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Ziggurat

Randall Snyder, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

ZIGGURAT Invocation Level One Level Two Level Three Level Four Level Five Level Six-cadenza Level Seven The toccata-fantasy “Ziggurat” derives its structure from the Sumerian step-pyramid that in its most characteristic shape consisted of seven levels. While the exact function of the ziggurat is speculative, this work’s conception is that of an hierarchical ladder, each succeeding level demanding a higher degree of sensitivity culminating in a final initiatory test (cadenza) before admittance to the seventh level. “Ziggurat” consists of an opening invocation and seven sections that ascend through the organ’s four and one-half octave range in a general evolution from a simple to a more complex style culminating in the cadenza where moments from the lower levels are recalled. Generally each level grows faster and softer suggesting the purification of the initiatory process from coarse to fine vibrations. Much of the music employs repeated optional ostinato passages and is built around a modal organization using a different mode for each level, but all based on C as the final. “Ziggurat “ was written for Quentin Faulkner. duration: c. 10 minutes

Suggested Citation

Randall Snyder. "Ziggurat" 1985
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/randall_snyder/255

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