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Kristofer Emerig
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Kristofer Emerig's Discussions

Charles Theodore Pachelbel

Started this discussion. Last reply by michael diemer 5 hours ago. 51 Replies

Prelude and Fugue for.. er.. Harpsichord?

Started this discussion. Last reply by Paul Smith Jan 7. 3 Replies

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Kristofer Emerig's Blog

Kepler 62, or Ferney Who?

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 8:00pm 2 Comments

Kepler 62, like our investigations into the plantery solar system associated with the same name, is an attempt at a glimpse into other spaces, and specifically in this instance, other tonal spaces. The high probability of misinterpretation must be averted immediately, lest Kepler 62 be interpreted as a foray into the mythological realm of atonality, or presented as some alternative to tonality. It is not, but rather an excursion into one possible parallel tonal hierarchy alongside and in inferior position to conventional diatonicism. This is no attempt to build a better mouse trap, nor one which does else but catches mice, but only to build a different mouse trap.

It is something best described as paratonality, because it does not eschew the fundamental concept of tonality, ie, a hierarchy of relative consonance and dissonance imbuing musical language with meaning, but rather exploits those same tonal mechanics through a different pallette of modality, intervals, and ratios. Neither does Kepler 62 abandon the conventional protocols of counterpuntal practice. Those same techniques, or ones analogous to them, are applied to a new tonal space but remain intact in principle. Simpler ratios (greater consonance) are approached from more complex, dissonant ones by step. Leaps are less frequent the greater the interval, balanced by contrary motion, and out of relative dissonance are avoided altogether. The principles of counterpoint concern themselves chiefly with the mangement of consonance and dissonance across the vertical (pitch) and horizontal (time) polyphonic plane, and with a little bit of considered thought, can be extrapolated to any various collection of pitches and resulting intervals.

Tonal answer is somewhat of a misleading term I've never favoured, as real fugal answers are no more real than tonal answers, which are in turn no more tonal than the other. A more insightful term for "tonal" answer would be…


Fractal Subject Tranformation - Ode to Earth

Posted on October 2, 2010 at 10:00pm 2 Comments

Alright here goes. Recently the question of "fractal" music arose on the forum here, and it incited me to revisit the topic.

Applying fractal concepts to music could be interpreted many ways, and with no precedent by which to proceed (my favorite conditions by which to work incidentally), I decided to work out this first piece, Ode to Earth, in accordance with my own musical interpretation of fractal structure.

Keep in mind, the "fractalization" was only carried out through the thread of subject entries, and the remainder of the composition is free counterpoint. The next logical progression would be to work out a fugue in which the subject is tranformed fractally combined with countersubject treated likewise, but when you start playing with this process, you'll undoubtedly conclude that this might be a practically impossible ambition. I don't know yet - doing is knowing.

The linked image shows in the bottom staff the elemental subject, and hence "algorithm", but I've reduced the note values for compactness. This basic shape is a note, followed by a note of half its duration two scales steps above, followed by a note of half its duration one scale step above. Each staff above shows the next generation of fractal transformation (this is not the score of the piece, these entries follow one another). In the composition itself, the subject is always in the top voice, except the initial subject entry, which I chose to accompany with the alto voice, though not out of necessity.

Now the concept of fractal design is that as a structure is built in complexity, each stage of that building process produces a form which mimicks the elemental shape, hence at any stage the elemental shape can be traced back through all nested levels.

I've labeled the intervals, to a depth before they became quite messy and illegible, to demonstrate how each progressive stage of fractalization mimicks the basic form, ie,…


Please Direct Clever Banter Here: Sidebar, or, Vomitus ex Cerebrum: Viewpoint and Counterpoint: A Blog with Far Too Many Semicolons and Subtitles

Posted on September 12, 2010 at 10:30pm 30 Comments

I've seen in the past urban municipalities provide an interim "space" for taggers and perpetrators of graffiti in an effort to divert, provide a safety valve if you will, such from targeting more valuable private and public property with their nefarious activities. This blog is my equivalent device, a reservoir for the frivolous, irrational, flippant,comedic, and all manner of asshattery. Enjoy.

Bach, Bagels, and Bilateralism

Posted on September 12, 2010 at 4:30pm 12 Comments

The other day, while chewing my morning bagel and listening to some JS Bach, the Crab Canon, no less, my thoughts drifted from my toroidal breakfast morsel to the lemniscate of Bernoulli specifically and the concept of symmetries nested within symmetric isometries in general, and its ramifications within the discipline of counterpoint.

This was not a novel chain of association for me, as the thought has been crowding my mind with ever growing urgency and frequency for the last two years, and served as a central principle of design and impetus in much of the music I've produced in that span. Nick Capocci recently remarked to me, and I quote without permission,

"It [symmetry] is a powerful intellectual and philosophical concept, and, naturally, finds a ready medium in free counterpoint".

