My big creative project for the out west trip is to write a set of 25 short flute and guitar etudes that are based on the color hues of the rocks in Canyonlands National Park. I am using a program derived from the Munsell system that categorizes rocks based on RGB colors.
I used a twelve tone system that correlates to the number combinations from the RGB colors that as a result give a set of intervallic relationships for each etude’s color. Textures, timbres, and techniques are also assigned for different colors. For example red = trills, so any rock color that has a red hue will show up as trills in that etude. Black = whistle tones on the flute, yellow = ponticello on the guitar, etc.
So far, I am excited about how easy and stimulating it was to write these. I guess I am more like Stravinsky than I thought…I am using extreme limitations as an avenue for feeling creative freedom.
The environment here in Canyonlands is really inspiring as well. Today we were in a canyon that met up with another rock wall that circled around on itself. When I sang different intervals loudly at the base on the canyon there was about a three second echo that traveled all the way around the circle through the canyon walls. I plan to use that effect in on the etudes.