Abstract

Agnus Dei is built from slowly repeating cycles of celestial and musical events moving through inhuman time. It is a 12-minute glimpse into the harmonic structures present for 12 minutes one day, and a single movement of a suite that explore these cycles over a period of years.

Agnus Dei is a composition that came out of a process. My initial intent when building this process was to create an audible system that would allow me to hear the sound of planetary motion as I imagined it. I dreamed of hearing a sound that spoke of wandering stillness and wanted to comprehend some aspect of its ever-changing presence in the sky. I also wanted to hear the celestial overtone chord that was believed to be the sound of the heavens for centuries. When I derived it, I was struck that such a still sound might represent objects specifically referred to as ‘moving stars.’ I then set out to create a structure that retained the multiplicative structure of the historical immutable sonority but would be destined to a life of constant change.

Cyclical repetition and permutations of overtones expose small changes over time through intonation. Imperfect ‘Perfect’ intervals have been immediately noticeable to listeners throughout history. In this piece, sonorities were derived from the combination of ‘immutable’ Just-Intuned families and wandering ‘irrationally derived’ families to create harmonic structures that meander in and out of pure consonance.

As a work, this piece began as a system for reflective listening, but was then re-built to be a compositional tool. There was a version of the work for large choir and live score derived from the time and location of the performance, but this system was not popular. Then, a version was created where performers would listen to a sine wave and interpret it on their instrument. This representational system was also not popular. Eventually, I made a recording of it myself. It was awarded Honorable Mention in the International Alliance for Women in Music’s Pauline Oliveros Prize.
LanguageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2015

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Agnus Dei
Sound
Harmonics
Sonority
Imperfect
Stillness
Listeners
History
Performer
Heaven
Chord
Waves
Honourable Mention
Intonation
Alliances
Reflective
Consonance
Music
Hearing

Cite this

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title = "Agnus Dei",
abstract = "Agnus Dei is built from slowly repeating cycles of celestial and musical events moving through inhuman time. It is a 12-minute glimpse into the harmonic structures present for 12 minutes one day, and a single movement of a suite that explore these cycles over a period of years.Agnus Dei is a composition that came out of a process. My initial intent when building this process was to create an audible system that would allow me to hear the sound of planetary motion as I imagined it. I dreamed of hearing a sound that spoke of wandering stillness and wanted to comprehend some aspect of its ever-changing presence in the sky. I also wanted to hear the celestial overtone chord that was believed to be the sound of the heavens for centuries. When I derived it, I was struck that such a still sound might represent objects specifically referred to as ‘moving stars.’ I then set out to create a structure that retained the multiplicative structure of the historical immutable sonority but would be destined to a life of constant change. Cyclical repetition and permutations of overtones expose small changes over time through intonation. Imperfect ‘Perfect’ intervals have been immediately noticeable to listeners throughout history. In this piece, sonorities were derived from the combination of ‘immutable’ Just-Intuned families and wandering ‘irrationally derived’ families to create harmonic structures that meander in and out of pure consonance. As a work, this piece began as a system for reflective listening, but was then re-built to be a compositional tool. There was a version of the work for large choir and live score derived from the time and location of the performance, but this system was not popular. Then, a version was created where performers would listen to a sine wave and interpret it on their instrument. This representational system was also not popular. Eventually, I made a recording of it myself. It was awarded Honorable Mention in the International Alliance for Women in Music’s Pauline Oliveros Prize.",
author = "Kristina Wolfe",
year = "2015",
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Wolfe, K, Agnus Dei, 2015, Composition.
Agnus Dei. Wolfe, Kristina (Composer). 2015.

Research output: Non-textual formComposition

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