I quote the above because I can not find more apt words than Nick's.

So what of it? Forays into the exploration of symmetric form within counterpoint are nothing new, and imitative counterpoint could be viewed as fundamentally grounded in that pursuit. The methods of textural inversion and imitation (transformational symmetry, mathematically speaking) have been well established and documented for four centuries.

There is nevertheless a glaring hole, both theoretical and practical, where melodic inversion and retrogradation is concerned, particularly of entire polyphonic textures. The smattering of extant works left by Bach in the mirror fugues of Kunst der Fuge and the Crab Cannon are hardly a large enough body of work from which to derive a rigorous contrapuntal methodology for mirror techniques.

Until I experienced a recent epiphany, just a year or two old now, it was apparent to me that such mirror forms in counterpoint could only be improvised haphazardly case by case through a blend of intuition and trial and error alone. Viewed in light of the realization that music, as an abstract…


Iccanobif's Rorrim - Kcirderf aedi doog!

Posted on November 18, 2009 at 1:30pm 9 Comments

I have, for some time now, used Fibonacci numbers to transform subjects, get more mileage out of them, or generate "cycles" from a single source idea. I've had some time to observe and reflect upon how these values behave when projected on the diatonic system.

Unfortunately rigorous proof of the assertions I'm about to make would require an explicit mathematical description of good part writing, eg, a vast set of parametric equations for SATB over time, S(t), A(t), etc, all correlating the constraints of what might be called "common practice" voice leading. I believe it would ultimately be a far more ponderous task to define mathematically proper writing for invertibility at the tenth than the conventional (and ponderous too) method of defining the protocol verbally. Lacking this sort of rigorous proof, I can only report my observations as empirical support for these notions.

Without some restraints, namely a general, objective consensus on common practice part writing, it is meaningless to discuss a particular transformation of a subject as either contrapuntally workable or defunct. With no standards in place, everything is, I suppose workable (but more truthfully, defunct). A "working" contrapuntal solution to me is one that is so uncannily sublime that it inspires the composer and spurs new thoughts and connections, rather than cause the composer to navigate hideous loops of analysis in order to force it to work (I've worked in both capacities). Furthermore, the result must ultimately follow good part writing practice - period.

The postulate:

I. Subjects mapped (see attachment) onto the diatonic scale from Fibonacci numbers, no matter the seed values, tend to have notably greater solutions (self harmonizing at differing time offsets and transpositions) in mirror forms (retrograde, melodic inversion,… Continue

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At 12:48pm on October 20, 2014, michael diemer said…

Thanks for listening to Solstice, Kristofer. Your comment is well taken. Panning is a constant problem for me. I use a fairly common arrangement, which does have the winds centered. that's how Sonar does it, also Garritan and any number of online guides. but I have never been happy with it. In fact, I'm going to download Virtual Sound Stage and check it out. The new version has presets, so for example my new Cinematic Strings has its own preset, where they have already determined all the best settings, like early reflections and so on, which is stuff I don't even bother with. So hopefully things will improve. Of course, then I will have to go back and revise everything, as changing the panning necessitates volume adjustments, and sometimes even musical revisions...oh well, winter's coming, not a lot else to do...

At 2:51pm on October 13, 2014, The Lonely Goat said…

Jean-Michel asked me to do some re-mixes for him but I just don't have the time so I simply re-mastered his stereo audio file for this recording and that of Jigsaw Girl. As you well know, the day jobs feed the belly. I think I'm getting better at this sprinkling of fairy dust though.


At 12:09am on August 28, 2014, michael diemer said…

i was really looking forward to your opinion on my current project, when I finally post it. check in some time and listen, will you?

At 10:48pm on August 19, 2014, michael diemer said…

So, mean tone sounds out of tune to my well-tempered ears. Also, being a piano tuner, I feel the need to sharpen up some of those notes, especially in the middle register. Anyway though, nice piece. Is this you playing one of your hand-crafted beasties?

At 12:38am on July 22, 2014, michael diemer said…

Just heard your Fantasy X. Brilliant, man just brilliant. Was that all harpsichord, or did I hear something like a xylophone at times? Or was that just an artifart? Excuse me, that's artifact.

At 2:10am on July 15, 2014, The Lonely Goat said…

the oldies are the besties

At 6:34am on April 29, 2014, Alex Dunn said…


This is all very very impressive! Your blog is very deep indeed - it'll take me all I have to understand it but, while i don't have the ability to write as well as you in words, I am aware of the areas you are probing. 

Have you ever read any H.P. Lovecraft? Particularly his story 'The Music Of Erich Zann'. It's about a guy whose apartment window looks out to other dimensions and the only way he can stop being sucked out is to ward of the extra-dimensional forces using his viol to play strange atonal fugues.

I think you'd love it. It's a short story and can be read in half an hour.

