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Production Information "Prime"Produced by Andy Suzuki & Nick Manson All compositions by Andy Suzuki (Onymous Music/ASCAP) 2. Machine Language (8:13) Total time (56:17) Andy Suzuki - Tenor, Alto , Soprano Saxes, Flute
I wanted to combine my interest in composition and my fascination with numbers. The process began with the decision to only use prime numbers (I'll explain what they are later). Each tune would represent a different prime number. I decided on the general shape of the CD very early on, where the up-tempo tunes should be, where things need to cool out with a ballad, etc. I chose to work with the numbers; 2,3,5,7,11,13, and 17, also being a prime number of songs total. I used these numbers as building blocks for many of the structures in my tunes, both in common and in some unexpected ways. The idea was to come up with a number-based structure to work from. With all the pegs in place the final step was to actually compose the individual pieces. In the past, I've written tunes one at a time and assembled them together for an album. This time I took a reverse approach, starting with the blueprints, constructing each structure based on the given prime number, and finally filling in the musical details, like interior decorating. The hardest part was keeping an eye on the big picture and trying to compose all seven tunes sort of at the same time.
All the numbers from one to infinity can be grouped into two categories; Prime and Composite. Before defining these let's look at some numbers and their factors. 1=(1x1), 2=(2x1), 3=(3x1), 4=(4x1 and 2x2), 5=(5x1), 6=(6x1 and 3x2), 7=(7x1), 8=(8x1 and 4x2 and 2x2x2), 9=(9x1 and 3x3), 10=(10x1 and 5x2). 11=(11x1). Do you notice that some are only divisible by the original number and 1, while others can be represented in more than one way?
Compositions can come about in many ways. When Let's look at some of the aspects of music that can be counted.
Please note: I use the words 'bars' and 'measures' interchangeably. You can count the number of: notes in a fragment of melody, notes in longer phrases, notes in the whole melody, the duration of individual notes, and most importantly, given some arbitrary starting point (say middle C) you could assign a number to any note based on which scale you start with. For example, (middle C = 0, C# = 1, D = 2, D# =3, etc.), so 5 would be equivalent to the note F. If a diatonic scale is used instead, C-major scale would be (C = 0, D = 1, E = 2, F = 3), so 5 would now be the note A.
Numbers can be assigned to many aspects of rhythm. The number of beats per measure, the number of measures in a phrase, the number of times the phrase is repeated. Some of the tunes on this record use this 'nested' approach. Note durations, spaces between notes, note-groupings, just about every aspect of rhythm is countable. If you are getting to the point where you are counting the number of musicians in the band, or the number of letters in the title of the song, you should take a break.
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