This one note, or a moment of silence, comforts me. I work with very few elements – with one voice, with two voices. I build with the most. Arvo Part’s Fratres and his. Tintinnabuli Technique. By Rade Zivanovic. Supervisor. Knut Tønsberg. This Master‟s Thesis is carried out as a part of the education. Fratres by Arvo Pärt is one of my favourite pieces of music. The analytical meets the aesthetical as Pärt takes us on a meditative, harmonical.

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Many people who listen to Fratres find it repetitive or even boring at first. After a while, though, they start to unconsciously recognize some of the patterns in the music. In a sense, they develop an intuitive feeling for what comes next in the sequence. Then, if they are the inquisitive, puzzle-solving type of person, they will try to understand the patterns rationally as well. This gradual awakening, whether intended by the composer or not, is perhaps what fascinates me most about Fratres.

If you downloaded the SID file, note that there are two subtunes. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find my way to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises — and everything that is unimportant falls away.

If you enjoy solving puzzles, you may wish to search for these patterns yourself. In any case, I strongly recommend you to listen to the entire piece at least once before reading on. The overall structure of Fratres is simple: Vertically, the piece is divided into two drones an A frtres an E that last throughout the piecethree moving voices low, middle and high and prt percussion claves and bass drum.

Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” in Eight Versions

Horizontally, ten refuges separate nine segments. Each segment contains a series of chords arranged in some kind of harmonic progression. Between each pair of segments, a recurring, harmonically empty percussion motif — the refuge — offers a moment of contemplation before the next chord sequence. The following picture illustrates the fratrea and segments as a terribly long pedestrian crossing. Each segment can be further divided into two halves: The first half consists of falling chords, and the second half consists of rising chords.

Within each segment half, three fratrres combine to play a sequence of chords. Each sequence consists of eight different chords played in three different orders let’s call them bars. For instance, in the first half of the first segment, the eight chords are: Thus, in the first bar we get: In order to understand the algorithm frattres Fratres, we just need pary figure out how to form the eight chords that build up each segment half. That is what the remainder of this article will focus on.

This basically means that some voices are restricted to playing notes from a particular triad in Fratres this is the A minor triadwhile other voices play melodies.

The drones, A and E, are obviously only playing notes from the A minor triad. The middle voice in the chords is also restricted in this way, so it will only ever play A, C or E in some octave.


The high and low voices, however, play notes from the harmonic D minor scale. Note how the C sharp in the D minor scale contrasts with the C natural in the triad. The low voice starts at C. The high voice starts at E and is transposed one octave further up. For the eight falling chords the chords that build up the first half of the first segmenteach voice simply moves around afvo circle, counter-clockwise, until it completes a full revolution at the eighth chord.

For the rising chords, we do the same procedure clockwise. Much like the international date line in the pacific ocean, we add a seam, where the notes get transposed one octave. This will ensure that we end up where we started. To achieve symmetry, this is done when we’ve come exactly half the way around the circle, i. As mentioned, the middle voice will only play notes from the A minor triad.

Furthermore, the middle voice will by definition play in between the other two voices. But these constraints alone will not be enough to guide the middle voice, so instead we devise a new circle containing the three possible notes:.

We want the middle voice to sync up to the low and high voices after one complete revolution. Alas, three doesn’t divide seven, so we’re forced to have some sort of assymmetry in this circle. Why four consecutive C: We can only speculate, but my personal padt is this: The ethereal, timeless sound of this whole piece is partly due to the fact that it lingers somewhere in between A minor and Arvk major.

This delicate balance is maintained using the C natural from the triad and the C sharp from the melodic voices. By choosing to duplicate the C in the middle voice circle, one prevents the piece from tilting too far towards A major.

All right, but why not double the other C group, the one in the upper right part of the circle? If we did that, then the middle voice would end up playing C natural at the same time as another voice would be playing C sharp. That would be too dissonant. Just like the low and high voices, the middle voice traverses the circle counter-clockwise during the first half of a segment, and clockwise during the second half.


Fratres – Arvo Pärt Centre

Both these journeys begin at the indicated note, e. But this circle contains fourteen notes rather than seven, so the middle voice does not play its own retrograde in the second half like the low and high voices do. To get the low, middle and high voices for the following segments, we simply move each starting point two steps around the circle, in the counter-clockwise direction.

The following diagrams show the starting points for the falling and rising halves of segment number two. This rotation, two steps at a time, continues for the entire set of nine segments.

Thus, segments 1 and 8 will be identical, as will segments 2 and 9. I am not responsible for what people other than myself write in the forums. Please report any abuse, such as insults, slander, spam and illegal material, and I will take appropriate actions. Don’t feed the trolls. Discuss this page Disclaimer: Outstanding work, beyond words. Thanks for your wonderful page. I am completely amazed by Fratres and am listening to all the versions on my online frares service as the piece is new to me.


I see it is also your favorite piece.

Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” in Eight Versions – The Listeners’ Club

But when I looked it up on Wiki the text citing your analysis seemed a little dismissive of the piece where it says: Just wondering, your thoughts appreciated. Thank you for your kind response; it helps me understand this amazing music. Anonymous poster lft wrote: Thank you for this. I love your version above the actual concert version I found online – your version emphasizes the otherworldly chord progressions which I love the most about this piece. Especially the final part with the lowpass filter works very well.

I’ve never come across this in my readings about Part and I am very curious, it being one of my favorite pieces to listen to and play. Best to all, karl freefriends.

Very good mathematical description. I hear it in a concert at Lent. It goes very deep into heart if you hear it in a church Do you know something about the religious sense? You are completely awesome. Now just complete the arpeggios: It’s a violin playing what I suppose is the same theme but much faster on top of the theme you’ve got here. Now I want to find out all the other versions of this piece of music. I’m a little confused about the middle voice.

I’m trying to figure this out using your process. Everything makes sense, except for the how the middle voice progresses. How does it start?

I don’t see how the circle for the first segment and the notation line up. Thank you for this page! I came here as a result of this thread on reddit: I’m working on analyzing fratres as well, but I’m looking at the violin version.

Your page has been really helpful, and I see the chord progressions now but am having a hard time with finding the different voices since it’s just the violin in the beginning. Do you know how it’s laid out in the violin version?


Hi, this page is really helpful – thanks. I’ll be playing it in a concert and would like to include this information in my programme notes. Part is certainly one of my favourite composers, and this piece along with those on his ‘Miserere’ album really fratees a long way to showing his genius. I just want to extend my heartfelt thanks for this beautiful rendition of Fratres.

I would actually rank it right behind Shaham’s interpretation which I admire more than the ECM recording with Kremer – a blasphemy, I know. The 8-bit sound suits the music perfectly. I’ve been searching in vain for a guitar tabulature for Fratres, does anyone have a version? I’ve found some sheet music but I’m so bad at reading them, I can’t translate it reliably: