John Hugh Selleck (b. 1939) — Meditation on the Fifth Tone (1964) for organ
The composer writes: “The material for this work came from the results of an experiment when the composer was a student at the Yale School of Music. The result of the experiment was a derivation of motivic elements that constitute the actual material of the Gregorian chants of Mode V. The results of this experiment were used in the composition of this piece. An explanation of the motivic elements was document in an article in the “Yale Journal of Music Theory” Volume 9/2 Pg. 281: “Procedures for the Analysis of Form: Two Computer Applications.” Although similar to many actual chant melodies, the thematic material of the composition for organ is actually only a selection of probable pitch sequences, from the most likely to the less probable.”
John Hugh Selleck (b. 1939) was born Billings, Montana and was educated at the University of Montana, the Yale School of Music, and Columbia University. His teachers included Elliott Carter, Allen Forte, Quincy Porter, Mel Powell, and Chou Wen Chung, and Mario Davidovsky. Selleck began working extensively with computers in the 1960s, becoming technical assistant for the Music Information Retrieval Project at Princeton University. He collaborated with Arthur Mendel and Lewis Lockwood using computer analysis on the music of Josquin des Prez. Selleck also became the co-director of the famed Columbia/Princeton Electronic Music Center. After leaving New York, Selleck worked in computer finance and systems administration in both North Carolina and in Canada, where he eventually emigrated. Upon retiring from computers, Selleck focused once again primarily on composition and piano performance. He was a member of Trio Brava, a Toronto ensemble, and his music has been performed by many soloists and organizations.
Published by the Canadian Music Centre