"4 IMIX" (2001)

for saxophone quartet and tape

"4 Imix" is the name of the 121st day in the ritual calendar of the Mayas. The liturgical year of the Mayas consisted of twenty cycles, each of them thirteen days long, and had 260 days in all. It was based on an ever repeated series of twenty days and their unchanging names. Twenty different hieroglyphics were connected with these twenty names of days. The actual calligraphy of these hieroglyphics varied from inscription to inscription. Because of their sacral character they were directly or indirectly associated with gods, animals or sacred objects to which people prayed. Each of the days in the religious calendar was associated with the symbol, the varying numbers one to thirteen. In turn, the numbers were associated with the thirteen gods of the so called Upper World which determined the fortunate or the unfortunate character of the individual days.
In the first cycle at the beginning of the year the first day had the number 1, the second day the number 2, the thirteenth the number 13, but for the fourteenth day stood the number 1, for the twentieth the number 7. Only after a period of 260 days (13 x 20) were the counting of the numbers and the days identical; the first day of the cycle of days - the Imix - once again had the number 1. Each day of the liturgical year could be notated with a symbol for its name and a number within the cycle of thirteen days. This was sufficient to clearly determine any day of the sacral calendar.

In the mystical thinking of the Mayas and the other peoples of Central America who had a similar religious calendar, time was divided into a scheme of 260 days which varied between good and bad fortune. Each day of the year had its own ritual meaning. The future of each individual was determined by the benevolent or the malevolent character of the day of his birth.

This composition uses the global form of 20 parts, each one having 13 bars - and consisting of 260 equal time structures for the saxophone quartet (4/4, tempo MM=72). Thirteen different chords permute in the order 1-2-3, 3-4-5, 5-6-7 ... during the piece. Rhythmical objects are constructed out of computer-analysed patterns and their variations which are results of the spoken word "Imix." With the help of algorithmic real-time patches (MAX program) some musical phrases between 1 and 13 events have been calculated as melodic base lines for each instrument. The tone material consists of the symmetrical tuning found in open pan flutes (with more than five tones) in the Northwest of South America in the territory of the Inkas and is unchangeable.

On the tape (2 channel) there are electronically manipulated sounds of a contemporary folksong from Central America and a virtually played (and abstracted) original song of the Mayas (G. Baqueiro Foster "Revista Musical Mexicana Nr. 1," Mexico 1942).