Music Composers Unite!
The thirty-seven pieces above, comprise midi, electronic, and acoustic music. I play drums on all versions of 3457 (as a polytempic construct beginning with a "head" motif comprising the time signatures 3, 4, 5, and 7, all with a common downbeat, resulting in essentially a multiple tempi composition where time is layered, and then, isolated and explored in that particular tempo until the motif returns), Wild Drum Tail, Alien Music, which is a polytempic and polymicrotonal version of 3457, and San Pedro. San Pedro features a processed piano and unprocessed drumset. The Sax pieces were recorded live at CSULA in 2002-2003. Saturn Eats His Child was recorded at the midwest composer's forum at Bloomington, Indiana, in 2007. Piano Collection #2 was also recorded live at CSULA. There is humor in my music. There is always feeling. This represents my first phase and the beginning of my second phase of composition. Andante Democratico has a few performance errors, but I don't mind since the basic feeling is there. Iraq is an anti-war song with hard drums, like bombs, dropping on Iraq--just as is Drums of War. I am against war, unlike most Americans. Wild Drum Tail is a microtonal improv style piece utilizing 19 tone equal temperament and gamelan tunings pelog and slendro, and 12 TET. One can play guitar, or percussion, and drums over the tape/CD underlay featuring the aforementioned microtonal synths and a dozen percussion and African instruments. Please don't mind the string ensemble, it was an early piece and needs to be forgiven. The Mixed Trio and the Brass Quintet are midi realizations, even though the latter was transposed into the Sax Quintet, which was initially intended for brass. Unfortunately, I have had a hard time getting brass players to perform it due to its structural complexity.
Peter Thoegersen (1967)
Wild Drum Tail (polymicrotonal), 1999; Agony and Bliss, 1998/2007; Alien Music, 2002 (polytempic); Gorgeous Monstrosity, 2005; Drums of War, 2006; Electric Cicadas, 2011; Soleil, 2011 (polymicrotonal); Peter, 2011 (microtonal); Sit Down, Shut Up (for solo Horn in simple overtone tuning w/MaxMSP), 2011; Bounced Around, 2012; Slings and Arrows II, 2012;
3:4:5:7 for Solo Drumset, 1995 (polytempic); Duet for Two Saxophones, 1998; Brass Quintet #1, 2002; Andante Democratico, 2002; Suite for Clarinet, Cello, and Drumset, 2002 (microtonal); Solo Clarinet in Bb, 2003; Piano Collection #2, 2003; Two Worlds: 2012: When Cosmic Cultures Meet, 2003 (polytempic and polymicrotonal); F5, 2005; Always Sleeping, 2005; Woodwind Quintet for Intermediate to Advanced Players, 2005; There's Nothing That Can't Be Done (Go 4 It Mother Fuckers!), 2005; Saturn Eats His Child, 2006; Piano Collection III, 2007-2010; Shut Up, Sit Down, for microtonal horn, 2011; PolyReinosaurus Rex, for bassoon and drumset, 2011 (still in progress); Jove Defeats Saturn, 2011, for polymicrotonal saxophone in 12, 19, 31, and 53 TET; Hypercube, 2012, polymicrotonal and polytempic string quartet set in four tempi and four tunings, 12, 19, 31, and 53 TET; String Quartet #3, 2013, set in four tunings and four tempi: 12, 13, 14, and 15 tone equal temperaments, with their related tempi matched to each tuning; Large Chamber Ensemble #4: a polymicrotonal work in four simultaneous tempi, in 36, 48, 60, and 84 tone equal temperaments, and their concomitant tempi, 2013, (still in progress)
Mikrokomplexmos, 2006-present (graded rhythmic studies in nested rhythms, irrational meters and polytempic polymicrotonality);
Peter Thoegersen (b. 1967) is a drummer/composer from Los Angeles, where he studied drumming formally with Tony Columbia and Freddie Gruber. Thoegersen has performed with many jazz acts and rock bands in the Southern California area. Thoegersen holds a Bachelors of Arts in Electronic Music from California State University at Dominguez Hills and a Masters in Music Composition from California State University at Los Angeles. Thoegersen has just completed his DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, May, 2012, with a thesis written on Polytempic Polymicrotonal music, of which a string quartet named Hypercube, and a solo saxophone solo, Jove Defeats Saturn, in four different temperaments, are demonstrations.
POLYTEMPIC POLYMICROTONAL MUSIC (1985-present)--A Natural Extension From the Drumset
(I consider my style to be called Absurd Maximalism. How far can the ear stretch?)
Peter Thoegersen has had a vision of music inspired by 4-way total independence from the perspective of the drumset, an instrument that has not yet been canonized by classical/new music circles. The drumset is still seen and used in its primary function as a "beat box", rather than as a viable and sensitive musical instrument of deep power and expressiveness. The drumset is also inherently contrapuntal and is easily geared toward polyphonic writing; the instrument itself, if seen objectively, is always playing classic fugal rhythms--the rock beat. But when taken out of the beat category, the instrument is a wonderful organism. Why hasn't the drumset been liberated? Stuart Saunders Smith is among the very few composers who first began drumset liberation-- but it never quite caught on, except for isolated instances, such as Frank Zappa's Black Page. Drummers do not think like percussionists. The drumset is a very linear instrument that translates well to polyphonic lines. Polymetrics and Polyrhythms, when taken to their logical extreme, can easily become Polytempic and especially when considering designing a piece of music one takes into account the individual performer's dexterity and ear-training.
