Twelfth Aitake I: Beyond Eleven for the Gagaku Sho for sho and electronics.

Twelfth Aitake I: Beyond Eleven for the Gagaku Sho, commissioned by the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies, Columbia University, consists of three sections; Sections A, B, and A. The chord progression of the Sho part in Sections A is the same as that of the opening section of famous Gagaku piece Etenraku. In Section B, single tones of the Sho are processed with a phase vocoder instrument so that those pitches unplayable by the Sho can be used as well and the melodic fragments of the Sho and those of the processed sounds maintain heterophonic relationships throughout. The Sho can produce only fifteen different pitches. In other words, the Sho allows composers to employ only three different diatonic sets while J. S. Bach, for example, used all the twelve in his Well-Tempered Clavier. In this piece, I have tried to use the instrument in the twelve-tone pitch space. The entire piece has been generated by my own Java program using a rule system that makes possible the integration of the traditional eleven chords, "aitake,"into twelve-tone harmonies, which I call collectively the "twelfth aitake." All the voice leading and the transformations of harmonies are strictly regulated by the rule system. The program generated score files for sound synthesis and processing software RTcmix, developed by Brad Garton. And its channel vocoder, phase vocoder, and various filter instruments, written by John Gibson, process the Sho sounds and produce all the synthesized sounds in real time.

I'm grateful to distinguished Gagaku musician Mayumi Miyata not only for her excellent performances of this piece but also for a great deal of useful advice and suggestions. I'm also indebted to Jaroslaw Kapuscinski and François Rose for the Gagaku Project at CCRMA at Stanford University. Without their detailed, very clear descriptions of Gagaku instruments, I couldn't have finished this piece.

The subtitle of the piece "Beyond Eleven for the Gagaku Sho" was suggested by Barbara Ruch, Professor Emerita of Japanese Literature and Culture at Columbia University and Director of the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies.

Akira Takaoka
New York
March, 2012

Twelfth Aitake I is selected for performance at the 2015 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, which will take place between June 22nd and 28th in New York, USA.

Twelfth Aitake I was performed by Mayumi Miyata on March 31, 2012 at Composer's Workshop at Barnard College in New York.

Return to Akira Takaoka's home page.

Copyright (C) 2015 Akira Takaoka