Because Patterns

for prepared piano duo

Commissioned by the Ray-Kallay Duo
Premiered October 23rd, 2015, at Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Pasadena, CA


Much of the musical material in Because Patterns is derived from a particular cellular automaton first shown to me by mathematician and artist Gwen Fisher. Using a set of simple rules, the content of each measure determines the content of the next measure. One interesting thing about this particular rule is that the quality of the “seed” measure will tend to be similar in character to the quality of the subsequent measure. In other words, simple patterns tend to generate more simple patterns, complex patterns will generate more complex patterns, random-seeming patterns will generate more random-seeming patterns, symmetrical patterns will generate more symmetrical patterns, etc.

Occasionally I tweaked the content of these patterns, and eventually the proliferation of these “glitches” became perceptible as a kind of pattern in its own right. The result is a kind of hybrid between a human-made artifact, a machine-made product, and a natural process.


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