[Smt-talk] fw: Lindberg mode

Anton Vishio ajvishio at gmail.com
Fri Jan 18 13:38:55 PST 2013

Dear Jonathan,

I happened to have a copy of the Slonimsky Thesaurus lying around when I
saw this email and checked to see if the scale is there - his category of
"diapente progressions" features a variety of scales that replicate their
interval patterns at successive perfect fifths.  The specific scale you
mention doesn't appear - here Slonimsky stops short of the "interpolation
of four notes" between the P5 nodes that would be needed to generate the
complete pattern - but he does have several partial matches on pages
127-129 within his three-note interpolations:

scale 947 (C C# D E G G# A B D etc.)
scale 948 (C C# D F G G# A C D etc.)
scale 958 (C D E F G A B C D etc.)

(only this latter gets a name, not surprisingly - the "Disjunct Major

Given this, had Slonimsky gone on to compile four-note interpolations
replicating every P5, I imagine that the mode you describe would have

I don't know if Lindberg talks about Slonimsky anywhere, and of course he
could well have developed the scale independently; Lindberg could also have
come to Slonimsky through encounters with various works of John Adams.

In any case, I'll be very interested to see what you find out about the
prehistory (if any) of the mode and Lindberg's use of it.

Anton Vishio
University of San Francisco (part-time)

On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM, Daphne Leong <daphne.leong at colorado.edu>wrote:

> I'm forwarding the following query at the request of my colleague Jonathan
> Leathwood:
> I'm currently working on a long guitar piece by Magnus Lindberg from 2004
> called *Mano a Mano*. I have a little familiarity with some of his
> earlier music and the influence of the spectralists is very obvious to the
> ear, and there is some literature about that. So far, however, I don't see
> much in the guitar piece in common with those works: in fact, I would never
> have guessed they were by the same composer. Instead, I see that the guitar
> piece it is mostly based on a curious mode that runs (in semitones)
> <11212…>, repeating the pattern every perfect fifth. For example: <C, C#,
> D, E, F, G, G#, A, B, c, d, eb, e, f#, g, a…>.
> Lindberg often uses common segments with other more common modes to switch
> back and forth. It turns out that the repeating pattern yields all pcs of
> the aggregate within a span of 22 semitones, and so he sometimes suggests
> other modes by selecting only the relevant pcs while allowing the governing
> mode to constrain the spacing. Finally, the mode is rich enough that you
> can write interesting music by choosing only the common tones between two
> of its transpositions, something I've noted in one passage so far.
> My question is simply whether you have encountered this mode -- perhaps
> it's quite well known and I just haven't seen it before. One thing I wished
> I had was a good labeling convention for it.
> __________________________________________________________________________
> Daphne Leong Daphne.Leong at colorado.edu
> Associate Professor, Music Theory tel: (303) 492-4337
> Chair, Theory and Composition fax: (303) 492-5619
> University of Colorado at Boulder
> College of Music,  301 UCB
> Boulder, CO  80309-0301
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