Mikel Kuehn - Works

Diaspora (1990), for 2 channel fixed media.

Program Note

Diaspora (from Greek meaning a scattering) was realized in the Eastman Computer Music Center in the fall of 1990. The work's structure is the result of a stochastic algorithm (generated by a computer program written in the C programming language) that recursively calculates a group of seven pitches so that successive instances contain a decreasing amount of common tones. This is achieved through a contrapuntal web of five chords expanding over 21 (6+5+4+3+2+1) variations. When the most disjunct moment is attained, common tones are again successively added and the structure is propelled to a final, compromising point (this is achieved through four chords embodying 15 (1+2+3+4+5) contracting variations). The music exists on two levels: the long, oozing, expanding and contracting chords are, on one strata, sustaining and continuously evolving into new timbres, while the same chords are rearticulated on another level with short, granular sounds. The rhythmic and dynamic values were derived through elements of chaos theory. Diaspora was realized using Barry Vercoe's Csound software synthesis language on a SUN 360 mini-computer.