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Society for Music Theory

Pitch/Register in the Music of Edgard Varèse


Author(s): Jonathan W. Bernard
Source: Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 3 (Spring, 1981), pp. 1-25
Published by: on behalf of the Society for Music Theory
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Pitch/Registerin the Music of
Edgard Varese

Jonathan W. Bernard

By its verydefinitionanalysisis sterile.To explainby meansof it is to recognition as a majorfigure. The numberof composers who
decompose,to mutilatethe spiritof a work.l mention Varese as a significantformativeinfluence upon their
own work must be nearly legion by now. Often cited, for
This quotationhardly seems a promisingbeginning to what example, are his pioneering efforts in the alterationof tape-
is, after all, an analytical study. In fact, there would be little recordedsounds, his path-breakingachievementswith percus-
reasonto cite it, were it not for the fact thatthe wordsareEdgard sion, and his radically different uses of sonority in general.
Varese's own. There is a good deal of vehemence in these Muchof this influencemay well have been absorbedintuitively.
words- muchof it, we may gather,directedagainstthe studyof Nonetheless, the specific characteristicsof Varese's music,
music as it was pursuedin the academicinstitutionsof Varese's which only detailed analysis can reveal, must also have had
student days. Beyond that, however, the passage above somethingto do with the extent of his impactupon other com-
bespeaksan attitudeaboutmusicalcomposition:a processthatis posers. If these characteristicscan be defined, they surelywould
the business of the composer and no one else. go a long way towardexplaining what Varese means, and has
Given Varese's condemnationof analysis-by implication, meant, to contemporarymusic.
of anyone's music-is there any point in attemptingto analyze As for his views on musical education, we shouldremember
his own music, which may have been designed, among other thatVarese's experiencesas a studentin the ParisConservatory
things, to foil such attempts?Do we even have any right at all, had left him with an almost entirely negative impression of
morally speaking, to investigate?As a matterof fact, there are pedagogy. To his mind, apparently,the only people likely to be
valid reasons for proceedingwith this study. Varese has had a interestedin analysis would be pedantsso preoccupiedwith the
considerable, if somewhat vaguely defined, impact upon com- music of the past that they would be unableto accept anything
position over the past quarter-centuryor so-in other words, new. In this respect, of course, times have changed, and analy-
dating from about the time when he began to receive general sis is no longer, or at least not often, used as a weapon against
innovation. In fact, as educated musicians many of us have
lEdgardVarese, "Jeroms'en va-t'en guerre," in TheSackbut,4 (December, become confidentof the powerof theoreticalinquiry,not only to
1923), 147. provideorderlyexplanationsof all sortsof evolutionsin musical

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2 MusicTheorySpectrum

practice, no matter how amazing, but also to remain impartial The Composer Speaks
regarding the innate worth of such evolutions. Nevertheless, Embodied in Varese's writings and other recorded remarks is
those whose choose to ignore Varese's warning had better be
a way of thinking about musical structure which is at once highly
prepared for a certain amount of difficulty. Varese had no
interest in making things easy for anyone. original and highly consistent. The following passage is charac-
As others have noted, much of the difficulty with analysis of teristic; it is also particularly revealing:
Varese's music stems from the apparent unsuitability to the task, Whennew instrumentswill allow me to writemusic as I conceive it, the
in whole or in part, of known theoretical systems. This is movement of sound-masses, of shifting planes, will be clearly per-
indicated, though by no means proved, by Var&se's reputation ceived, taking the place of linear counterpoint.When these sound-
as a solitary figure who belonged to no identifiable school. In his masses collide the phenomenaof penetrationor repulsionwill seem to
occur. Certaintransmutationstakingplace on certainplanes will seem
lectures and writings, in fact, he was often far more specific
to be projectedonto other planes, moving at different speeds and at
about what he did not do, compositionally speaking, than what
differentangles. . . . In the moving masses you would be conscious of
he did. Dismissing the neoclassicists, for example, as men their transmutationswhen they pass over different layers, when they
writing "in the manner of another century," he called their penetratecertainopacities, or are dilated in certain rarefactions.4
work "the result of culture" and declared that "desirable and
comfortable as culture may be, an artist should not lie down in Varese's visual imagery has always been susceptible to interpre-
it."2 The dodecaphonists, on the other end of the spectrum, tation as merely a rather involved metaphor. However, his
fared no better: Varese compared this movement to "hardening insistence upon this imagery suggests that the events described
of the arteries." Although he was careful to state that he re- in such geometrical detail are in fact taking place literally in the
music. "Spatial music" and "music in space" are terms used
spected the twelve-tone discipline and its adherents, Varese
evidently found it to be of only temporary usefulness: an artifi- by Varese over and over again; indeed, the single unifying
cial methodology designed principally to free composers from principle of Varese's music is the manipulation of materials with
reference to a spatial framework.
past (tonal) biases.3
To what extent is physical space translated into musical
Opposed to systems and "isms" of all sorts, Varese was
understandably reluctant to describe his own approach in any space? More specifically, which attributes of physical space are
detail; no doubt he feared that someone would proceed to bind it employed in this translation? Varese provides a partial answer in
in rules. From time to time, however, he did talk about his a comparison between himself and his predecessors:
music. To be sure, he would not analyze. In fact, much of what The new composershave not abandonedmelody . . . thereis a distinct
he had to say on the subject was couched in rather enigmatic melodic line runningthroughtheirwork. . . . But the line in ourcase is
terms. Yet this material affords many substantial clues to prin- often vertical and not horizontal.5
ciples of organization. It is here that we must begin.
of Sound,"in ElliotSchwartz
2Var6se,"TheLiberation andBarneyChilds,
ed., ContemporaryComposers on ContemporaryMusic (New York: Holt,
Rinehart& Winston, 1967), p. 202.
3GuntherSchuller, "Conversationwith Varese," in Benjamin Boretz and 4"The Liberationof Sound," p. 197.
Edward T. Cone, ed., Perspectives on American Composers (New York: 5Varesecited in Louise Varese, Varese:A Looking-GlassDiary (New York:
Norton, 1971), p. 35. Norton, 1972), p. 211.

