Fred Lerdahl

The Music and Writings of Composer Fred Lerdahl

Program note for Times 3


Times 3 (2012) for violin, cello, and piano, was composed for the Peabody Trio with the generous support of Charles and Jessie Price. The piece lasts about 19 minutes. The title refers to three instruments, three movements, and three ways of treating musical time. The tone of the work is serious yet as playful as the title suggests.

The first movement, Ratios, opens with a series of seemingly unrelated ideas in tempo ratios of 3:2 and 4:3. As the movement proceeds, the ideas develop, transform, and superimpose in increasingly wide spirals. The slower second movement, Cycles, is a fantasy built on the strict scaffolding of an omnipresent, diatonic cantus firmus, set in symmetrically expanding and contracting cycles. The quick finale, Phases, is a moto perpetuo tarantella in which the instruments move in and out of phase as they chase one another. The flowing eighth notes merge and finally unify ideas from the previous movements.

Fred Lerdahl


all materials copyright Fred Lerdahl 2009