Sonata for Two Violins "Sacred Geometry


"Sacred Geometry" refers to the developing patterns of the "dreaming map" style of Aboriginal painting, particularly Papunya of the Western Desert of Australia. More than anything else, this concept of evolving form through design resonates in the fabric of the sonata. The Aborignal paintings feature pointillistic splashes which create large designs and shapes, often a central spiral with arms radiating out to other circular shapes. Also, these areas are joined by lines. In this short description I have presented an extremely simplistic example of a kind of totem art that is the soul of the Aboriginal people. The idea of a dreaming landscape, viewed from above so as to communicate the totality of structural coherence is the real unifying force that has inspired my piece.


I have made no attempt to depict or sound paint the world of the Aborigines: rather, I am borrowing a design feature in the abstract, that is probably unique and unknown in the Western cultural backgound that has fueled notions of structure in classical music. Of secondary importance is the changed perception of time in the recurrences of patterns and the extensive modification of temporal linearity, as most Papunya paintings seem to proceed outward from the middle. The viewer (and in the case of this piece, the listener) is guided from some central place in the dreaming map, yet the sum total of the journey can be viewed as an integrated whole with a unified impression and emotional response.


The piece is cast into four movements, I and III setting out essential materials that often are fragmented in II and IV. The latter portion of that movement recalls the end of III with a reprise of the consequent phrase of the opening of I, creating a kind of umbrella structure. This excerpt from Papunya, A Place Made After the Story, by Geoffrey Bardon and James Bardon might help to put my general observations into clearer focus: `Water Dreamings"

(P. 49)

The Water Dreaming paintings were, for me a resolution of five elements, either expressed or implied:

the water hole , the running water, the cliff, the bush tucker growing after receiving water, and the Water Man or

ceremonial singer, or his substitute.

These meaning clusters in the Water Dreaming paintings were transfigurative and life-giving, for Water

Dreaming paintings were about the singing and dancing for water, and its celebration as a life-giving force.