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Pitch/Registerin Varese 3

This rather oddly phrased statement is actually quite important, Varese criticizes in the work of Cage and others ("so accidental
for it expresses a primary concern on Varese's part with the that I can't see the necessity for a composer!") .9 Further, even in
vertical dimension. That this aspect of his work was easily and his early works Varese occupies himself with
generally understood is borne out by review columns in the a way to project in music . . . how one element pushing on the other
popular press of the time, particularly in the 1920s. Struck by stabilizes the total structure,thus using the materialelements at the
the newness of what they heard, and searching for descriptive same time in opposition to and in supportof one another.10
terminology appropriate to it, the critics found such phrases as
"blocks of sound," "skyscraper chords," and "the geometry In his remarks about his work Deserts, Varese becomes
of sound."6 We understand them immediately, for in Varese clearer about just how this might be accomplished:
there is almost nothing resembling melody or line, in the tradi- The work progresses in opposing planes and volumes. Movement is
tional senses of these words. createdby the exactly calculatedintensities and tensions which func-
As a first step beyond intuitive judgments toward solid theo- tion in oppositionto one another;the term "intensity" referringto the
retical ground, we may make the following basic assumption: if desiredacousticalresult, the word "tension" to the size of the interval
the vertical dimension is to serve as the primary scale of refer- employed.11
ence, then the partitioning of vertically defined space will take There is no question that the words "exactly calculated" are of
on crucial significance. Indeed, Varese says that "taking the considerable significance. But in what sense are they meant?
sonorous elements as a whole, there are several possibilities of
The composer continues, again referring to Deserts:
subdivision with relation to the whole: into other masses, other
volumes, other planes."7 With these possibilities of subdivi- Although the intervals between the pitches determine the ever-
sion, Varese apparently seeks the result that he describes vari- changingandcontrastedvolumes andplanes, they arenot based on any
fixed set of intervalssuch as a scale, or series, or any existing principle
ously as "the sensation of non-blending" or "the movement of
of musical measurement.They are decided by the exigencies of this
unrelated sound-masses."8 Clearly, however, mere identifica-
tion of component portions of the whole would not in itself particularwork.12
constitute much of an analysis. Exactly to what extent are these What Varese seems to be describing is a self-generating tech-
component masses unrelated? Surely not completely so, for nique of composition in which order is not imposed externally
complete separation would imply a technique of random juxta- but grows in some fashion from within. Varese found that the
position and combination, precisely the sort of approach which "exigencies" of a work were best expressed in the form of an
analogy to the process of crystallization. Crystal form, he
explains (quoting the words of mineralogist Nathaniel Arbi-
6PaulRosenfeld was particularlyfond of such images. See, for example, the
chapteron Varese in An Hour with AmericanMusic (Philadelphia:Lippincott,
1929), pp. 160-179.
7,'Prenanten masse les 6elments sonores, il y a des possibilit6s de subdivi- 9"Conversationwith Var6se," p. 39.
sion parrapporta cette masse:celle-ci se divisanten d'autresmasses, en d'autres 10"Conversationwith Varese," p. 36.
volumes, en d'autres plans." Var&se,in "La m6canisationde la musique" 11Varesequoted in FernandOuellette, Edgard Varese (New York: Orion,
(Bifur, 1930), p. 126. 1968), p. 183.
8' The Liberationof Sound," p. 197; Varese, "Le destinde la musiqueest de 12Varesequoted in HenryCowell, "CurrentChronicle" [review of the pre-
conqu6rirla libert6," in Liberte 59 (1959), 13. miere of Deserts], in Musical Quarterly, 41 (July, 1955), 372.

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4 MusicTheorySpectrum

ter), "is characterized by both a definite form and a definite the fact that "form is a result-the result of a process"17 pro-
internal structure." This internal structure originates in "the duces the striking conclusion that unity and continuity in the
smallest grouping of the atoms that has the order and composi- works of Varese spring at least as much from the consistent
tion of the substance" and, extended into space, results in the nature of the manipulative processes applied to sound materials
external form. Varese shows special interest in the fact that "in as from any overall consistency in the structure of the sound-
spite of the relatively limited variety of internal structures, the masses themselves.
external forms of crystals are limitless."13 Placing process on an equal footing with result suggests that
The analogy to crystallization, then, emphasizes growth the music unfolds within a kind of continuum of perpetual
through orderly expansion of a bare minimum of an idea, cell- change. From some points of view such methods no doubt invite
like in nature. This may sound, in twentieth-century context, incoherent results, but Varese clearly does not agree:
suspiciously traditional. One might well wonder whether I thinkof musicalspaceas open ratherthanbounded,which is why . . .
"crystallization" is simply synonymous with the generative cell I want simply to projecta sound, a musical thought, to initiateit, and
models of analysis propounded by George Perle and others.14 then to let it take its own course. I do not want an a prioricontrolof all
Other statements by Varese, however, effectively deny this its aspects.18
possibility:
Logically, then, the exact repetition of any formation heard
Thereis an idea, the basis of an internalstructure,expandedor split into earlier in a work would be rather unlikely. In fact, instances of
different shapes or groups of sound constantly changing in shape, this is virtually non-existent. Near-exact repetition, however, is
direction, and speed, attractedand repulsed by various forces. The an important aspect of process. This kind of event, which
form of the work is the consequence of this interaction.15
involves reference to some previous material, bears a certain
In other words, the initial idea is not necessarily anything more resemblance to the more traditional process of motivic unity and
than a point of departure. The "basis of internal structure," development, and might seem to contradict the uni-directional
expanded into other configurations which in turn produce nature of conditions of constant change. However, according to
others, may not appear more often than, or even stand in any Varese, "if the themes reappear, they always occupy a distinct
direct, easily discernible relation to, other sound-events that function in a new medium."19
come into existence in the course of a work. In fact, having
appeared once, the initial event may never be heard again. The Theory Itself
The formal implications of this technique are revolutionary
In a truly spatial context-an approximation of Varese's
indeed. Since for Varese the form of a work is the consequence
of the interaction and expansion of its materials, his statement working frame of reference-criteria of absolute size and dis-
tance, in the vertical sense, must form the basis of structure.
that "form and content are one" follows inevitably.16 Further,

13"The Liberationof Sound," p. 203. 17"The Liberationof Sound," p. 203.


14SeeGeorgePerle,Serial CompositionandAtonality, fourthedition(Berke- 18"Conversationwith Varese," p. 39.
ley: University of CaliforniaPress, 1977). 19Varesequoted by J. Andre, "Edgar Varese y la musica de vanguardia,"
15"The Liberationof Sound," p. 203. translated by David R. Bloch in "The Music of Edgard Varese" (Ph.D.
16"The Liberationof Sound," p. 203. dissertation, University of Washington, 1973), p. 260.

