Javier Alejandro Garavaglia

Spectral colours for Ensemble and Stereo Tape (1997 – revised 2007)

Genre: Instrumental and Tape

Duration: ca. 11:30 minutes


Description of the work:

The piece is conceived only with the notes C, D, and B natural and their first 13 overtones. These overtones are transported to a scale from the lowest to the highest with the piece starting in the middle (note D4) and then going constantly and simultaneously upwards and downwards from that point. The intervals of the scale (considering the semitone as the counting unit) result in the following numbers: 11 (major 7th), 1 (minor second), 0.8 (a lower minor second), etc. The proportions ruling the entire work (i.e. form, rhythms, etc.) are also derived from the relationship of the notes of the scale.


The number 14 has also an important meaning e.g.: 14 overtones; 14 instruments; once the first 14 notes of the scale have been played, there are always 14 tones for each chord.


The tape part was produced also with the 3 afore-mentioned notes,  played and recorded "sul ponticello" on a viola and further transposed and treated with several filter chains and reverb (via Csound), so that the "overtone quality" of the "sul ponticello" notes could be maintained and intensified also for lower transpositions.


Because the instrumentation constantly changes, new "colours" are produced by the ensemble, playing the always different "spectral colours".


Technical data:

·      ENSEMBLE with 14 instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet in B, bass- clarinet in B (with low B), trumpet in C, horn, trombone, 1x percussion (see details on the score), piano, 2x violins, viola, cello, double-bass.


o   Stereo tape (CD) with quadraphonic projection (1997 Version)

o   5.1 Surround sound via MAX software (2007 Version)

·      1x microphone for the percussion.

·      Time Code: SMPTE display visible to the conductor (e.g. from MAX).