Over the past several years I have been working on
a new compositional form I have come to call the Wordless
Mantra. Take the intricacy of a fractal image, blend
it with the hypnotic simplicity of repeating syllables,
or in this case repeating melodic phrases, and you begin
to approach the concept behind the Wordless Mantra.
The beauty of a fractal image emerges from the organic-like
interplay of repeating graphic elements, each of which
is made up of smaller scale replicas of similar elements,
which in turn are made up of yet smaller scale replicas
of the same elements, and so on. Together, these “elements
within elements” unite to form an intriguing and
visually satisfying whole.
In the Wordless Mantra a single repeating melodic
phrase in one part is juxtaposed against several other
parts consisting of iterations of the same phrase, except
that in each new part the phrase is altered in its timeframe,
pitch level, tonal color, or some combination thereof.
When the various parts are played together a whole new
musical texture develops – one that attains an individuality
that extends beyond merely the sum of its parts.
Similar to the fractal image, it is the interplay between
the various repeating elements that give each piece its
character. And like the fractal it is the human intervention
with respect to color interpretation that transforms formula
into art. As with the verbal mantra, the repetitive quality
of the music can easily invoke a meditative or contemplative
state in the listener. Thus the Wordless Mantra
can be listened to on a number of different levels; intently
as one would listen to jazz or classical, or atmospherically
as one would with ambient music playing quietly in the