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Pitch/Registerin Varese 5

Consistent application of such criteria has certain inescapable The properties of Varese's music revealed by the analogy to
effects. First, inversional equivalence cannot exist, for in a crystallization indicate a means of describing activity within this
framework based on absolute interval sizes a third, for example, sound-space. The fact that a "continuum of change" represents
obviously will not serve the same function as a sixth. Second, unity means that the most important analytical considerations,
octave equivalence must be ruled out as well, for events in one in most situations, will be point-to-point connections. Because
octave occur in a place fundamentally different from events in of the special nature of Varese's procedures, immediate succes-
any other octave. Thus the property of pitch class disappears. sion often reveals the strongest relationships between musical
The designation "Ct," for example, can have no meaning formations. Each new formation must result in some fashion
unless its octave location is identified. In Example la the two from what has preceded it, in turn to be manipulated to produce
intervals shown are spatially equivalent, but the two in lb are the next formation. The theorist must define significant kinds of
not. In Ic the two groups of pitches shown are not spatially evolution and transformation in some exclusive way. He must
equivalent, even though both are instances of pc set 3-2. The ask: how is each new development special-that is, not random?
term "pitch/registral,"' then, will refer to entities in which pitch And how is the process involved consistent with other transfor-
content and its registral disposition are taken to define, as one, mations at other points? For this purpose we will have recourse
the nature of that entity. Under these conditions, the "equal- to several different kinds of operations, all of which exhibit the
tempered" system serves simply as a neutral calibration of that general property of symmetry.
portion of the frequency spectrum (seven octaves plus) which is On the simplest level, symmetry can describe individual
available to conventional instruments. It provides a uniform formations.21 In Example 2a, E4 is symmetrically placed with
measure of absolute interval size, of distance between upper and respect to outer pitches C$4 and G4 because it is precisely
lower boundaries of sound-masses.20

Example 1 Example 2

a) b)J
^ 1
,alj"? 'IbI hoj CcbJ 1j 118 11
trl W^19

instruments.("La m6canisationde la musique," p. 123, p. 126) Here, the


20Varese, in fact, had no particularattachmentto the temperedsystem, and implication is clearly that a larger sound-space, in the vertical sense, allows
one of his hopes for the futureof music was thatnew meansof soundproduction greaterfreedom to the composer.
would not only providemoreextensive timbralpossibilities but would also free 21From here on, a system of pitch/registral reference is adopted, which
the composerfromthe "arbitraryrules" resultingfromthe inflexible division of consists of the pitch name followed by a superior number denoting octave
sound-spaceinto semitones. He also speculatedaboutthe possibility of extend- location. Octavesarenumberedfrom 1 (lowest C on the piano)to 8, the highest.
ing the available frequency range to the limits of human perception, adding Numbering of pitches begins with C in each octave: for example, B3 is a
perhaps two octaves above the highest pitch obtainable with conventional semitone below C4. Pitches lower than C1 bear the number0.

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6 MusicTheorySpectrum

equidistantfromboth. In Example2b, middlepitchesG4and B4 Example 4. Integrales, m. 69


are symmetricallyplaced with respectto C#4and F5becausethe
distance from C#4 to G4, six half steps, is equal to the distance
from B4to F5. Fromthese relativelyuncomplicatedexamples, it a) b)
is clearthateitherone or two pitchesmay comprisethe centerof tpts.
i. _ 4. -.

a symmetricalformation. horn - ,.
?v58j '
When a largernumberof pitches is involved, morepossibili-
ties exist. In Example 3a, the order of intervals from top to ISg: 7 tWt t .
tbn. -9-
bottomis the same as frombottomto top. The bracketshows the ..ff
centerof the formation.This kind of symmetryis termedmirror
type. Parallel symmetry, on the other hand, exists when the
sonorityin questionmay be divided into two (or more) groups,
tbns.
i
each of which displays the same intervallicorderfrom lowest to
highest pitch. In Example 3b, the parallelsymmetryof the two
groupsis shown by the brackets.These two types of symmetry reasons: (1) the formation may not include everything that is
may also operate simultaneously. In Example 4, mirrorsym- happening in its particularlocation; (2) the formation may
metry accounts for the configurationextractedin (a), parallel encompass two or more events which are in fact separateenti-
symmetryfor the extractionin (b). ties, not necessarilylinkedby any one expressionof relation;(3)
the formation may be transient, and thus accounted for by
movement which occurs on a level distinct from that of imme-
Example3 diate succession. What was said earlier about point-to-point
connections still holds; however, Varese occasionally juxta-
poses unrelatedevents deliberatelyin order to make more ap-
parentcertaintransformationstakingplace over a time-spanof
AS j;=. greaterlength. Examplesof these possibilitieswill appearin due
nt 3
L9.
course.
Partialsymmetry, where it occurs, also has importantfunc-
a) Deserts, mm. 21-22 tions. In Example5, it is readily apparentthatthe lower half of
b) Integrales,m. 36 the structuredoes not duplicate the spacing of the upper half.
woodwinds
However, the middle segment, extending from C4 to F5, in-
cludes pitches Eb4and D5, which divide it into the pattern[3]
[11][3].22The remainingsegments of the chord, A1-C4 below
This kind of all-inclusive symmetry does not, of course,
characterizeevery collection of pitches in the music of Varese.
Frequently,a given formationwill exhibitno obvious properties 22Numbers in brackets refer to interval sizes in semitones. A series of
of symmetry in itself. This might be so for any one of three bracketednumbersalways refersto a vertical arrangementof adjacentintervals.

