Landscape with figures II


Antiphonal chamber music


The Antiphonal chamber music fragments have more inner life than the preceding blocks involving the whole ensemble.































Underlying shadow structures of absent voices are created through circular sawtooth trajectories.[1]





























The shadow structures show entrances for the different instruments. Through slow circular movements, chamber music groups have time to establish. The end of the two upper parts form a basis for a longer violin and celesta duo.

























Five groups follow the spatial paths.


  • Violin I, celesta.
  • Violin II, quartertone glockenspiel.
  • English horn, viola, microtonal organ.
  • Cello (only multiphonics), percussion II.
  • Contrabass (only multiphonics), harp.


A sixth group is spatially spread out:


  • Bass flute multiphonics, bass clarinet multiphonics, bassoon multiphonics, trumpet, horn and trombone. The woodwind multiphonics tend to make the group sound larger than it is.


Antiphonal chamber music and Antiphonal groups are shaped through similar shadow structures. While Antiphonal groups are raw structures of spatial 'melodies' or trajectories through static harmonic situations, the 'terrains' of the Antiphonal chamber musics are overgrown by melodic activity.

BB Antiphonal chamber music 1, from the premiere, with spatial distribution.




Antiphonal chamber music 1, performance from Huddersfield, all musicians are placed on a podium.



Rather than becoming antiphonal by responses, imitations and developments of motifs, patterns of entrances and durations are elastic and in constant variation.

Other Antiphonal chamber music fragments involve only a quintet:


  • Celesta.
  • Quartertone glockenspiel. The part is often written to blend with celesta, with quartertones the celesta cannot play. Similarity is found through choice of sticks.
  • Microtonal organ.
  • Percussion II.
  • Harp.


CR Antiphonal chamber music 5, from the premiere, with spatial distribution.




Antiphonal chamber music 5, performance from Huddersfield, all musicians are placed on a podium.




The 'pelog variation 15' tuning of the microtonal organ contains 5 different random pelogs. Two of them are used here, at times superposed through sustain pedals to form dense interferences, between each other and against the 3 equal tempered instruments.


The short ensemble version Landscape with figures IIb offered a chance to experience how fragments would work with the ensemble conventionally placed on a single stage.The premiere in Oslo was transparent, while the short version performed in Huddersfield sounded more massive, for a few possible reasons:

·       Musicians had more amplification.

·       St. Pauls Hall in Huddersfield is very resonant.

·       The piece was getting more familiar for the ensemble.

·       Some musicians found it more comfortable to be sitting together.


Both situations have qualities, it would be interesting continue the spatial setup ideas in a larger orchestral format.





[1] Ruben Sverre Gjertsen, 2013, The Ruben-OM patch library, p. 26.






The random pelog tunings are all built from different stackings of pelog intervals found in javanese gamelan ensembles. We will look at keyboard pitches versus approximate sounding pitches of Random pelog variation 15A. Parts of the keyboard will have sounding pitches outside the useful and audible range. These extreme ranges were avoided in the score.

Approximate sounding pitches of the Grains tuning at concert pitch 440 Hz. Whenever a different concert pitch is triggered, this will be transposed.

Pelog variation 15C is built from a diffenent stacking of intervals and will differ from 15A above in variable microtonal intervals.

Notated pitches and instructions within the Grains tuning from Antiphonal chamber music 3.

Organ tuning examples


The software organ used in this work is capable of changing between numerous complex tuning systems. The score gives information about choice of tuning and what to perform on the keyboard, not sounding pitch. I will bring out a few examples of this organ notation.

In Antiphonal chamber music 5 heard above, we find notated pitches performed within Random pelog 15A and 15C.

When the same keyboard pitches are performed with these 2 different pelog variations, held with sustain pedals, dense interferences will arise.

Listening again to Antiphonal chamber music 5, we can notice how these intonation differences contribute to the sounding results.

The whole tuning is system is shifted from a 440 Hz base to 4 other concert pitches. The change is done through presets, number keys or pedal triggers. Sustain pedals can create overlaps with all 5 concert pitches.