Co-citation Contour Maps and Aleatoric Space in Louis Couperin’s Unmeasured Prelude(s) in F Major
The Bayun manuscript of Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecin eschews a fixed ordering of movements in its presentation of musical materials. In place of what would seem a conventional order, the performer/organizer is confronted with a tabular index that groups movements by key (in ascending tonality) and then again by dance type and genre. Thus, from the immaterial space of the table (and the peculiar attribute of its multiple originals) the intrepid performer/organizer proceeds to arrange a possible version of a suite. This paper begins to explore the musical space of difference involved in such an active construction through an analysis of the two options for preludes given an F major centricity. By means of a graphical morphing technique (co-citation mapping) borrowed from contemporary architectural thought, the multiple choices are imaged as a single contour topology (or ‘skin’), allowing the analyst (or anyone else) to examine difference as a readily visible surface.
Michael Gardiner is a music theorist, laptop composer/improviser and a member of the inaugural cohort of Arts and Sciences Postdoctoral Fellows at Pitt. He received his doctorate from the New England Conservatory with an analytic dissertation on Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum. As a student of Japanese noh drama, Michael is currently researching the formal properties of tone-color transformations in the Kita school repertoire of noh plays.