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Electro fractal gamelan (vibraphone with pre-recorded sound)

by Peggy Polias (2011)

Electro fractal gamelan


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Electro fractal gamelan : for vibraphone and electronic backing track / Peggy Polias.

Library shelf no. 786.82/POL 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Electro Fractal Gamelan was written in 2011 for the Kammerklang development project Worship the Machine, which paired music with trapeze. The Worship the Machine project visited the idea of androids playing nostalgic music in some kind of wasteland; Electro Fractal Gamelan was written with this in mind.

The electronic backing track to this work is based entirely on sine wave blips revolving around the harmonic series on A. There are 8 lines, each cycling randomly through different octaves at double the rate of the previous, creating the effect of a very simple binary fractal. The binary rhythms and continuity of the notes resemble the effect of kotekan in Balinese Gamelan, where two parts play interlocking patterns to produce a rapid constant line.

After a while, one begins to hear phantom rhythms in the electronic track. I devised the track first and wrote the vibraphone part to complement this by selecting a few phantom rhythms and allowing the vibraphone player some choice in the pitches used to explore these rhythmic cells. Reverb and overdrive effects gradually build over the duration of the track, and eventually, to complement this, the Vibraphone player moves to tremolo playing, again given a choice of pitches in their part.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: Vibraphone, electronic backing track.

Duration: 3 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Written for: Kammerklang Chamber Orchestra


Resonate article: Ablaze - inspired by fire and art by Peggy Polias

Performances of this work

6 Jun 2014: at Kammerklang Ablaze (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music).

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