Discourse on Natural Proportions

Work Type: Classical, Orchestral


Duration: 10 minutes

Dialectic I
Dialectic II
Dialectic III
Dialectic IV

Discourse on Natural Proportions makes extensive use of the Fibonacci series (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.) as a means of organizing pitch, rhythm, and structure. Its pitch set was generated by starting from a ‘home’ pitch and alternating up and down half-steps in accordance with the Fibonacci series. I found that I returned to the original pitch at 21, and cut off the pattern at that point, leaving me with a nine-note set. As a result, I decided to key the overall structure and some of the rhythmic structures to the numbers 13 and 21.

The piece is in rondo/variation form, in nine sections, always returning to the ‘Dialectic’ idea. It represents for me a struggle between systematization and intuition, in terms of both the musical material and in my own compositional methods.