Sequence of Earlier Heaven
Barry Truax - 1998

The title refers to the pattern of trigrams in the l Ching known as the Primal Arrangement, based on pairs of opposites, such as Heaven and Earth, Wind and Thunder, Water and Fire, Mountain and Lake. In the musical work, this progression takes place in 8 sections, each ninety seconds in length, where each pair of four channels depicts the energy generated by these oppositions. When diffused through speakers arranged in a cube, the upper and lower sets of speakers reflect this relationship. The work is the complement to the Sequence of Later Heaven (1993) which depicts the trigrams as a periodic cycle. The work, as with its counterpart, is entirely based on musical instruments found in Pacific Rim cultures, including the Javanese gamelan gongs, the Philippine patangok, the khaen from South East Asia, the Korean kayageum, the Chinsese guzheng and tarn-tarn, Japanese meditation bells, bamboo brushes, the rosewood keyed marimba from Central America, the Peruvian bombo and box drum and the Chilean rainstick. These sounds are mixed together to form chords whose complex spectra become more apparent when the sounds are digitally resonated and/or stretched in time.

Technical note: the work was realized using the composers PODX system which incorporate the DMX-1000 Digital Signal Processor controlled by a PDP Micro-11 computer. The principal signal processing techniques involve digital resonators, time stretching and harmonizing of the sampled sounds with software for real-time granular synthesis and processing developed by the composer. The eight-channel spatial diffusion was realized with Harmonic Functions' DM-8 signal processor.