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Pitch/Registerin Varbse 7

Example 5. Integrales, m. 78 low brass, A'-B2; middle and high brass, C4-D5;and wood-
winds, F5-Gt7.Now, one resultof the importanceof timbrefor
Varese is that the lowest and highest pitches of timbral
piccs.
groupings can serve, in the spatial sense, as demarcators.As
ES cl.
__1#1AX
- with other means of distinguishingmasses from one another,
B, cl.
ob.
D tpt.
I -R---
~IFI
A__A-
these boundariesof timbralareastakeon a certainprominencein
the texture. Thus, in the present example, the span A1-C4in-
cludes all low brassand the distancebetweenthemandthe horn,
C tpt. at C4, which is the lower edge of the middle/high brass. The
horn
span F5-G$7indicates the boundariesof the woodwind area.
tbns.
X LK - Finally, another aspect of symmetry here lies in the groups
bO A1-Bbl-B2and the analogously placed Gb6-G6-Gt7.These two
segmentsproducea combinationof mirrorandparallelsymme-
try: mirror because the two groups are equidistantfrom the
and F5-Gt7above, areequal in size. Furtherexaminationof this center of the entire chord;parallelbecause their internalstruc-
example reveals otherforces at work as well, operatingtogether tures maintainthe same orderingof adjacentintervals, [1][13],
with intervallicsymmetries.These forces come underthe head- from bottom to top.
ing of timbraldifferentiation.Varese often spoke of the impor- Dynamics may act in conjunctionwith timbreto emphasize
tant function that timbre served in his work. We turn to his the symmetricalcharacterof individualformations.In Example
wordsonce again, rememberingthateven thoughat the time the
6, a vertical structureis presentedwhich, viewed as a whole,
means for fully realizing his goals were not yet available, still does not appearsymmetrical. However, the lower part of the
he found some of his ideas at least partiallyapplicableto existing
structure, Ebl-E2, is clearly set apart from the rest. This is
musical media:
broughtaboutby meansof dynamicandtimbralcontrast,for Ebl
Theroleof timbrewouldbecompletelychangedfrombeingincidental, andE2aremarkedpp, while the otherpitchesareall emphasized
anecdotal,sensual,orpicturesque; it wouldbecomeanagentof delin- in some way. That is, either they are already registrally and
eation,likethedifferentcolors on a mapseparatingdifferentareas,and timbrallyprominent(as is C#6, for example), or they are ac-
anintegralpartof form.Thesezoneswouldbe feltas isolated... 23 cented, fp, at theirentrances.The upperpartof the structurein
Timbre,then, functionsas a partitioningdevice. In this role it is Example 6 is symmetrical. Notice too that the symmetry is
often, inevitably, tied to registralplacement,but this is far from reinforced by timbral distribution:two pairs of instruments
always being so. Registraloverlap often poses analyticalprob- (trumpets and flutes) interlock, while a third pair, clarinets,
lems which only timbraldifferentiationcan resolve. In Example bracketsthem. Finally, the lowest of these notes, Gt2, is em-
5, timbre helps divide the sonority into groups (delineated by phasized over the others by repetition, instrumentation,and
brackets). The instrumentalgroups comprising this chord are: variationin loudness, and can thus be said to serve as a delimit-
ing lower boundary,furtherisolating Ebl and E2 from the sym-
metry above.
23"The Liberation of Sound," p. 197. So far, we have seen structureswhich, consideredby them-

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8 Music Theory Spectrum

Example6. Diserts, mm. 171-74 (percussionof indefinitepitch omit-


ted)

171 172
Js66
A 174 T.t-D;, .,
i QGL '^ e , _ I
_ _

f I., n. rPf Fis.


=.- : (p__- -

appp - 1- --- P
E 3 L
~p~-ff _ Take _ _
) E'cl.
I- p
Bas TakeBJcl.
Baa. cl w---
3 __-__--
ns. 4..PP
El cl. -
- 7 A-
_Ins. -- _ Hns. fl. *_+
--- --_ --- .
tJLj tpt. I
- A
fl.2
Mule tpt. 2
Tpts. ' --- ---_
basscl. _ t
Tpts. _ __ u }
timp.
sI upp .
'
Tbns. . tubasl - Li
p'- -
Y Ibs. P -
'- '
Tbnb.
,, ~p- ---- -

Pf. V. . V
l.v. l.v.
.: -i - . _ - - _
,4-D_ ;tv- .

- *T.- s o ra'il. TakeI


r??.?'-i ---h?-->^ J>^i
Timp. - j JJ Jmj LiJ J it
?imp..~ * mot j
ffSf=. !
rm.I '4 - -I-e.1 I f 0 MP~I
f serco

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/

Pitch/Registerin Varbse 9

selves, display various types of symmetry. All of these struc- conceptionto the opticalfield andvisualizethe changingprojectionof a
tures, however, also function in some sort of context. A logical geometricalfigure on a plane, with both figure and plane moving in
extension of the principle of symmetry would describe these space, but each with its own arbitraryandvaryingspeeds of translation
contexts as instances of process. Example 7 illustrates one kind and rotation.25
of operation. Here, the spatial configuration in mm. 6-7 is In this extract from an interview, Varese considers, besides the
duplicated in mm. 8-9. This kind of transference of structure to a result of projecting a figure onto a plane, the variety of images
new pitch/registral level will be referred to as projection. A
brought about by motion imparted to both objects. Such variety
slightly more complicated instance of projection is shown in would seem particularly characteristic of passages in his music
Example 8. The configuration given in the timpani at m. 29 is in which the pitch content remains fixed while the sound-masses
duplicated, [14] higher, in the brass at m. 30. It should be that these pitches define are juxtaposed, through changes in
mentioned that this timpani sonority is itself a projection of a
segment of the chord in mm. 21-22, reproduced above in Ex-
ample 3a.
The use of the term projection in this sense is meant to
approximate, at least, the meaning that Varese assigns to it. Example 8. Deserts, mm. 29-30, brass and timpani
Varese defines projection as
the feeling thatsoundis leaving us with no hope of being reflectedback,
a feeling akinto thatarousedby beamsof light sent forthby a powerful brass
searchlight. ... .24
hard
MI|_____
sticlks __ X-~> ~-- -- I/,
hardsticks - 3 // /
Of his work Integrales in particular, he says, further: _ >0 I.
timp.
__ o .711 ; -
Intigrales was conceived for spatialprojection.I plannedit for certain
acousticalmedia that were not then in existence, but thatI knew could f 3 1ff
be builtand would be availablesooner or later. . . Let us transferthis

Example 7. Density 21.5, mm. 6-9

r31 _b 3
r-----, 3'---~,
. , JrU-V3----?
fsubito ~~~~6,
_ _

25Varesequoted in FredericWaldman,"EdgardVarese:An Appreciation,"


24"The Liberationof Sound," p. 197. in Juilliard Review (fall, 1954), p. 9.

