Beryllium (Be) is the lightest of all the alkaline earth metals, and a strange one as it does not form ions. It is a rather rare element too, named after the precious stone beryl, a gem, from which it can be extracted with great difficulty.
Beryllium is unusually rare for such a light element. Almost all larger than Hydrogen elements are formed in stars, as a consequence of the nuclear fusion in their core, but in this too Beryllium is an exception. Along with Lithium and Boron, atoms of the element Beryllium cannot survive long inside stars and will form other elements before being ejected into space. It is assumed therefore that Beryllium is formed in interstellar dust clouds instead, by the influence of cosmic rays splitting up heavier elements.
Music of Beryllium
The music of Beryllium is a free pantonal polyphony of registers rather than of pitches or linear melodies. Registers used include the extremes, and extend far beyond the instrumentally feasible – a true electronic music therefore. One can clearly discern the references to outer space.
Whereas the music of Calcium (an important organic chemical component) is very much a musica humana instrumentalis by virtue of its registers and sounds, Beryllium (not part of vital organic chemistry) is represented by an opposite musical approach, much more abstract, and not resembling human instrumental music at all.
With the extensive presence of a variety of musical events in extreme registers, both high and low (the composer used 9 such distinct registers xtreme hi – very hi – hi – hi mid – mid – lo mid – lo – very lo – xtreme lo, the outer 4 of which are not found in instrumental music), in a way this music represents the emancipation of timbre to tone.
In its own way, the music of Beryllium became a gem too.
As in the other music by van Dillen for elements in group 2, a layered spectral composition process was chosen.
Instead of glissandi and lines, a three-layer counterpoint of relatively small pitched noise clouds form the basis together exploring the full register of audible frequencies. This basic cell was then reversed, inverted, stretched and transposed and brought in counterpoint with itself.
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