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Drew Flieder · Teloi


Program Note

After completing work on a theoretical treatise that presents a universal definition of structure, I became overwhelmed by many thoughts involving musical structure. I narrowed my focus to a study of rhythmic structure, and arrived at two insights: (1) a rhythm may be conceived either as a series of onsets or durations; and (2) if viewed as a series of onsets, then any onset rhythm may be "covered" by collections of its subrhythms (i.e., these subrhythms, when taken together, are equal to the initial onset rhythm). The guiding idea in Teloi is that each section consists of a “global” onset rhythm that gets repeated a certain number of times, with each repetition realizing a different way to cover the global rhythm. The idea is that, gradually, salient properties of the global rhythm, or ways of expressing it, become realized via the variation of its coverings.

The greek work “teloi” is the plural of “telos”, meaning a goal-oriented process whereby a thing realizes its essence. In this work, the thing whose essence is to be realized is the global rhythm, whereas the goal-oriented process is the variation of its coverings. That the processes of variation are goal-oriented means that the music is evolving to a determinate end. That the global rhythm remains invariant throughout the variations means that the music is unchanging. A new kind of temporality is therefore expressed in this work—one which is simultaneously static and dynamic.