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10 MusicTheorySpectrum

dynamics and rhythmicpatterns,in a series of distinctlydiffer- potentialfor confusion with inversionin the tonal sense, where
ent ways.26 it is meant as a function of octave complementation.
Partial projection is also a possibility. In Example 9, the In Example 11a, the boundaryinterval [11] in the trumpets
sustainednotes C5(trumpet),Ct6 (oboe), andD7 (piccolo) form and horn is duplicatedat the entranceof the trombones. The
the configuration[13][13] in mm. 177-81. This is duplicated, internal structure, however, is reversed-as if the trichord,
[10] lower, in m. 185 by D4 and Eb5in the clarinetand E6in the simultaneouswith its projection, had been turned 180 degrees
piccolo. However, the B6 of mm. 177-81 has no correspondent within the "plane" of the music. In Example 12, rotation is
in m. 185; hence the projection is only partial. In general, applied to a sonority of considerabletemporaland spatial ex-
Varese employs partialprojectionfar more often than literal, panse. The example shows only the few measuresin which the
complete duplication,probablybecause the process of projec- rotationoccurs;however, the first sonorityshown in the reduc-
tion usually overlaps with other processes which bring about, tion below the score is actually prolonged from m. 85 to this
simultaneously, other changes in the material. point. Notice thata changein instrumentationoccurs simultane-
Always, however, whateveris to be regardedas a productof ously with the reversal of the vertical order of intervals.
projectionmustpreservesome characteristicof its source. In the Example 1lb, which is a continuationof 1la, illustratesthe
hypothetical Example 10, for example, there would be little symmetricalprocess henceforthto be designatedas expansion.
point in calling group (b) a projectionof (a). Similarmotion is Note that, reckoningfrom the outer edges of the first trichord
not enough. Thereis no intervalof projection,because D5-A5is (trumpetsand horn), the distance Bb4-C3 is the same as the
not the same size as C3-F3.As analyticalconstructs,symmetri- distance A5-G7. Pitches C3 and G7 are both outer boundaries;
cal processes will not yield particularlyuseful informationif they represent,respectively, the lowest and highest points at-
they are not applied consistently with exactitude. tainedin this particularpassage. The fact thatD3, not C3, is the
Often used in conjunctionwith projection,rotation is closely lowest point in the final sonority of m. 153 does not interfere
relatedto mirrorsymmetry.The differencebetween the two is with this symmetry, which depends upon total space occupied
thatin the case of rotationa causal relationshipis involved. The over a period of several measures. Varese's methods are ex-
transformationdescribedby this term is sometimes called "in- tremely flexible. Orderin his music is not restrictedto fixed
"
version, meantin the literalsense- as, for example, to denote situations, but insteadincorporatesprovisionsfor furtherprog-
the inversionof a twelve-noterow withrespectto the primeform ress into the resultsof a previousoperation,as is the case here.
beginning on the same pitch. Use of the term rotation avoids Anotherexample of expansionserves to demonstratefurther
this flexibility of application. In Example 13, measures 46
through53 (with pickup)are bounded,temporallyspeaking,by
26Such events may representanotherlevel of structure.These passages of a brief silence and an abruptchange in instrumentation,before
"static continuity," to use Schuller'sterm, do not, however, seem materiallyto and afterrespectively. The first event in this clearly delineated
affect the ongoing continuumof change in pitch/registralstructure.It is true, in segment fills a space of [7], which is subsequentlyand rapidly
Integrales as well as in other works, that as a rule such passages immediately
enlarged. The interrelationsand interactionsbetween compo-
precedeothers characterizedby an extremely rapidrateof pitch change. How-
nent elements are ratherintricateand are not of concern to us
ever, no readily apparentrelationshipexists in their placementwith respect to
one another, nor between the various spans of time in which the material is here;for the present, we focus on the largerspatialdesign. The
prolonged. lower boundaryof this passage, F#l, is quickly attained. The

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Pitch/Register in Varese 11

Example 9. Integrales, mm. 177-85

reJ~tempo
lUbj.(ee-vvr.
IIJ jwf LenebJ.G i
y 6
iWj Yy-f~
Ptes Fl

lb

Clt

Trp ,i,
T,p - <
_
4~~~~~~~~~~~~~~'
72LLfl;
_ _
ftill# 4 [>

T / =- ---

( B L-r---___ ___
t(e o -empo
J()<r/rw-a o ral. Lento.. dI.
Cy

I
T;

-Y . -7 .- .I
B -h

Ch
3Gr

GTrg

Trgl

4y ch
4 Vr
GCrr

L?X^wau,t'ir ,
sonorrf.,w,,Le g, tk, e c}

r - -* S
A e I-

_ _
-----_

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12 Music Theory Spectrum

Example 10 Example 12. Deserts, mm. 90-92

r-- a) b.-_
Q

Bc1.

Tbns.,
Example 1la. Integrales, m. 151

tpts.,I- "-
m
horn _ - - 1
: :

"~11*1

L0 IHta
tbns. . -
hi .i
?" (hg, (', a t F e rS 'y i . . f't

bi.
5br r^ ; . 1 r7 . j
, ! i?; ' ::

I'-. b -- 1

4a l
Example 1lb. Int4grales, mm. 151-54

woodwindsa
woodwinds r

tpts., horn 'L _

tbns.

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Pitch/Register in Varese 13

Example 13. Deserts, mm. 46-53

horn E ccl. At
E
_aI -t_

!i
piano, tuba

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14 MusicTheorySpectrum

highest pitch in the passage, however, is Eb6,which does not For this and the remainingexamples in this paper, a mode of
appearuntil m. 51, at which point F#1is no longer sounding. graphic representationhas been devised to show as clearly as
Nevertheless, because by durationaland timbralcriteriamm. possible the spatialaspectof the processesinvolved. In Example
46-53 comprisea unit, an overall symmetrycan be determined 15b, the grid representspitch along its vertical axis (calibrated
by the highest and lowest limits establishedfor the whole pas- from the lowest, at the bottom, to the highest, at the top); one
sage. Symmetricalexpansion occurs, since F#l-G3equals D4- squareequalsone semitone. Time is representedby the horizon-
Eb6. tal axis. Time elapses from left to right, but the horizontalaxis
Symmetriccontraction, illustratedin Example 14, is simply has no constant value. Numbers at the left margin mark the
the reverse of expansion. Here, note that the initial event, locations of C from the lowest octave, 1, to the highest, 8. In
F#3-G5,is expressed as a temporalsimultaneity, but that Eb4- Example 15b, however, only the portion of the available
Bb4, the goal of the contraction,is not. sound-spacein use at thatpointis shown. Numbersalong thetop
edge are measurenumbers.The two pairsof solid parallellines
show projectionand expansion;the two pairsof crossed dotted
Example14. Deserts,mm. 81-82 lines show that rotationtakes place as well.

?1>
3--- Example15a.Deserts,mm. 63-65
A _ _d
l 1
t _4_-i . ___.__ ____ ._

piano, horn, clarinets trumpets

woodwinds brass

x- ...._
' II
-1kI\
z _ ,

Combinations
Farmorecommonthanisolatedinstancesof single processes,
of course, are situationsin which two or more operatesimulta-
neously. In such situations,timbrecan be quiteeffective-even In Example 16, the techniqueof symmetricalexpansion, on
essential-as an agent of delineation. In the excerpt shown in two differentlevels, is combinedwith projection.Foursymme-
Example 15a, Vareseachieves timbralseparationby placingthe triescan be identified.(1) The brassparts,consideredseparately
first two trichordsin the woodwinds, the second two in the fromthe rest of the texture,are spreadacrossthe space D3-A5in
brass.These two phasesof activitytogetherconstitutethe simul- mm. 109-10; then, in m. 111, the full choir of trumpetsand
taneous employmentof projection, rotation, and expansion. trombonesis deployed from G#2 up to D#6, an expansion from

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Pitch/Registerin Varbse 15

Example15b.Deserts,mm. 63-65, graphicrepresentation by the brass. (4) The inclusionof the piano and timpanipartsof
mm. 106-09 in the sound-space preceding m. 111 yields the
composite A?-A5, which is projectedto G#I-G.6.

