Interval Cycles, Their Permutations and Generative Properties in Thomas Ades’ Asyla

This document is part of my doctoral dissertation, albeit a brief one, from 2005, discussing the ways in which Thomas Ades uses interval cycles to generate material and form throughout his seminal work for orchestra, Asyla.  This paper goes into significant detail about the structures involved in the first two movements of Asyla, and touches on issues of compositional decision-making, self-reference, etc.

The paper hones in specifically on how Ades uses interval cycles to generate material on the local level, that is, in terms of motives, short phrases, and slightly larger sections encompassing a number of bars.  Toward the end, I do touch on how interval cycles affect the global aspects of the composition, though this is something that needs to be fleshed out and requires a thorough analysis of movements three and four, which are not represented here.  What I hope will be clear is that interval cycles operate significantly throughout the piece in generating most of the primary material.

The paper has been cited in several dissertations, as well as Miguel Roig-Francoli’s recent book, Understanding Post-Tonal Music, McGraw-Hill, 2007.

To request a copy of the paper, please contact the composer directly.