Fmelodies II, for cello, percussion and computer sounds


Violoncello, Gaby Schumacher
Schlagzeug, Peter Klinkenberg
Elektronik, Mesias Maiguashca

The application of frequence modulation (FM), which is widespread in the technique of the analogue synthesizer, displayed other aspects and possibilities with computer technology. Computers allow for a conscious and controlled generation and manipulation of FM spectrums.

FM synthesis creates the possibility to generate spectrums consisting of different groups of partial tones or harmonic series. The harmonic matter (the relative “harmonicality” or “un-harmonicality”) is determined by the proportion of the Carrier Frequency (CarF) to the Modulating Frequencies (MoF). If these frequencies are at a “simple” ratio (represented with low numbers, e.g. 1:1, 2:3, 5:3) a “harmonious”, “consonant” spectrum is created. If the ratio is represented with higher numbers (15:7, 36:1, 128:13) the spectrum becomes increasingly “disharmonious”, “dissonant”.
In "Fmelodies I" two frequencies are used as a carrier: 69.3 (capital C-sharp) and its 17th partial tone 1178.1 HZ (D3). These notes become hence main notes of the composition, the C-sharp even becomes a sort of “Tonic”, starting point of the whole.

The generated spectrums are manipulated in two ways:

- “tunes“ are generated with filters (software) with the notes of the spectrums and are recorded on tape;
- this repertoire is used as melodic-harmonic material for the instrumental parts.

In a first version of “Fmelodies”, computer sounds (recorded on tape) were contrasted with the sounds of a chamber orchestra. In Fmelodies II, I strive for a transparency, a chamber musical relation between instrumental and synthetical sounds.


Mesias Maiguashca
Encargo: Ircam, Paris