Roland Karl Bryce Composer
Mulhadara (root support)
Septenary begins at the Muladhara, or base Chakra.The associated colour is red and the drone note is C
The ‘whirling wheel’ of energy is reported to be sited at the base of the spine at the position of the coccyx.
The movement has a stamping drum motif and the flute rises inexorably towards the highest aspect of the dominant key of G. The stamping ceases and the energy involves diaphragm vibrato and a subtle rise through harmonics to the concluding section. Breathing in deeply and chanting the keynote gently on exhalation and at a comfortable pitch should be easy enough as a method of meditation.
Swadhisthana (the residence of the self)
Swadhisthana is the ‘Sacral’ Chakra associated colour is orange and the drone note is D
The ‘whirling wheel’ of energy is reported to be sited at the base of the sexual organ along the spine in the ‘subtle body’.
Triplet rhythmic diaphragm huffed sustained notes in the melodic minor motif flow to a gigue. leads through the relative major and the dominant key of A. The boastful flute dives through scales and sings a charming song of youth and splendour, as the piano supports with ostinato triplets throughout. The concluding section resolves to major tonality, relaxes once more with a tierce de picardie
Manipura (the jewel city)
The Manipura Chakra (solar plexus chakra) associated colour is yellow and the drone note is E. The ‘whirling wheel’ of energy is reported to be sited at the navel region along the spine in the ‘subtle body’.
In composing this movement I recorded the sounds of the most gentle waves caressing along the flat white sand beaches of Bantayan, a little inhabited island in the Philippines. The melody is a meditation in its own right: simple, pure and breathes with the waves. The drone/chant plays a two-note ostinato E to B on a detuned viola. The Persian Santur provides question and answer accompaniment as the piece concludes it prayer.
The Anahata Chakra associated colour is green and the drone keynote is F. Major tonality was chosen to provide a melodic optimism for the movement, representing love and union of the male and female. Sited behind the heart, the Anahata pulls notes along the silver wire of the ‘subtle body’ each note merging in anticipation with the next, lingering and leaving with regret. The central section modulates to the dominant which once again is the keynote C. Subdominant B-flat also features in the harmonic tonality. There is no attempt to use dissonance here, the hearts are entrained and in love.
Vishuddha (especially pure)
The Vishuddha, or throat Chakra is sited in the base of the ‘subtle body’s’ throat. The drone note is G and the associated colour is blue. The scale pattern is a raga/mixolydian mode, blended: GABCDEFG. Each melodic statement is boastful, like a young person finding their voice at last and announcing their life views boldly. Indian drumming inspired pulses push the movement forwards with harmonics and higher melodic cries.
Ajna begins with a tuning fork in binaural panning.Tibetan bowls ring out the call to meditation at a higher level. We are at the Chakra of the 3rd eye. The drone note is A with distinct use of modulation to reinforce this tonal centre. A light choral strand leads us to the Ajna anthem pushed along with Persian Santur and Dulcimer.
A homage to Beethoven’s Opus 132 A minor quartet, this anthem, fills the 3rd eye with the Divine light.
The whirling wheel of Chakra energy is sited between the eyebrows behind it, along the ‘subtle body’ spinal column. The associated colour is indigo.
The whirling energy wheel of the Sahasrara, or crown Chakra is sited at the top of the head. The associated colour is violet.
The drone note here is finally, B, our 7th chosen pitch. In western academic music we call this the leading note in a melodic sense that it almost demands resolution to the full Octave: Low C to high C.
However this movement remains firmly on the node of B. Antiphonal temple gongs beckon the listener to enter a temple of the mind and the highest flutes ascend to the ceilings within through a repeated series of rising mixolydian modes. Further crystal glass sound designs lead us to the euphoric bliss of eternal peace with a gentle floating chorus surrounding all those who enter, with love.
Composed in 2012 and released under the 'nom de plume': Karl Meinhardt, Septenary is a full length concept album for solo flute and ‘World Music Ensemble’.
Santur, Asian percussion, Tibetan bells to name a few.
A first ‘live’ performance took place in October 2016 at the Friends Centre, Brighton. The parts were re-scored and included live ‘cello, piano, percussion and semi-chorus.
‘Septenary’ means literally, a group of 7 movements in this musical context.
Chakras are ‘subtle body’* energy wheels that rotate around specific points along its spinal column. No explanation is intended here. I am not an expert, however the music explores the idea of a focal 'key note', or drone note. Composers and commentators often integrate designs like this within their work and it soon becomes a unity that bonds to the sounds and nuances of the piece.
If nothing else, Septenary is a pleasant piece to listen to. It will not offend.
Septenary is available to buy online via
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