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A new method of composition for the 21st century Composer.

Polyphinite is an experiment in a new composition method that focuses on maximizing existing material within a composition. Each solo piece within the work, titled Polyphinite [S#], functions as a solo piece of music. For the second tier of compositions, the duet layer, a duet (designated as Polyphinite [D# - #] is comprised from two of each possible combination of the first tier, the solo layer. This composite is the result when performing two of the solo tier pieces at the same time, using the same time constraints. This pattern continues as far as the composer cares to go (my goal for this experiment being a quartet), yielding a final tier, Polyphinite X. This final tier can be simply at the duet level, if only two solos are written, or as far as an octet if eight unique solos are written in this manner. Using this method of composition, a composer could theoretically write a full band piece giving each performer a unique part that, in a smaller setting, would act as either a solo, or as part of a trio for timpani, flute, and Bass trombone. The more parts written yields more challenge to the composer, requiring higher and higher degrees of fine tuning and attention to detail.

Polyphinite, in simplest terms, is a new method I have developed for the writing of music in the twenty-first century as an extension to conventional contrapuntal methodologies. It acts as an extension to counterpoint, and works best when writing in a serial style, such as twelve-tone or Pitch-Class sets. With Polyphinite, I seek not to replace these long-standing methodologies as a tool, but to give a new perspective on the subject and take counterpoint to the Nth degree.

What is Polyphinite?

  • Acts as an Extension to Counterpoint
  • Encourages the use of serial technique as a means of creating music
  • Creates a set of works that are easily interchangeable within an ensemble type
  • Keeps performers engaged
  • Unifies a set of works that would otherwise come off disjointed and unrelated


Rules for Polyphinite

Rule 1: Polyphinite works should be composed for a minimum of two parts, up to the maximum instrumentation of a given traditional instrumental ensemble.

Rule 2: Each part must have an equal amount of time passage from beginning to end.

Rule 3: All elements of music, such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempos, and manifestations of these such as meter do not change for the individual parts.

Rule 4: Composers should seek balance between contrapuntal gestures and timbral/textural interactions found in the ensemble iterations, and the        individuality of solo gestures.

Rule 5: Electronic elements (such as a fixed media track) may be included, but must follow the same rules as instrumental solo works given above.

Training Addendum
Rule 6:
 The focus should be on creating a strong set of solos, and focusing on the largest ensemble.


Potential Issues

  • It would be beneficial to compose all solo/ensemble variations alongside each other to remove the need for complete overhauls.
  • extended technique
  • Expressive text and tempo variance can help in giving performers the a
  • It can easily sound mechanical at times if the composer isn't careful.
  • Meter


Work page: