Performed by Steve Kornicki, guitars
"Cycles of Fifths in Lines of Self-similarity" is a composition written in 2005 for five guitars and then expanded in 2012 to include a pre-recorded tape part. The piece uses a process of music composition wherein five twelve-tone rows constructed from perfect fifths are extended across five guitar lines for the 6 minute and 30 second duration. Each line utilizes its own individual rhythm, occurring for every pitch in a horizontal manner, thus creating a self-similar piece of music. The tape part consists of percussive guitar sounds that were electronically manipulated and rhythmically organized to create a drum-like and percussive backdrop.
The piece is based on the mathematical concept of self similarity (the property of having a substructure analagous or identical to an overall structure) and fractal geometry. Objects in the real world that can be defined as fractals (coastlines, sea shells, snow flakes, crystals, leaves and plants, etc.) all display aspects of self similarity. The musical processes utilized in this music can be seen as analogous to this principle because the work’s resulting textural structures consist of many instances of the same or similar material, ultimately defining the overall form. The self-similarity effect of the music may also create a "suspended time frame" experience for the listener.
In late 2004/early 2005 I developed a system of music composition that results from pre-determined structures displaying clear and concise musical processes. The compositions consist of contrapuntal textures of non-melodic lines built from sustained tones and repeated single note patterns with a tonal or modal harmonic foundation. Works composed in this manner are fundamentally about the processes and reveal an obvious interplay of harmonic motion through the layering of individual tones. Musical interest is created through texture and dynamics. Harmonic motion is given precedence in a manner that is actually heard and perceived by the listener because of the "harmony generating" nature of the compositional writing and process. The compositions avoid tertian harmony in favor of a new harmonic motion created from the stretching out of the tones over a long duration. This compositional method can provide a model for a new form of listening to music through the unity of the compositional processes and the auditory effects (i.e. the music is about the tones and harmonic motion).