sporadically on a thirteenth string quartet and a third volume of Modal Preludes.

I’ve also gotten an official “contact” page up here now, in case anyone might have interest in collaborating or acquiring my freelance services, which include composing for concert idioms and media, arranging, orchestration, engraving, and private composition study.

-AEL

 

Mar 06 2013

Third Angle Open Rehearsal – Friday 3/8/13

I now have more details about the open rehearsals for the Third Angle New Ideas In Music (NIIM) concert. The group will be rehearsing my String Quartet No. 12 as part of the open rehearsal scheduled for this Friday (March 8th), which will take place from 12:30pm to 2:30pm at the Ellyn Bye Studio, located in the basement of The Armory (128 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR). The rehearsal is free and open to the public.

Mar 04 2013

Welcome

At long last, I have established a digital presence–feels strange having my own “dot com” now.  I’m still sorting things out with the site–feel free to browse around in the meanwhile, and check back again, as I should have quite a bit more content up here.

The big event coming up for my music is on March 21st at 7:30pm in the Lincoln Recital Hall (good old Room 75–I have fond memories of rehearsing with the PSU Symphony there, as a 16-year-old junior in college).  Third Angle Ensemble will be premiering my brand new Twelfth String Quartet as part of their 2nd Annual New Ideas In Music concert, along with new works by Jay Derderian, Nicholas Omiccioli, Geoffrey Gordon, Brendan Faegre, and Julian Day.  There will be a couple of free open rehearsals for the concert as well.  I’ll share more details once I know.

‘Til then, keep it modal.

-Alexander