Harrison, Bryn (2005) six symmetries for large ensemble (17 players). [Composition]

six symmetries, for large ensemble (17 players), has received two international performances, including by Klangforum Wien in
Vienna; and has been broadcast on Austrian Radio.

‘Interpretation and performance in Bryn Harrison’s être-temps’, co-authored with Professors Nicholas Cook and Eric Clarke and
performer Philip Thomas, Musicae Scientiae, vol.9, 2005, pp.31–74; ISSN 1029-8649.

The piece draws on extensive research into the work of the British painter Bridget Riley and in particular her curve paintings of
the mid-1970s. This research is based on finding ways of translating certain constructs from a kinetic visual art into music, and
works on the principle that, just as music (an essentially temporal art) is able to convey stasis through movement so, conversely,
visual art, being essentially a static medium, is able to convey movement on a motionless picture-plane. The piece considers
the ways in which certain processes adopted by Riley might be applied musically. The rhythmic contours of the piece are
derived directly from a series of geometric curves based on these paintings by tracing the constellation of points from specific
paintings into curvilinear grids, resulting in a series of quietly oscillating musical canons. The research considered the ways in
which adopting the constructs of a visual medium can have a direct bearing upon the approach to musical notation and how, in
turn, this can effect the consequent interpretation of the piece. The exploration of deriving spatial designs from the rhythmic
placement of points and the consequent effects upon musical interpretation is further outlined in the portfolio article. As in low
time patterns (output 1), the research questions addressed in six symmetries reflect a continuing interest into musical time (as
outlined in the composer’s PhD thesis), with the emphasis on structures that can appear inwardly static or outwardly mobile.

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