Koepf's EditionsCompositions – Multispin

for Player Piano

Siegfried Koepf 2014

Program note

Imagine a complex machine: A large number of symmetrical disks of various shapes and sizes are rolling over the keyboard of a piano simultaneously, whereby single keys are struck by the individually contoured edges of the disks. This image may serve to give an approximate illustration of the musical process at work in Multispin. As the process takes place in several layers at the same time, the overlapping of these layers generates polyphony of substantial complexity.

While the resulting rhythmic and harmonic relationships can hardly be called rational anymore, the clarity of the absolute regularity in which each individual structure is unfolding is never completely concealed.

The concept by which the symmetrical structures heard here are constructed has an impressively long tradition in the history of ornamental art forms. It took until the 19th century, though, until a theory was developed that can be used to describe these structures: the mathematical theory of groups. Amongst other things, group theory allows for a complete enummeration of symmetrical possibilities within a given spatial configuration, which is of central importance in Multispin.

From the program booklet of Computing Music IX – Historic Reference, 2014.12.07, Cologne, Alte Feuerwache