About my Research
This collection of original compositions reflects a common central theme: the sound-world, which in each case is the product of organised combinations of timbres.
Musical Timbre (or instrumental color, Klangfarbe, sound quality – there are many terms each with its own shade of meaning) has resisted the efforts of music theorists. Timbre has been used in too many contexts to mean too many different things. If it is used to refer to the identifying sound of a musical instrument, as it is in the original French usage, it would seem that we would have to conclude that an instrument – say a clarinet – has a single timbre. But of course instruments have different “qualities” or “colors” in their different registers – the clarinet even has names for its various registers.
Although timbre can assume multiple shades of meaning, I am pursuing it as an “auditory phenomenon” as Wayne Slawson highlights in association with sound colour (a subset of timbre) in his article, The Color of Sound: A Theoretical Study in Musical Timbre. In the context of the portfolio, this phenomenon is one that embraces the identifying sounds of individual musical instruments and sound modifications through variations of techniques, registers, dynamics and combinations thereof. Expressive narrative musical structures within the works are embodiments of the combinations of timbral modifications; the applications of orchestration and counterpoint effective within a sequence or phrase. These applications are control devices that are the fundamental means through which phrasing in the music is determined; shaped and characterised.
Timbre in my music is made explicit through applications of counterpoint and orchestration. For its part, counterpoint is a principal component of sonority in my work and is informed by the varying relationships of vertical and horizontal relationships of different intervals essentially realising different timbral results; individual intervals (diads), trichords and chords of which contain such facets as resonances. These resonances are features of timbre in my music and rely to a certain extent on stark contrasts as a device to position and delineate individual timbres (resonances) of intervals within a given harmonic context.
Intervals such as minor and major seconds and sevenths are incorporated to create tense combinations as opposed to perfect fourths, fifths and octaves which contribute relaxed, stable sonorities. These resonant features particular to the identity of individual intervals are amplified when dissonant intervals are closely arranged horizontally (melody) and/or vertically (harmony) with consonant and perfect intervals within a harmonic contextual setting. The intervals themselves generate distinct sonorous features within the fabric of the musical soundscape while the use of contrast as an amplification mechanism is directly conducive to the organisation of acoustic timbral designs. The pitch relationships throughout every piece in this collection are a facet carefully considered, however, they are not constituted as a prearrangement of relationships that were assimilated as in the twelve-tone system for example. Trichord and chordal combinations though are organised as part of a network of timbral effects.
Where orchestration is concerned, tone colour is realised and controlled by the selection and combination of instruments, registers, dynamic levels, and instrumental techniques. Organisations of these elements are ordered in the interest of colour modification. Just as counterpoint consists of intervallic relationships serving effectively as vessels for timbre, orchestration contributes the specific instrumental arrangements and techniques by which timbres are realised and distinguished. These two dominant, influential elements are therefore the primary devices by which the sound-worlds to which I have referred are made manifest. It is the collections of contrapuntal and orchestrational applications within phrases of which the expressive narrative devices are composed; a series of timbral elements within a composition that effectively shape the overarching sound-world.
I embrace sonority as a means for crafting an overarching sound-world within each piece, comprised of a series of harmonically arranged and/or orchestrated sound colours. My compositional methods employ timbre as a means by which content and form are realised. The processes involved aim to differentiate between timbres and their resonant affects. Timbre is treated as a foreground element and is not merely incidental but a significant concept of which was partially informed by the thinking of Varèse, although not in the same broad-frame approach as timbre here is limited within the context of my work. He states:
"The role of timbre would be completely changed from being incidental, anecdotal, sensual or picturesque; it would become an agent of delineation like the different colors on a map separating different areas, and an integral part of form". 
 Slawson, Wayne, ‘The Color of Sound: A Theoretical Study in Musical Timbre’, in: The Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 3, University of California Press, (Spring, 1981),
132-141 at 132.
 Varèse, Edgard and Wen-Chung Chou, The Liberation of Sound provides insight into the thoughts of Varèse on his own music. His particular approach to timbre informs
some of my own approaches to timbre. Regarding contrapuntal arrangements information can be found on page 12.
 Varèse, Edgard and Wen-Chung, Chou, ‘The Liberation of Sound’, in: Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Autumn – Winter, 1966), 11-19.