Solar Ellipse Barry D. Truax

Solar Ellipse is a synthesized soundscape in the manner of my earlier “spatial environments,” Sonic Landscape No. 3 (1975) and Androgyny (1978). Like its mate, Wave Edge (1983), it is based on a particular type of spatial trajectory and related image. In Solar Ellipse, the trajectory is that of the epicycle, where a spinning sound image (revolving four times per second) travels around an elliptical “orbit” similar to planetary motion. The larger cycles of the eight component stereo tracks (four created with vocal formant-like timbres and four with noise band components) are in the proportions of 6, 8, and 9 which come together and repeat at the mid-point of the piece. However, the tracks are heard in all combinations of 2, 4, 6, and 8 at a time. All are present at the mid-point and only the highest and lowest in pitch at the beginning and end. The image is that of fire whose energy is simultaneously being dissipated yet, like the sun, appears to remain constant. Solar Ellipse is based on the I Ching hexagram, number 49, Revolution, comprised of the trigrams for fire and lake, the inverse of that of Wave Edge.

  • Year of composition: 1984
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Instrumentation: 4 computer-synthesized soundtracks
  • Software used: PODX system for sound synthesis and composition.
  • Duration of the submitted work: 10:50
  • Publisher: Cambridge Street Publishing
  • Production: Sonic Research Studio, Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, British Columbia). [1984-85].
  • Premiere: June 21, 1985, 15e Festival international de Bourges (Bourges, France)
  • Disc publication: Solar Ellipse is available on the Cambridge Street Records and Wergo CD Digital Soundscapes, CSR-CD 8701, as well as the Cambridge Street Records album Sequence of Earlier Heaven.

Linked project

  • CAP
    Allik, Amies, Appleton, Austin, Bach, Bartley, Belkin, Berg, Bonnier, Bouchard…
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