Synthesizer Part to "Air" by Glen Newton

The most avant garde of the movements of "The Elements" by Glen Newton, "Air" begins by using some of the capabilities of the Roland SH-3 analog synthesizer to imitate the sound of a strong wind by starting with white noise, then adding a filter sweep (for the wind blowing). As the sound progresses, the filter narrows to the point that it has a definite pitch, and then quantization of the whistling wind is added, so that the sound goes from one "note" to the next, without any particular defined scale. The synthesizer's controls are further manipulated so that the time of each pitch is about one sixteenth note and the pitch sweep is about an octave and a fourth or fifth. At that point the bassoon enters in contrary motion to the synthesizer in the same note range.

"Air" synthesizer part, page 1.
"Air" synthesizer part, page 2.

The first flute enters and plays an eerie theme with the piano joining on sixteenth notes. On the repeat of this theme, the second flute joins in. The bassoon and pianist's left hand join in the third time. By the end of that third time through the theme, the synthesizer has returned to the non-quantized wind sound; at the end of the movement, the wind increases in intensity, then fades out along with the first flute.

The concepts of this movement might be able to be carried out on another synthesizer model, but the directions above only apply to the SH-3.

This page was last updated
Friday, February 07, 2020.

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