Longer examples
The precedingillustrationshave been chosen for theirgener-
ally straightforwardnature. As the analyticalcontext becomes
larger,however, the combinedconfigurationof processesinevi-
tably becomes more complex: projection,rotation,expansion,
and contractionall begin to exert a certainamountof influence
upon one another. Length, though, also has its advantages.
Analysis of the passages at handdemonstratesthe operationof
pitch/registralstructureover appreciablespans of time.
Example 17 (Ecuatorial, mm. 211-20) is indeed rathercom-
plicated. Essentially, what happenshere is that a large space is
reducedsystematicallyto one much smaller.The largeexpanse
Bb?-E7is divided exactly in its middle by the highest note in the
trombones(C#4), a note which is given special emphasisby the
glissando precedingit. The entrancesof parts are staggeredin
typically Varesian fashion, roughly in order from lowest to
highest, and the highest pitches (D#6 and E7 in the two ondes)
enteras the othersdropout. While these areheld in mm. 212-13,
other, lower notes appear,ending with the groupD1-D'-F2(m.
215), which is followed by a rest. The ondes' D#6-E7may thus
be said to have an analogue in El-F2; the presence of D1,
however, makesthis projectiononly partial.The entranceof D1
completes a secondarysymmetry involving the duplicationof
the interval[19]: its first appearanceoccursbetween E4(lowest
the previous space by [6] on each end. (2) If the voice (doubled pitch in the trumpets,mm. 211-12) and A2 (lowest pitch in the
by ondes) in mm. 106-09 is consideredby itself, thenits B3-C4is organ, m. 213), then between A2 and D1. The placementof the
projected to E4-F4in trombone 2. These two interconnected lower boundary at D1 is made even more interesting by the
events, takentogetherandjuxtaposedagainsttheentire sonority events thatfollow. The trombones,in sextupletsat m. 216, first
of m. 111, reveal anotherexpansion(B3-F4to G#l-G#6). (3) The outline G2-E4,then expandit to F4. Temporallyadjacentevents
piano andtimpaniin mm. 106-09 togetherdefine a space A?-E3, thus articulate the span D1-F4, which by virtue of registral
which is projectedto the exactly congruentspace D3-A5defined proximitymay be interpretedas a projectionof Bb?-C#4fromm.

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16 MusicTheorySpectrum

Example 16. Ecuatorial, mm. 106-11, reductionand graphic


representation

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Pitch/Registerin Varbse 17

Example 17. Ecuatorial, mm. 211-20, reductionandgraphicrepresen-


tation

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18 MusicTheorySpectrum

211. Next, trombonesgive way to trumpets(mm. 217-18) then with the [13], as [7] plus [6], found earlier between the two
rejointhem in mm. 219-20. In the latterpairof measuresa span [14]-spans.
E3-D5 is delineated as a projection of G2-F4, to which it is In summary:the groupF4-G5,eventuallyF4-C5-G5,is dupli-
exactly congruent. Simultaneously, the large span D1-E7, cated (projected) to produce a second group, creates a third
formedearlierby temporaladjacency,contractssymmetrically group in collaborationwith the second, and creates a fourth
to this same E3-D5.The confluence of processes suggests that groupin analogy to a pitch/registralrelationshipimplicit in the
the phenomenonreferredto by Varese as "penetration"of one juxtaposition of the second and third groups. This series of
sound-massby anotherhas taken place. " spinoffs" ends with the adventof a single structureincorporat-
Example 18 (Deserts, mm. 1-22). Analyticalcomplications ing many features of the previous structuresbut superseding
often result when the musical fabric splits and the process of them all.
transformationproceeds in two or more different directions. Examples 19 and 20 (Integrales, mm. 80-102 and 126-35).
When the disparatestructuresproducedby such fragmentation The secondof these two passagesis clearlyheardas a "return,"
reunite in a single structure,penetrationagain may be said to or near-repetition,of materialfrom the first. Side-by-sidecom-
occur. In Example 18, the initial [14]-span F4-G5produces parison of mm. 93-100 (in Example 19) and mm. 131-34 (in
D2-E3 (m. 6) by projection. F4-G5 is then bisected by C5, Example20) reveals a resemblancethatis surelynot coinciden-
followed immediately and analogously by A2 dividing D2-E3 tal. Yet is this recapitulationin the traditionalsense? Keepingin
(m. 7).27 All six pitches remain in place until m. 14, where Bb1 mind Varese's remarksabout the "distinct function in a new
and B2 are introduced.These can be regardedas a projectionof medium" of such reappearingmaterial, we notice that some
the gap E3-F4between D2-E3and F4-G5.The next new pitch, changes have in fact been made-in rhythm,dynamics, accom-
C#4, stands closest spatiallyto F4 and C5. Togetherwith these panying percussion, and use of mutes. These may well be
pitches, it forms a configurationanalogousto the dispositionof intended as clues to indicate changed function. Nevertheless,
Bb', D2, and A2-which, even though they do not sound to- pitch/registralrelationshipshave been left intact.
gether at any point, nevertheless are the three lowest pitches Analysis of both passages in light of theirrespectivecontexts
heardso far. The pitchC#4assumesfurther,crucialsignificance becomes crucial at this point. In the earlier of the two (see
with respect to the chord in mm. 21-22, which extends in Example 19), the excerpt in question is preceded by several
alternatingadjacent[7]'s and [6]'s up to E6. Here, C#4serves as measures(80-93) dominatedby a groupA4-B6which alternates
a projectionalpivot, reproducingwith E6 the distance Bbl-C#4 several times with a lower pair of chords:GI-F#2followed by
(articulatedin mm. 17-20) above C#4.Notice also that BbLand D2-E3.Embeddedin this lower area are featuresof the upper,
C$4 togetherreproducethe span separatingthe lower pitches D2 given in succession instead of simultaneously:the [11]-span
andF4of each of the initial [14]-spans.Furthermore,this chord, GI-F#2,an effect of the interlocked[11]'s A4-G#5 and Bb4-A5;
alreadydiscussed in Example 3 above, not only is symmetrical and the [14]-spanD2-E3,a projectionof A5-B6.The two widely
in itself, but also combines the [7], obtainedby bisecting [14], separatedgroupsconvergein a symmetriccontractioninvolving
the "melodic" componentof mm. 93-100 in its eventualcom-
27This particularseries of events was first explained with referenceto Var- plete form. The pitches D4 and E4 are the first two presentedin
6se's descriptiveterminologyby Chou Wen-chungin his article, "Var&se:A the melody, and the F#4 and the C4 bracketthe final interval
Sketch of the Man and His Music," Musical Quarterly, 52 (1966), 158-170. (filled in by D4 andE4)in m. 100. The repeatedtrombonechord