Drums themselves have an imprecise pitch, so existing melodically, outside the tyranny of 12-TET, is also not such a stretch. The drum tones themselves are composed of inharmonic overtones, lending themselves quite deliciously to microtonality. From there, why not polymicrotonality? As a matter of fact, what ISNT Polymicrotonal?
Ein bischen Spass...
Music theorists always pride themselves on how music relates to nature. Spectralists use a Fast Fourier Transform to discover which partials are present above the fundamental tone produced by any instrument. The concomitant pitches are thereby used as pitch materials for their pieces: nature gives credence for this technique. Common practice music relied on the logic of falling fifths, the second most important interval in the harmonic series: nature, again. Well, what about rhythm? How come rhythm is never used as a platform with regard to nature? Because it is way too arbitrary, and composer/theorists need something other than predilection, or intuition, to give meaning to their music, which is in itself absurd, since music is a creative act and meaning is entirely subjective. Nevertheless, musicians, being mostly conservative in nature, always feel that mother nature will help win their argument (even though there really is no argument) for them: "See? it's in that tree! (Fibonacci Series) So it's gotta be LOGICAL!!" (ultimately, nature validates the necessity of all musical invention!)
If this is the case, then we must turn our heads to nature once more and look at how time behaves in the universe. Michiu Kaku has released a YouTube video describing how even the 5 to 6 feet the human body rises above the ground, causes a discrepency in the flow of time: your head is actually younger than your feet!! Therefore, the question as to whether or not there Is one continuous never-ending flow of time has been proven false. There are many infinite flows of time in the universe! And yes, time does speed up and slow down (the Shapiro Time Delay) with respect to the gravitational curves in the universe due to black holes and space bodies, and even Earth bodies!
Or is time related to entropy and that it will decay into chaotic poly-strands traveling at variegated speeds? Or is time just a function of the big bang, and that as the universe expands, faster and faster, time is actually speeding up? Or ultimately, is time inseparable from consciousness? Is consciousness time dependent? Does consciousness collapse probability waves into actuality? If that is the case, are phenomena existent via a top-down causality? Or are things determined via the classical bottom-up causality, where everything then becomes more or less predetermined and mechanistic (Newtonian)? I feel that music is just decorated time. The more we understand about time through physics and consciousness, the greater our artistic input will be. Newer theories regarding time indicate the potential for time to be granular--that time is composed of tiny pieces growing out of the past. Then is time possibly discontinuous? Or, like EM energy, is time both corpuscular and wavelike? If that is the case, then, is consciousness both a wave and a particle? These are not trivial questions since music lies inside of time and paints it from the inside. Music equals time via consciousness.
Questions can be asked ad infinitum, but three things remain: that there is a case for variable time in nature, that this should satisfy academics, and that we are at the beginning of a new musical paradigm shift, very much akin to the Renaissance and the discovery of 3-D art and its impact and introduction upon polyphonic music. Total independence of parts seems to be fore-running and anticipatory to what is coming down the road: a new way of thinking about music-- a paradigm change.
We are at a cross-roads now where we need to start thinking "four-dimensionally" about true three-dimensional music. Henry Brant and his spatial approach is one excellent example. Are we not now at a new Renaissance? Computers have only recently become our new tool enhancing our vision into a quasi 4-D way of seeing--just as "perspective" lifted art out from two-dimensional egg tempera icons over 500 years ago.
In addition to poly-tempicism, why not add more flavor by exploding the whole pianistic 12-TET conception out the window? Who needs it? Why not have each voice in a different tuning? Ugly? Says who? The art world would have exploited this long before Jean Etienne-Marie, who is all but forgotten. Perfect pitch will become an absolute hindrance and music of this type will be unlike anything we could imagine. In fact, Edgard Varese wanted a continuous pitch spectra. He was a seer. Academia should be teaching quartertone harmony AND eartraining by now. It's nearly 2012. What's holding us back?
The first polytempic-polymicrotonal work was created by Charles Ives in his Universe Symphony, with its many levels of temporal variations and its several competing tunings--a total potpourri of deliciousness--realized by Johnny Reinhard. Subsequently, already into the 21st century, polymicrotonal and polytempic music are STILL, on the fringe.
A Vision for Solo Drumset in 21st century music:
The solo drumset, at 2009, is still considered a bastard in new music circles. Stuart Saunders Smith began writing music for solo drumset a few decades ago, yet it never gained a foothold in new music. The reason is that most composers are not drummers and the drumset is much too foreign an organism for pianists (the basic de facto standard instrument for composing). Most composers, including drummers, write beats for drumset as its main function. Beats may, or may not, be considered legitimate new music material, but the potential for the drumset is greatly reduced by thinking that the only function for drums is strictly for beats. Drums are capable of a greater nuance and expression than stand-up percussion because drummers focus on, and dedicate their whole body! --which is exclusive to playing only the drumset. There is no "jack-of-all-trades" grandiosity in drums as there is with percussion. The feet are also involved. The entire human body acts as one united army of dexteric potential. Look at Terry Bozzio! He has gone and done it and he is also totally ignored by the classical music establishment, including the new music circles. Didn't we already go over this last century? Wasn't it Edgard Varese's Ionisation that gave new life and viability to drums and percussion? Why are we still there? Music historians and theorists must be the common denominator; individuals who are steeped in academia and are highly conservative and who are incapable of seeing what stands right before them.
Solo drumset (yes, all by itself); Solo drumset and sequenced materials; Solo drumset and CD; Solo drumset with interactive computer (maxMSP); Solo drumKat (electronic drumset) and interactive computer; etc.
These possibilities enable the drummer/composer to become totally independent of other musicians. These possibilities can be performed in various settings: coffee houses, college auditoriums, clubs, concerts, etc.