Title of Abstract

Exploring the Overtone Series through Contemporary Spectral Music

Submitting Student(s)

Taylor JonesFollow

Faculty Mentor

One WU mentor: Justin Isenhour, D.M.A.; isenhourj@winthrop.edu

College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department

Music

Faculty Mentor

Justin Isenhour, D.M.A.

Abstract

The overtone series is a natural musical concept that helps explain how certain pitch frequencies create microtones. Although these pitches are not being physically played by the performer, there are slight tones that are present as a result of the overtone series. Spectral music began to explore this theoretical concept in the mid-20th century. Gérard Grisey (1946-1989) was a pioneer of this genre and is known for his composition Partiels (1975). Partiels is composed by manipulating the overtone series throughout the orchestra; this all being based upon the E1 note on the trombone that is recurrently stated throughout the piece. The creativity regarding the overtone series that Gérard Grisey exhibited with his spectral works led James M. David (b.1978) to create a solo piece for trombone titled Partiels 2 (2016). Partiels 2 uses electronics to accompany the trombone. The electronics recreate the composition techniques that Grisey originally presented. Partiels 2 is not only meant to utilize the overtone series as spectral composers did; this piece is also an homage to titling practices used by horror movie directors in the 1980s. Horror films that did well at the box office would have sequels titled after them which would have no direct correlation to the original film. These sequel films, typically being low-budget, allowed for notoriety to be gained from the title instead of the content. Partiels 2 attempts to recreate this form of art with Grisey’s Partiels being the initial ‘block-buster hit’.

Keywords: overtone series, spectral music, trombone, Gérard Grisey, harmonic series, performance

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

MUSR 312 - Koehler

Performance Description

I will perform James M. David's musical composition Partiels 2 for trombone and live electronics. The piece in its entirety is 9 minutes long.

Special Needs

I will need an outlet nearby for my computer so I may perform the piece with live electronics.

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Exploring the Overtone Series through Contemporary Spectral Music

The overtone series is a natural musical concept that helps explain how certain pitch frequencies create microtones. Although these pitches are not being physically played by the performer, there are slight tones that are present as a result of the overtone series. Spectral music began to explore this theoretical concept in the mid-20th century. Gérard Grisey (1946-1989) was a pioneer of this genre and is known for his composition Partiels (1975). Partiels is composed by manipulating the overtone series throughout the orchestra; this all being based upon the E1 note on the trombone that is recurrently stated throughout the piece. The creativity regarding the overtone series that Gérard Grisey exhibited with his spectral works led James M. David (b.1978) to create a solo piece for trombone titled Partiels 2 (2016). Partiels 2 uses electronics to accompany the trombone. The electronics recreate the composition techniques that Grisey originally presented. Partiels 2 is not only meant to utilize the overtone series as spectral composers did; this piece is also an homage to titling practices used by horror movie directors in the 1980s. Horror films that did well at the box office would have sequels titled after them which would have no direct correlation to the original film. These sequel films, typically being low-budget, allowed for notoriety to be gained from the title instead of the content. Partiels 2 attempts to recreate this form of art with Grisey’s Partiels being the initial ‘block-buster hit’.

Keywords: overtone series, spectral music, trombone, Gérard Grisey, harmonic series, performance