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Pitch/Registerin Varese 19

Example 18. Deserts, mm. 1-22, reductionand graphicrepresentation

.1tl
o

I I
6
tL
2

c
r' A ii (
a
J !f

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20 Music Theory Spectrum

Example 19. Integrales, mm. 80-102, reductionand graphicrepresen-


tation

,,.~ /<As < !r~~, f

/
-/

* , 7
*/

X ^' I '- C,,


,/ N

1,2 /- . ,. J

J" ^t!^ ,l
r
'N,.,L|J -L . rl! .-.

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Pitch/Registerin Varese 21

Db2-Ab2-Eb3 comes aboutas a partialprojectionof D2-E3.Note pitch of the melody. These areprojectionsof the trombonespan
that the space filled by the entire contents of mm. 93-100 in mm. 131-34. Furthermore,while the double intervallicpro-
(Db2-_F4)is congruent to the intervals of contraction G1-C4 and jections below A3andabove C#4do balanceone another,the real
B6-F#4. Finally, C4, the last pitch given in m. 100, is used (i.e. exact) symmetryexisting here is expansionoutwardto F1
togetherwith B4in m. 101 to effect a symmetricexpansionto the and Eb6not from A3 and C#4but from A3 and B3, the last two
outer boundariesF#l and F7 in m. 102. pitches given in the melody before the introduction of the
In the laterpassage (Example20), on the otherhand, projec- "new" C#4.
tion ratherthan contractionis the process primarilyresponsible In summary:the various facets of the "repeated" material
for motion to the recurringmaterialfrom the immediatelypre- have different structuralmeanings dependingupon location in
ceding eleven-note sonorityof m. 126, F#3-C7. This chordcan the work. In each of the two cases the materialis fully integrated
be partitionedin two ways: first, into overlappingwoodwind into its context. Withoutquestion,the pitchduplicationsarestill
and brass groups (B4-C7 and Ft3-E6, respectively); second, into heard, but the effect of the disparityin treatmentis to provide
threecongruentsegments at Ab4and Bb5.These three segments equal emphasisupon thefunction of the materialin the ingoing
are timbrallydetermined,too: the lower F3_-Ab4encompasses process.
trombonesand horn and is set far apartfrom the high trumpets, Example 21 (Density 21.5, mm. 1-23). This, the most ex-
and the upperBb5-C7is defined by the three highest woodwind tended of the examples presented in this paper, also demon-
instruments(piccolos andpiccolo clarinet).In the firstpartition- stratesin clearestfashionthe applicationof pitch/registralideas
ing, the span B4-C7 corresponds to the distance (marked by to analysis, even thoughthe completeworkis not analyzedhere.
single brackets)delineatedby D4 in m. 127f. and the trombone Density 21.5 is for a solo instrument, but the analytical
chord Db2-Al2-Eb3; and F#3-E6 corresponds to the interval of approachremainsmuchthe same as in precedingexamples. The
projection, which can be read either as B4-Db2or as C7-D4 only realdifferenceis thatlineardetail is often morecrucialhere
(marked with double brackets). The second partitioningpro- than elsewhere in Varese. The opening figure articulates a
duces three segments, all congruentto the spanof the trombone chromatictrichord(F-E-F#)4.28This figure, in its varioustrans-
chordin mm. 131-34;in Example20, the lowest of these threeis positions, will be referredto as group (x), and is always en-
shown projectedto m. 131. closed in solid boundariesin the graph. With the occurrenceof
The continuationof this passage emphasizes certain other G4 in m. 2, a group (E-F#-G)4is also articulated.This will be
featuresof its structure.The pitch Eb6in m. 135, which remains referredto as group(y), andis always markedby dottedbounda-
the highestpitchfor some time, is the same distanceabove D4 as ries. By registralassociation,in fact, group(y) is a succession of
Db2is below, hence anotherinstanceof projection.Contributing a kind, even in its firstappearancein m. 2. The implicitrelation-
as well to the attainmentof this high point are the successively ship between the pitches (E-F#-G)4is madeexplicit in mm. 3-4,
articulated [13]-spans C#4-D5 and D5-Eb6(the latter of which is in the form of a directlinear succession, and again in mm. 4-5,
dividedby Ab5andstandsin analogyto Eb3,the uppernote of the
trombonechordin mm. 131-34, andA3 andE4, the initialupper
28Expressionssuch as (E-FP-G)4are abbreviations.The numberat the end
and lower boundariesof the melody in those same measures). applies to each of the pitches within the parentheses.The parenthesesthem-
Below, successive [14]-spansaregiven by the trombones(F1-G2) selves imply no special association between the notes enclosed beyond their
and the distance G2-A3between the trombonesand the lowest appearance,at that moment, in the same octave.

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22 MusicTheorySpectrum

Example20. Integrales, mm. 126-35, reductionandgraphicrepresen-


tation

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c,

U)
I)
Co

C:

.
L&
0)

-.

tC ZZ 1L 01 VI LI 91 SI tI fI ZI II

4I

0 I Ff 6 Z
en

otq". r. ---- =--------


_ on
u
C)
.ar '
jopqns 4

rj * r11^1 ^^j"1^ ^,'--=' -- j >ty1


o
c

el
o,

C) X riG^.s
d ----; Jql= j Jqi
^^y^^' o '~'~ --=- r
,~ . ^-.=-.-_

S
eq

Vu t 'fi -l-f r
w
tCLr
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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
24 Music'TheorySpectrum

