From The Book Of Songs

Research output: Non-Textual OutputComposition


From The Book Of Songs

Dr. Stace Constantinou

From The Book Of Songs is comprised of a collection of five songs, for solo soprano accompanied by electronic music. The aim was to bring together various elements of contemporary and earlier musical forms, realised using modern computer-aided methods.

This work combines mathemusical, lyrical, structural microtonal harmonic work, and dramatic soprano writing within the song-cycle genre. From the Book Of Songs was realised using computer generated sounds that realise the electronic music elements. The soprano writing was composed simultaneously with the electronic musical elements, using standard, as well as extended notation, including an innovative eight-line stave.

A unique structural microtonal harmonic field is firstly realised, using a patterning of the prime number sequence applied, using the nearest cent to the relevant one eighth-tone, using the harmonic series. This prime number harmonic field is most evident in the final song, ‘Small Stars’. Representing this prime number harmonic field required the devising of a unique eight-line stave, whereby each line denotes a sub-set of the overall partials derived from the number sequence.

The lyrical elements are inspired by a Chinese text of the same, in English: The Book Of Songs. These texts have been translated into English by a number of different authors.

Much of the music is produced using electronic piano-like sounds. This is partly in reference to the earlier form of the German Liederkries tradition, whose instrument of choice was often the pianoforte and solo voice. It is also due to the accuracy of the pitching of the piano-like timbres that facilitate an effective microtonal rendition.

The vocal writing includes dramatic and spoken voice passages. It also includes some extended vocal techniques, as well as a broad vocal range, making good use of the full register of the soprano part. The singer, as well as having to follow a nuanced microtonal harmonic field is also asked to sing using a variety of one eighth-tone pitches.

Constantinou, S., (2016) From The Book Of Songs: for solo soprano and electronic music. 68912 Records, London. Available online:
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Publisher68912 Records
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2016
EventColourscape 25th Birthday Concert: Saturday 20 September - Clapham Common, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Sep 201415 Sep 2014


  • Experimental Music
  • electronic
  • song-cycle


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