All the best,

Alex :)

At 5:30am on April 29, 2014, Alex Dunn said…
I just listened to some more of your music. I'd didn't realise you did ambient stuff as well - I really liked it. I'll have to set aside half an hour to listen to an entire piece of yours. The title 'Fugue In Seven Parts' led me to think it was another fugue a la Bach lol
At 10:01am on April 28, 2014, Alex Dunn said…

Hi Kristofer,

I've been on this site for ages and have seen you around a lot - I thought it was high time for me to say hi formally! Hi :)

I'm very impressed by your ability to compose very evocative counterpoint in the style of Bach. It really reminds me of The Art Of Fugue! 

Where did you train or did you teach yourself? What made you decide to follow this particular compositional path?

All the best,

Alex :)

At 9:33pm on November 20, 2013, michael diemer said…

Just saw your comment (I am once more a working man and don't get in here as much). Can't figure out who you're referring to. Otis Redding died that year, but he was black. Are you referring to a specific Star Trek episode? I'm a closet Trekkie, but again can't make the connection.

At 10:33pm on September 24, 2013, Bill Dan Courtney said…

Thanks for the comment. Strange as I was listening to stuff on your page when your comment came through. very involved and interesting. I could never do music like this but I can listen to it  all day. Great.

At 8:57pm on September 21, 2013, Charles Greco said…

Kristofer, I am delighted that you liked the Toccatina. If I ever decide to do a two-piano arrangement of it, perhaps then will take the opportunity to rework and expand it a little...

Thanks again for your comment.

At 8:29am on August 23, 2013, Per-Erik Rosqvist said…

Very scary - I heard of it before you posted it on my page - but doubt it is for real. A relative of the piranha swam (or was released) in Öresund. Not a natural habitat for the creature.

If it eats male balls, it has not happened yet. Not in our waters. But the article is probably just a joke (and i assume you realize this. :)

But it was a funny read. Thanks for posting! :)

At 11:54pm on August 13, 2013, michael diemer said…

The Compose forum would never tolerate the extravagances of our forum. they have a neat, well-ordered site, they don't want anarchists like us shocking them back into reality. Let's leave them in their blissful ignorance.

At 2:05pm on August 13, 2013, michael diemer said…

Kristofer, I wonder if you have checked out the Compose Forum? (not to be confused with this one, obviously). I looked at them but did not join, not wanting to spread myself too thin. Also, a preliminary perusal left me feeling that they were a bit condescending and judgmental. Here is the link:

At 11:48pm on July 25, 2013, michael diemer said…

Although on second thought, there is much organ music that has more active lines. I think though that the harmonies may be closer in these cases, than what you have put together here. One other thought, the section toward the end presented a nice contrast, with its quieter, more restrained material.

At 11:43pm on July 25, 2013, michael diemer said…

Just listened to your Canon. Your expertise in counterpoint is again in evidence. Now, while I'm no expert on organ music (although I like it very much, and had the pleasure once of attending a live performance of "Pipe Dreams" with Michael Barone, in Lewiston, Maine), I think I can tell this may have been written by a harpsichordist. OK, I already knew that. but I thought it a bit choppy, in a way it wouldn't have been on that instrument. Where the harpsichord doesn't sustain, thus lending itself to frequent tonal motion, the organ of course does sustain, lending itself to longer, more drawn-out lines. Does this make sense?

At 11:28pm on July 25, 2013, michael diemer said…

Thanks for listening. I'm not sure about keeping the intro, with the horn intoning the basic theme. The only difference, of course, between the two phrases of this solo is the last note. The first phrase ends as if with a question, while the second answers with the tonic, and the entrance of the accompanying instruments. Perhaps if the two solo phrases were different instruments?

At 9:26pm on July 25, 2013, michael diemer said…

I didn't see your comment on my recent post till now. Because it's full orchestra, it gets up to 7mb and then some pretty fast, so I put it on my page. I tried lowering the compression on the mp3, but the drop in quality was too much, again considering that it's orchestral. Things need to be clear or the effect is ruined. So, no, it's not intended to be finished, and yes, please give any feedback you might have. This is going to be an ongoing problem for me, as so far I only write for orchestra. I contacted administration, but their response was too just degrade the sound. But that's not really fair. Others don't have to do that for their music, why should I have to do it for mine?

At 9:03am on July 7, 2013, Bob Porter said…

Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the organ piece you posted a few weeks ago. Although it did challenge my tiny, forum induced 7 mb mind.

Profile Information

What have you composed for? Or what medium do you work around?
What is your favorite genre or style of music?
fugal-contrapuntal psycho-delia and gangster rap
Is music your main income source?
No - Not at all.
Where do you live?
Virgo Supercluster. Love the view!
About Me (Must include biographical information about you as a composer):
Perplexed embryonic intellect.Lately, I've grown increasingly suspicious that spontaneous symmetry breaking might be a metalogical fallacy. Sometimes I lie quietly in a dark closet and pretend I'm a turnip.



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