Drawing from these readings, I constructed a musical system with which to compose Vonology. For each Zodiac sign and house I assigned pitch values. The first house I assigned C and then ascended chromatically (clockwise) for each of the following houses. With the Zodiac signs, I mirrored the chromatic scale by starting Libra with F#, since Libra starts the second half of the Zodiac signs, as does F# with C as the first pitch. I used house pitches to connect to points where red and blue angles met, and Zodiac pitches to the planets that were prevalent in those Zodiac signs. From this system, I created four modes that express four primary readings from his chart, which then construct what I call Von’s Zodiac tonality

  • Zodiac 1, Tension in emotions and finding release in music emerging from Libra squaring Cancer and Jupiter trine Uranus: C, D, Eb, Gb, Ab, A, Bb.
  • Zodiac 2, A grand water trine suggests one who works in the dream world which produces a strong imagination made manifest through creativity: D E F# G A.
  • Zodiac 3, Strong ninth and twelfth houses which represent a connection with the high muse that drives transcendent creativity and a desire to share knowledge: C, Eb, E, G, Bb.
  • Zodiac 4, Moon and Pluto conjunction, representing intensity of emotion, connects through a trine to Jupiter, depicting strong emotional intuition: C, C#, D, D#, F#, G, G#, A#, B.

From these pitch collections, I composed melodies, lines, and harmonies which I distributed across the instruments of the ensemble. Humans are never solely one characteristic, but shift through different aspects of their humanity as they live, create, and interact with others. Drawing from this principle, the melodies, lines, and harmonies shift between and are combined to sonically represent the four readings of Von’s chart. Additionally, in the fifth movement “The Mentor’s Benediction,” the four astrological texts read by Bill Brickey follow the same four Zodiac modes. These four modes, therefore, are vital structures across Vonology.

For rhythmic frameworks, I assigned values of 2 and 3 to every other house in the Zodiac. Then drawing from important points of the formations within the chart, I created two rhythmic cycles, one for the second movement—2,3 2,3 2,3 2,3 2,3, which comes out to five bars of 5/4—and one for the fourth movement—33322 33222. Since both cycles came out to be 25 beats long, they can be super-imposed, thus I the main theme of both movements is the same.

Next: The Five Movements