The genesis of structure: A narrative description of F. Romitelli’s Yellow, Green and Blue


The genesis of structure: A narrative description of F. Romitelli’s Yellow, Green and Blue
Colloque International : De Xenakis à nos jours : Le Continuum et son développement en musique et en architecture


In this paper I will present an analysis of Fausto Romitelli’s piece Yellow, Green and Blue aiming for the realization of the driving forces that forge the structural shape of the piece. I will primarily focus on selected concepts and ideas that could shed light on a more thorough understanding of such musical forces that not only affect the shaping of the musical form but could possibly suggest a more crucial reasoning on the understanding and listening experience of the piece. In addition to that I will address the question of syntactic coherence and sonic unity in a work of such plasticity, where discrete units such as motive, phrase, etc. are not particularly helpful terms in a sonic landscape which has to do more with sculpting of large masses of sound. F. Romitelli describes characteristically: “At the center of [his] composing lies the idea of considering sound as a material into which one plunges in order to forge its physical and perceptive characteristics: grain, thickness, porosity, luminosity, density and elasticity. Hence it is sculpture of sound, instrumental synthesis, anamorphosis, transformation of the spectral morphology, and a constant drift towards unsustainable densities, distortions and interferences, thanks also to the assistance of electro-acoustic technologies”.

The theoretical background of my analysis is intertwined with the ideas of Ms. Livia Theodorescu-Ciocanea that are thoroughly presented at her paper titled as “Timber Versus Spectralism. Ms. Theodorescu-Ciocanea describes nine different compositional tendencies in Spectral Music: Spectralism as timbral metaphor, mimetic Spectralism, Spectralism as heterophony, Spectralism and modality, Spectralism as an archetypal approach, etc. Considering such tendencies as an important point of departure, I created a theoretical - empirical model of analysis for the better comprehension and interpretation of the sounding components and gestural interconnections in Romitelli’s music.

My model comprises three hierarchical levels. The first level, “Pitch context /Harmony”, deals with the identification of pitch complexes and/or harmonic fields, intervallic schemas and the interaction of the harmonic and inharmonic spectra of the piece. The second level, “Motion/Procedure or (Musical Operations)” illustrates the means that determine the “behavior” and the shaping – pacing, formation – of the sound. The combination of the aforementioned is interpreted, in level III, as “Musical gesture”. I consider this to describe the shaping and directionality that the “sound energy” takes, in the micro and macro structural levels on the piece. Consequently, the proposed analytical discourse highlights the subtle transition from the harmonic-inharmonic elements through the way that they are formulated and shaped, leading to their sonic depiction and/or gestural formation reaching finally their structural instantiation into the music. The ultimate goal is the internal analysis and understanding of the gestural forces, their imminent effect on the sound and structure resulting in the formation and realization of larger structural levels of the piece. Each level of my analytical model will contribute to the broaden clarification of all the sonic/gestural events highlighting the reasoning behind the sonic energy that formulates the global structural shape of the piece.


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Centre Iannis Xenakis
European University of Cyprus
University of Cyprus
Université de Rouen
École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Normandie (Darnétal, Seine-Maritime)


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Dimou, Stylianos. Conférencier et European University of Cyprus, “The genesis of structure: A narrative description of F. Romitelli’s Yellow, Green and Blue,” Centre Iannis Xenakis., consulté le 13 avril 2024,