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"Layered Hexachords"

Title Layered Hexachords
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Studio Orchestra
DateFebruary 2023
StyleSynthesizer and Orchestral Music
Tempo140 BPM


A musical score excerpt
  • Woodwinds: Piccolo, Flute 1-2, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Bass Clarinet;
  • Brass: Horn in F 1-2-3, Trombone 1-2, Bass Trombone;
  • Percussion: Drum Set (EDM Kit);
  • Keyboards: Piano, Synthesizer 1-2-3, Synthesizer Bass;
  • Strings: Solo Violin, Violins, Cellos, Double Basses.


YouTube video of the Layered Hexachords: Combining PC-Set and Schillinger System Composition Techniques tutorial This composition 'Layered Hexachords' is the example for a YouTube video tutorial about sketching music with Pitch-Class Sets, using techniques from the Schillinger System of Musical Composition. Here is the YouTube link: Layered Hexachords: Combining PC-Set and Schillinger System Composition Techniques (33:58).

  • Two six-element pitch-class sets, 6-Z12 = {0,1,2,4,6,7} = [332232] with maximum dissonance and 6-Z49 = {0,1,3,4,7,9} = [224322] with maximum consonance are the building blocks.
  • The piece is subdivided into 10 sections.
  • Harmony is based on subsets, such as major and minor triads S(3p)={SM,Sm}, the 4-25, 4-26 and 4-27 tetrachords, and continuities with the hexachords in original and inversion form.
  • The composition demonstrates voicing alternatives in variable density and strata harmony setting (two and three layers), pedal point (single and double pedal point, lead and bass part), and progressions with chromatically moving middle parts.
  • Melodic material is based on various scale expansions and melodic axes. Rhythm is partially based on a Euclidean rhythm rE(7,32)=5t+4t+5t+4t+5t+4t+5t.
  • The audio rendering of the Cubase 12 / Vienna Ensemble Pro 7 Midi mockup uses Modartt Pianoteq, Aaron Venture Infinite Woodwinds and Brass libraries, Audio Modeling SWAM solo violin, and Sample Modeling Ensemble Strings. Synthesizers are from the EastWest Forbidden Planet, Native Instruments Komplete (Absynth, DX7, FM8, Massive) and Arturia Virtual Collection (ARP2600, Mini Moog, Pigments, SEM). The drum sounds are produced with Native Instruments Battery 4 (EDM Kit). Effect plug-ins are Steinberg stock, FabFilter, LiquidSonics, Valhalla DSP, and Nugen Audio.

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