C. Fox, ‘Iannis Xenakis: sites and sounds’http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/nov/17/iannisxenakis-huddersfield-contemporary-music (Accessed 21/11/11) 2 B. Varga, Three Questions For Sixty-Five Composers, (U.K 2011), 237 3 loc. cit.
the term “mass” in a sociological sense.”4 This marked a turning point between traditional (and more recently serialist) music and ‘formalised music’ as Xenakis rejected serialism by formatting his own structure of pitch, timbre, duration, tempo, dynamic and spatial setting. Xenakis’s methods of formalising music in Metastasis, although pulling away from serialism, still have elements of the serialistic style whereas over the years his compositional style matures and develops into something completely original. Therefore the style in which his later orchestral piece Tracees is written is characteristic of Xenakis’s own methods.
Metastasis illustrates a connection between mathematics and music, modelled upon the design of the Philips Pavilion architecture. In his 1954 article "Les Metastaseis," Xenakis describes the likeness as "the sonorities of the orchestra are building materials, like brick, stone and wood... the subtle structures of orchestral sound masses represent a reality that promises much."5 Xenakis took a visual approach to his composition and wrote the initial score as graphical notation, plotted upon the same graph paper used for designing buildings. The initial score was made up of crossing curves, outlining massed string glissandi with pitch dictated on the y-axis and time on the xaxis (see figure 1)6. (Figure 1)
C. Fox, ‘Iannis Xenakis: sites and sounds’http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/nov/17/iannisxenakis-huddersfield-contemporary-music (Accessed 21/11/11) 5 M. Zografos, ‘Iannis Xenakis: the aesthetics of his early works’ http://www.furious.com/perfect/xenakis.html (Accessed 21/11/11) 6 R.Difford, Iannis Xenakis-Composing with graphs, http://wag.myzen.co.uk/thepolytechnic/?p=239 (Accessed 1/12/11)
In the score it is clear that Metastasis is divided into four separate sections all contrasting in style (see figure 2)7. Unlike Metastasis, Tracees is split into many different sections separated by a range of different tempi. Towards the end of the...