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The Death of Don Juan - Additional Notes

Seven-tier hierarchy: The Scale of Number Seven Matrix
used in The Death of Don Juan

scaleofnumber7

Matrix of seven 7x7 pitch/rhythm grids used to create
the preliminary material for The Death of Don Juan
The patterns were programmed and orchestrated
on the Fairlight CMI computer at New York University
The resulting tape was used in combination with live performers

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The Scale of Number Seven was the first matrix I designed in 1981. It was derived from a correspondence table in the form of a 7x7 grid. I used this structure to order different musical patterns together. The patterns go together whether you read them from left to right or from top to bottom. I worked on The Scale of Number Seven on and off between 1981 and 1984. In 1984, I had access to a computer at NYU, preparing my Master's thesis, the Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument, and I started using The Scale of Number Seven matrix to program patterns into it. It worked wonderfully within the logic of the instrument. Once in the computer, the matrix generated a lot of the material for my first opera The Death of Don Juan.

scale1

 

This correspondence grid associates parts of the human body, planetary bodies, metals,
natural elements, animals, concepts, and the seven tones of the diatonic scale.

scale2

This matrix is a musical score, the first one of seven similar grids. Each square indicates a repetitive pattern with pitch and duration. The length of the pattern is left to be defined later in the process. There is a C drone at the bottom and the harmony is based on the diatonic scale. The scale is used both horizontally for melody and
rhythmic development and vertically for harmony. This way of working off of the same set of pitches melodically
and harmonically.