Color Theory

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Color Theory Trailer

Color theory as a metaphor transposed to music is most easily described in terms of timbre—the spectra—that make up an instrumental sound. I would not call myself a spectral composer because the forward moving and narrative potentials of music are my primary focus. However, my recent work has focused more and more on the manipulation of tonal spectra (overtones) to create new and different timbral objects that define the geography, topography and scenery through which the narrative journey passes.

It is precisely that notion of manipulation that interests me in the context of Sō Percussion and PRISM. The color of percussion instruments is marked by the immediate onset and quick decay of transient partials. These partials can be reinforced by the sustaining instruments of the sax quartet and make the colors of these instruments more vivid and palpable. The “distraction” caused by percussive attacks can also facilitate the replacement of realistic overtones with fantastical ones.

Steve Mackey