GEMS (3. Amber) Charles Norman Mason


by Charles Norman Mason
1. Rhodochrosite
2. Malachite
3. Amber
4. Diamond
5. Coral
6. Turquoise
7. Tolbachite

The title refers to the concept of sonic events that are separate from each other in the sense that one “movement” or gem does not lead to another; yet by virtue of the structure of each, relate to each other fundamentally. My goal was to create tiny pieces of electronic music, electroacoustic miniatures so to speak, and to work mostly with timbres from a non-developmental approach, in other words, gems of sound. To achieve cohesiveness and depth I decided to structure each gem by using its molecular structure as a guide. Timbres were designed for the various elements (Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, Calcium, Copper, Phosphorus, etc.).. Then, based on the molecular structure of each gem, the various sounds were combined. For example, to do Amber, the timbres for the elements Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen were combined. The result is that various pieces will share many of the same sounds, but will be different from each other in that no two Gems share the exact same elements. The duration of each gem is directly related to the hardness factor of each gem (i.e. diamond is the longest). Thus, while the beauty and sensuality of each sound is important for the listening experience and for defining the structure of each movement, Gems is more than simply ear candy. There are layers of structure imbedded in each that run through the entire composition.

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