Persona Digital Music

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Stephen Gislason

Counterpoint for Genius

Created by Stephen Gislason

My Counterpoint for Genius series is a collection of  four albums that has evolved over several years though experimentation with a number of transcriptions of Bach pieces, many from the religious Cantatas, mixed with different voicing and, different tempos and transpositions. Mozart has received the most attention as the composer of smart music. Bach excels. I realized that many of the Bach pieces I recorded were among the best examples of contrapuntal composition and that counterpoint was the perfect brain exercise

 I am often amazed by how many notes in interweaving layers my brain is willing to decipher. If the notes form interesting patterns and move in space, then they remain fresh and invigorating. I the early days of my experimentation with synthesizers, I encountered patterns of sound that produce meditative experiences, acoustic illusions, mind clearing, and  some very annoying experiences. At the same time I was experimenting with brain biofeedback using sound to reveal brain waves. The basic idea was that amplified brain waves could be evaluated by frequency and amplitude, desirable goals established and a sound signal would inform the subject when his or her brain waves were in the desired range. The most common goal was to achieve slow, symmetrical sine waves from each cerebral hemisphere; the frequency range of about 8 to 12 hertz was called alpha.

While repetition is good, too much can become annoying. Small variations in a repeating pattern will avoid habituation and annoyance. The occasional, surprising sound will awaken new interest.  Complex staccato passages with precise but low amplitude sounds are followed closely by the temporal cortex.

My Bach project shifted toward brain exercises for Geniuses (Counterpoint for Genius).  I now believe that the textured complexity of counterpoint can be a delight for a receptive listener and also a useful way to exercise some of the more complex computational  centers in the brain. My strategy is to keep the individual voices  clear so the layered, interwoven texture of the music is as distinct as possible. I also pay much attention to leaving silent spaces in the interstices since I discovered many years ago that  increased sound density was harmful rather than helpful.

My Counterpoint for Genius series is a collection of  four albums.
Here are three pieces from Counterpoint for Genius  Volume 1

Digital Bach for the 21 Century A Persona Digital Production, Stephen Gislason Arranger & Performer

We Seek Audiophile Perfection  Noise is the enemy of high quality music.  Remember that quiet and discrete sounds are ubiquitous in nature. Loud sounds are unusual and signal danger. Natural sounds are well defined and specific so that the identity of the source is quickly recognized. This appreciation of the qualities of natural sound is the basis of audiophile recording.  We have 25 years of experience with computer based sound recording and enjoy technology shop talk. We also have a well developed interest in how our brains process sounds. Our in house music production creates audiophile quality recordings presented as CDs, DVDs, singles and albums for Download.

Topics presented at Persona Digital Studio are from the book, The Sound of Music by Stephen Gislason.
Click the Download button to order the eBook from Alpha Online.   

Persona Digital Studio is located on the Sunshine Coast, Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada. email:

Our Music Catalogue includes recorded performances by the P2500 Band, Em4U, and the Persona Classical Consort.