Five-Leaf Rose

Five-Leaf Rose (1980) / Redux (2008) --- duration: 10’

Listen: Five-Leaf Rose-Stereo.mp3, Five-Leaf Rose-Stereo.aiff
Download: Five-Leaf

Five-Leaf Rose was composed in 1980 and premiered at the 1980 International Computer Music Conference. The software for creating the piece consisted of two completely custom packages written in FORTRAN---one for the algorithmic composition and one for the sound synthesis. In 2008, I reconstructed the piece by translating the original FORTRAN programs into code for SuperCollider. The piece was originally conceived for 4-channels (best technology at the time) and so the 2008 version also upgraded the spatialization to 8 channels. Unlike most pieces, the spatial motion in Five-Leaf Rose is largely front to back. In the stereo version offered here, the front-back motion has been remapped to left-right.

Five-Leaf Rose is organized in a unique way. Everything about the piece is based on a geometric figure---the five-leaf rose. The geometric figure provides a model by which the five sections have similar formal properties. All of the notes in the piece are arranged along the lines of this figure. The audience moves through the figure as the piece unfolds and the positions of the notes are associated with literal locations in space. There are six copies of every note and these run ahead and behind giving literal interpretation to the common metaphor that the future is ahead of us and the past is behind. A 1982 Computer Music Journal article describing the piece can be found here.

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