Drift Dhikr

Posted 8 July 2005, 16:53

Description

Alternate title: Combination Study 2

Pitches start at the perfect fifth and simultaneously glide up to the octave and down to tonic, and an ever-changing chord emerges from the reinforced difference and summation tones. A slowly changing ambient landscape of relative consonance and dissonance.

Duration: 9 minutes 3 seconds.

Background & Technical Details

In an earlier piece, Combination Study 1, I made a Csound instrument that, given a two pitches, played a chord consisting of that interval plus six derived pitches: first, second, and third-order difference tones; first and second-order summation tones; and periodicity pitch. I have now extended this idea to intervals that are not fixed, but change over time in a glissando. As one or both of the primary tones glide from one pitch to another, combination tones are continuously computed and played, making a chord built from several simultaneous glissandi.

This piece has three layers:

  1. starting with the interval formed by a pitch at 1/1 and a pitch at 3/2, where the 3/2 glides down to 1/2 and the 1/1 remains constant (the conbination tones come from the moving pitch in relation to the fixed pitch);
  2. starting with the interval formed by a pitch at 1/1 and a pitch at 3/2, where the 3/2 glides to 2/1 and the 1/1 remains constant (the conbination tones come from the moving pitch in relation to the fixed pitch);
  3. starting with a unison — both pitches at 3/2 — where one pitch glides down to 1/1 and the other pitch glides up to 2/1 (the combination tones come from the two moving pitches in relation to each other).

Heard together, the three layers form a single chord that is constantly changing. The length of the piece is in a sense arbitrary — at shorter durations, you can hear the glissandi, but at longer duractions, the effect is much more subtle. I chose a nine minute duration for this rendition because I prefer the slower pace, but it’s short enough to make a reasonable download. If I ever put it on a CD or some other media, I will probably make it at least twice as long.

All glissandi follow exponential curves. Sine tones are the only sonic material, post-processed with some reverb.

The word drift in the title is a reference to La Monte Young’s Drift Studies. These were a series of drone pieces for sine tones that Young made in the days before he had access to the very stable sine wave oscillators he now uses; the tones would “drift” in and out of phase and pitch, hence the name.

Dhikr (Arabic for “remembrance”) is a Sufi spiritual practice that has the goal of maintaining in the participant an awareness of the presence of God. It is characterized by the rhythmic repetition (silent or aloud) of certain words or phrases, sometimes with instrumental accompaniment. This piece is not meant to sound like any kind of traditional dhikr, but it is possible to listen to it in a meditational context as a metaphor for the journey from oneness to Oneness, which corresponds to one of the aims of dhikr.

Drift Dhikr is dedicated to Lois V Vierk.

Copyright & Licensing

Copyright © 2005, Dave Seidel. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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  1. Jason Thomas    9 July 2005, 07:38    #

  2. Dave Seidel    9 July 2005, 14:52    #

  3. Miles Doubleday    31 October 2005, 19:51    #