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Saturday, January 30, 2016 8:00 pm Littlefield Concert Hall

Mills Performing Group:

William Winant

a propositional cosmology activated in music for percussion and algorithmic instruments with auxiliary keyboard and glissando parts

William Winant: solo percussion
David Rosenboom: electronics, piano, violin
Jinku Kim: video performance

Part I
The Winding of a Spring
a) The Stochastic Part
b) The Tripartite Structure

Part II
Closed Attracting Trajectories
a) Melody Set 1
b) Melody Set 2

Part III
Given the Senses the Real Pregeometry

Part IV
Epigenesis, Ontogenesis, Phylogenesis, Parthenogenesis

Part V
The Buckling of a Spring

David Rosenboom

Zones of Influence is a propositional cosmology activated in music. It is an example of propositional music, a point of view about composing in which composers might build proposed models of worlds, universes, evolution, brains, consciousness or whole domains of thought and life, and then proceed to make dynamical musical embodiments of these models, inviting us to experience them in spontaneously emerging sonic forms. My process for composing Zones of Influence in the early 1980s involved building such models with the idea that once built, they would be activated by the gloriously unpredictable virtuosity of a master performer. Everything was to be energized in vigorous live performance. So, the models became instruments.

The propositional models in Zones of Influence explore ideas about evolution and morphogenesis, thresholds of perception crossed when things transform themselves into other things, the nature of predictability and what it means to know something about a physical system and the dynamical nature of catastrophic change.

Among the many elements of musical language heard in the dynamical models of Zones of Influence, musical shapes are always prominent: shapes heard as melodies, shapes describing changes in speed, space and time, shapes in the microcosms of sound waves and the macro-forms of whole movements, the shapes of transforming functions that bend sound waves and musical forms into new sounds and forms, the shapes of probability rhythms that govern likelihoods for things happening and the shapes of glissandi swirling in a counterpoint matrix. Allthese shapes are related to each other. Most are derived from transformations of just two, freely composed, 60-note melodies, called the Origin Melody and Target Melody, which act as musical DNA for the entirety of Zones of Influence. All in all, 306 interrelated melodies appear, and every one results from some way of transforming the contours of the Origin Melody into those of the Target and vice versa. In the counterpoint structures of Zones of Influence shapes upon shapes emerge and intertwine up and down a holarchy of musical forms.

Some of these shapes are smooth, with only subtle changes appearing from shape to shape and sounding close to each other. Some are jagged, with mutated shapes moving far away from and bearing only distant, perceived relatedness to either the Origin or Target. This world of shapes led me to construct a system of counterpoint, within which the shapes are combined and recombined, like vines or veins intertwining, sharing features that refer to one another or to the Origin and Target. This sonic recombination produces newly emerging musical entities, and for this performance, Jinku Kim has added visual interpretations of this recombinant counterpoint. I hope that joyful musical explorers, active creative listeners, will find endless discoveries awaiting them in the fabric of this musical space. Zones of Influence is, most of all, an invitation to enjoy listening like a pioneer.


Zones of Influence was written during 1984 and 1985 for William Winant. We premiered the various parts of Zones of Influence in succession, as they were completed, and subsequently performed them all in many concerts in the U.S. and Canada for about ten years. At that time, the electronic parts were realized with the Touché, a digital keyboard instrument developed by Donald Buchla and myself in 1979. The interactive technology required to realize Zones of Influence has evolved through several iterations. The version offered today is the first that finally realizes all aspects of the propositional musical model I envisioned in the mid-1980s. Music technologist, Martijn Zwartjes, collaborated with me to create a new synthesis instrument, which we call the Touché II. I have used a variety of software tools over the years to develop the algorithmic compositional models.

Zones of Influence has been released on a double-CD with an extensive program booklet by Pogus Productions.

David Rosenboom Lecture

Zones of Influence, Part I audio excerpt
Zones of Influence, Part V audio excerpt

Read the biographies


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Keywords: Mills College

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