Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.

Circular Ruins

Digital Sheet Music [PDF]: Score

The Circular Ruins : music inspired by the writings of Jorge Luis Borges [eScore] / Shaun Rigney.

by Shaun Rigney (2003)

  • DIGITAL PRODUCT: This item is sold as digital sheet music - View an example
  • Purchase Price: $28.09 (Available for immediate download) — Add to Cart
  • Library Availability: This item is not available from the Australian Music Centre Library
  • Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.
  • Digital Library -- View full score online

    Not a member? Become a member online and access the Digital Library immediately
  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Atticus String Quartet from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 92.


Add to Cart

Available for immediate download

Product details

The string quartet The Circular Ruins takes its name from a story in the collection entitled Labyrinths by the Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986). In The Circular Ruins, Borges, ever fascinated by themes of eternity, the labyrinth, circularity, reality and illusion, writes modelling the incoherent and vertiginous matter of which dreams are composed was the most difficult task that a man could undertake ; and although the protagonist in this story is actually attempting to dream another being into existence, Borges might well have been writing about any act of creation - composition, for example, or the performance of a musical work. My use of the title also alludes to musical matters of a technical nature. Circularity is embedded in the nature of western classical music. The structure of the harmonic series (the acoustic division of a vibrating string or length of pipe into tones called fundamentals and partials) is implicated in the structure of western key signatures. Musicians often refer to the 'cycle of fifths' to explain how the movement from one key to another is established in so-called tonal* music. One may start at the simplest key (C major) and arrive back where one began after travelling in a circle of fifths through all of the sharp key signatures (in one direction - arbitrarily, let's say clockwise) or all of the flat key signatures (in the other direction, say anticlockwise). For mathematical reasons concerning the ratios of the tones in the harmonic series, there is actually a small difference between the terminus and the starting tone once one has passed through this cosmic circle; the "beginning" and the "end" do not exactly coincide in nature. This difference is called the Comma of Pythagoras, and I have often wondered what Borges would have made of this tantalising fissure in the Platonic world. The cycle of fifths was especially important during the so called 'Classical' era of western music. But since the beginning of the twentieth century (roughly speaking) this structural element has become gradually less crucial (another 'circular ruin'). The mathematics of the harmonic series no longer provides the axioms on which composers are expected to base their systems - yet the harmonic series remains a sort of fixed truth on the ever shifting sands of harmonic allegiances. At the conclusion of the Borges story, set deep in the jungle amongst the circular ruins of a temple to a forgotten god, the man who has been attempting to dream a new being into existence discovers that it is he who has been forged in the dream of another. (*Music you can whistle, or if you prefer, hum)

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 digital (PDF) facsimile score (31p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced — Extensive use of harmonics

Duration: 14 min.

Contents note:

In 2 parts.

Commissioned by Flinders Quartet.

First performance by Atticus String Quartet — 2 Mar 11. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC

Typeset edition.

This edition produced 22 Feb 17.

Analysis & Media

- Video: The Circular Ruins

User reviews

Be the first to share your thoughts, opinions and insights about this item.

To post a comment please login