robert e. thomas

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Program Note
Score Samples & Sound Clips

Tetractys, for Chamber Orchestra, was completed in the Summer of 2006. The Tetractys, also known as the decad, is a triangular figure consisting of ten points arranged in four rows: one, two, three, and four points in each row (see below). The Tetractys and the number 10 were particularly important to the Pythagoreans and early music theory. The ratios contained within the Tetractys form the Perfect Intervals (1:2=P8; 2:3=P5; 3:4=P4) - the only intervals considered harmonius by the ancient Greeks.

While this piece is not formally a tetractys, there was much usage of 4's, 3's, 2's and 1's and the concept of 'ten-ness' in its composition. The work's four large sections are 4 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, and 3 minutes, respectively - they are delineated orchestrationally. Each contains four subsections, which are divided in similar temporal proportions as well as being delineated by the number of simultaneous presentations of 12-tone rows.

Tetractys was first performed in the Summer of 2006 at Bard College.

Approx. Duration = 10:00

A Tetractys:


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Score samples:
Page 1 (pdf)
Page 19 (pdf)
Page 29 (pdf)

Sound Clips:

Clip 1 (Streaming RealAudio) [Opening 1:33]
Clip 2 (Streaming RealAudio) [2:18]
Clip 3 (Streaming RealAudio) [1:23]

Download RealAudio Player here