Structural Analysis

by Collin Sherman

Released January 24, 2015
Released January 24, 2015

A-Levels I begins by layering every note in the A Aeolian scale, one note at a time, spread out over two octaves. Once all notes have been layered, the resulting sound is relatively dissonant. The piece then progresses by changing the filters applied to the total sum every minute. With each change in the filter, the listener becomes adjusted to the dissonance of the sound, and it even appears to grow more consonant. The filers then eventually begin to break down the cluster of notes, highlighting, at random, different elements of the whole. This gives the piece a kind of momentum, albeit and randomly generated one.

A-Levels II continues with the entire layer of the whole A Aeolian scale, but uses this as the basis for real-time electronic effects manipulation.


A-Randomizer I consists of randomly generated notes within specific parameters. The stereo field is totally separated, with no overlap between the left and right speakers. Each speaker plays three notes at a time, one note in each of three octaves. The note selected to be played in each of the three octaves will be one of the first, third, fifth, sixth, or seventh notes of the A Aeolian scale. In addition, the length of the notes can vary, so that the note played will be either four, six, eight, or ten seconds long.

Each octave was set up as a separate system, for a total of six systems playing simultaneously (three octaves in each speaker). Each system contains 20 pieces (five possible notes, each played at four possible lengths), except for the highest octave, which also has an additional A at the high end, meaning that there are 24 pieces in the high octave system. Thus, a total of 128 pieces were recorded separately to be used for the total system.

A-Randomizer II is similar, except that the lengths of the notes has been cut in half (so that the notes will be either two, three, four, or five seconds long), and each notes begins with a beat. The systems were then processed through various effects. Whereas A-Randomizer I presents the “raw” tones, A-Randomizer II offers a softened, almost “dripping” quality to the notes.