in reverse order. Symmetricalpropertiesalso suggest assign- The appearanceof the [6]-span Bb5-E6introducesthe possi-
mentof structuralimportanceto (E-FO-G)4, for the articulationof bility thatanother[6][6] structurewill be formed. This possibil-
space bounded by C#4 and G4, divided evenly by E4, also ity is realizedwith E5in m. 15, the firstnote of thatmeasure.It is
becomes clear in the course of the openingmeasures(see m. 5). also the first note of a new instanceof (x), given in the distinc-
Group(y) outlines the interval(E-G)4and thus serves to fill an tive rhythmicpatternof the opening. Again, too, (x) is suc-
intersticeof this symmetry. Given this opening, it is not at all ceeded by (y), but in rotationthis time: (D#-E-F#)5in m. 16.
surprisingthatexpansionof occupied space proceedsfrom here Thus, some similarity is maintainedwith the opening of the
by extensions of group(y): (G-A-Bb)4,then Bb4-(C-Db)5. Up to piece, but the altered manner of presentation suggests that
the point whereDb5is reached,in m. 9, total space employed so something different will happen in consequence. In fact, this
far in the work is [12] in extent, doublethe initial [6] coveredby proves to be the case, as a new high point is reachedin m. 17.
(Ct-G)4. The initial high point, G4, now stands in the same Gesturalsimilaritywith mm. 13-14 is evident. Attainmentof G6
relationshipto outerboundariesC#4andDb5as did E4to C#4and is accomplishedthrougha symmetricaloperationcenteredabout
G4 at the beginning-that is, it bisects the space in use. F#5,for the intervalF#5-E#4is equal to the intervalF#5-G6.This
Expansionof space by one more half step, to D5 in m. 11, at symmetryis shown in the diagramby the dottedlines radiating
once completesa second (x) group-completing a chainof three from Ft5.
linked(y)'s with an (x) on each end-and sets off a new seriesof Articulationof the interval F$4-G6, as a direct succession,
developments.With D5, a sudden,radicalchange occurs:rapid reflects the gesturalparallelwith mm. 13-14 noted above: the
expansion of delineated space through articulationof larger distanceD#4-E6, [25], was formerlyexpressedas a symmetrical
intervals, in the form of projections of previously presented configurationinvolving several pitches, but now appearsas a
structures.The structuralframework(C#-G)4-Db5serves as the single, linearlypresentedinterval.Just as the quick attainment
templatefor these new formations.Notice thatG#4-(D-G#)5and of a new high pointG6reflectsa condensationof musicalmotion
(D#-A)4-Dt5, both of which are bracketedin the graph, are compared to what immediately precedes it, so do the actual
projectionsof thatoriginalconfiguration.Further,A5appearsin details of spatial manipulation.
m. 13, which enlarges the previous [6][6] formation by one In termsof temporalorderof presentation,what happenedat
more [6]. This results in a pair of interlocked[6][6]'s, which mm. 15-16 now occurs, in mm. 18-19, in reverse. Group (y)
share the common segment A4-D#5. The repetitionof A4 in m. follows group(x) within the space of [3], but this spanof [3] is
13 emphasizes the [12]-span A4-A5as a significant segment. given as a descent ratherthanas an ascent:thatis, (B-G#)4.The
The E6in mm. 13-14, which constitutesa climax of sortsand (x)-groupthatfollows, C#6-B#5-D6,is a rhythmicallyelaborated
a majorstructuralarticulation,has two distinctfunctions:(1) In version of the initial motive and is significant spatially, in that
retrospect,we note that D5 is a point of rest before the burstof the outeredges of the new space, G$4andD6, standin symmetri-
activity leading up to m. 14, by virtue of its temporalvalue in cal contradictionto the compositeof D$4-E6,of mm. 12-14, and
comparisonto the notes thatprecedeit. D#5 and E6are similarly F#4-G6 of mm. 16-17. The union of these two large spaces is
situatedwith respectto theirimmediatesurroundings;thus they justifiedby theprocedurallinks betweenthemdiscussedabove.
duplicatethe relationshipbetween C#4and D5. (2) Bb5-E6is the In the last two measures(22-23) of this excerptfromDensity
counterpartto (D#-A)4,in thatthese two segmentsforma mirror 21.5, the size of the lower groupfirstpresentedwithinthe space
symmetryaboutA4 andBb5.Note thatA4-Bb5is given as a direct (B-G#)4undergoesprogressiveshrinkage,in two stages:first to
succession in m. 13.

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Pitch/Registerin Varese 25

(A-B)4, then to (A-A#)4. As a pitch entity, (A-B)4 has already music had been overwhelmingly pitch-oriented.Even a great
been presented,in m. 19, and thereis no need to accountfor its revolutionarycannot change everything at once, if indeed he
origins at this point. However, its placementin this context can shouldwantto. Even Varese, I think, wouldnot havedeniedthis
be interpretedas an effect, or projection,of the span B#5-D6.In inherentlimit uponthe evolutionof compositionalpractice.One
turn,when (A-B)4contractsto (A-A#)4,thereis a responsein the of the compromises, then, that Varese had to make was to
higher register, as we see in m. 23: B#5-C#6.The net effect of acknowledgethe sovereigntyof pitch. Nevertheless,as we have
this attenuationabove and below is to reduceoccupied space by seen, he was able to mitigate this sovereignty somewhat by
means of anothersymmetricaloperation:thatis, contractionby introducingregisteras a vital factorin thedefinitionof structure.
one half step on each end. From the original outer boundaries Furthermore,Varese's use of timbreand dynamicsas agents
D#4 and G6, then, the size of space in use has been reducedby of delineation representsa considerableadvance beyond their
[12]: [6] above and [6] below. The fact that these two interval largely ornamentalfunctionin most earliermusic. Thus Varese
sizes have alreadyplayed majorroles in the spatialorganization pointed out the path leading away from extreme pitch orienta-
of this work is probablysignificant. tion, even though he did not venturevery far along it himself.
But his "dream of instrumentsobedient to my thought" and
Conclusion "their contribution of a whole new world of unsuspected
sounds"29helped that dream become a reality for his heirs.
This theory, in the form presented here, is by no means
complete. The symmetricaloperationsdescribedabove do em-
brace many aspects of structurein Varese's music, but certain
matters of internal order are only sketched. As it happens,
another, substantialcomponent of pitch/registral theory, de-
signed to take measureof internalstructure,does exist. How-
ever, to have includedits exposition here would have made the
presentpapertoo long. I hope to bringforth a sequel sometime
in the near future.
There remain a few words to say concerning the natureof
assumptionsmadein formulatingthis theory.We beganwith the
idea that pitch, in tandemwith register, is the primarydetermi-
nantof structurein Varese, and thatothercompositionalfactors
must be relegatedto secondarystatus, however much of a role
they may play in shaping the decisions made about pitch and
register. Is this assumptionwarrantedfor Varese, who after all
has long been famous for emphasizing--in words and in
music--the importanceof timbre, dynamics, and rhythm?The
answer-affirmative-is inevitably bound up with historical 29Varese, "391," Number5, June 1917, New York;includedin the epigraph
context. For manycenturies,up to Varese's present,all Western for "The Liberationof Sound."

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