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Pythagoras' Wake

by Matt Rogalsky

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Experiments towards soundtrack material for a friend's experimental film which in part obsesses over the number of exclamation marks in James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake". He gave me a list of the number of exclamation marks per page (for all 344 pages) and that is what creates the groupings of note-events here. There are three algorithmic systems going in parallel, each with their own random variations, and each one is moving through the 344 pages sequentially - little melodies with pauses in between.

The tuning systems used follow on the work of my former composition teacher Martin Bartlett, deriving pitchsets from the Table of Pythagoras (a table of all integer ratios) by isolating limited rectangular areas of the Table. The selections I am using are limited to 5 and below, so the ratios are low-number and quite harmonious. They change frequently. In addition to these melodies in just intonation, there are delays which are also constantly being modified, creating commentary and conversation amongst the three layers. The delay-processed tones depart wildly from just intonation though.


released July 7, 2017


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Matt Rogalsky Kingston, Ontario

Matt Rogalsky is a sound-based artist who teaches at Queen's University.

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