Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Michael Owcharuk


For this installment of the Racer Sessions, I will be presenting my String Quartet #1: The Upward Spiral performed by Paris Hurley and Alex Guy (violins), Heather Bentley (viola), and Maria Scherer Wilson (violoncello). 

This string quartet is in three movements and was written using the principals of the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Sequence. I used these ideas to create the forms, rhythmic structures, and even intervalic relationships in the melodic content. 

During the compositional process I developed a matrix of sorts as a frame-work, then went back and started filling in melodic and harmonic information. It was almost like the music was writing itself and came very quickly once the “roadmap” was in place. I found that using the naturally occurring aesthetic of the Fibonacci Sequence created very intrinsically satisfying relationships between the different elements of the music without dictating a particular style or genre. Roses, seashells, and pinecones (to name just a few examples) share the Golden Ratio as their main design element but each maintain their own distinct identities. 

I have found that writing music using this same principal makes for what I think to be solid musical creations that can be stylized/combined in almost an infinite amount of ways and across all musical languages. 

For the open session I would like to use a few ideas from the Fibonacci sequence as the basis of the improvisations. I would like to assemble duos, trios, and quintets and give each player a different number from the Sequence ( 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc) to determine some constant of their improvisation, e.g. number of pitches to use, chord function (tonic {1}, dominant {5}), Rhythm (number of “hits” or attacks in a phrase). I will make a list of ideas that players can reference throughout the session.