Digitiphony 5: The Five Temperaments

M L Dunn

An Electro Orchestral Symphony in Five Movements

Digitiphony 5 is Michael Lisle Dunn's fifth Electro Orchestral Symphony. It is based on the five currently accepted human temperaments, or dispositions. There is a movement for each, Choleric, Supine, Melancholic, Phlegmatic and Sanguine. Different modes (scales) were the thematic inspiration for each movement (in order - Mixolydian, Locrian, Phrygian, Dorian, Lydian) and the character types themselves provided the emotional narrative.

1st Movement - 'Balearic Choleric - The Choleric' is the movement for the Choleric Temperament, based on the Choleric character type. These are the people who, for better or worse, have used their drive and ambition to move humanity forward (in their view at least) over the last few millennia. They are the Politicians, Generals, Bankers and Heads of State who aspire to lead us - they are decisive and sure of themselves, able to inspire allegiance in others, but at the same time can have a nasty streak and the capacity to use others for their own ends.

2nd Movement - 'Supina Manipuloso - The Supine' is the movement for the Supine Temperament (this is a newly defined temperament - it has been included due to recent psychological research; originally there were only four 'humours' or temperaments). The supine character is outwardly a 'people person' - amenable and keen to be seen to serve and support others and make a contribution. Inwardly though they have a darker side and can be manipulative, weak-minded and harboring of ill will. Which of course makes for interesting thematic interpretation as far as composing music; two very contrasting shades of character to convey within one piece.

3rd Movement - 'Melon Collies Rise - The Melancholic'. Being the temperament closest to the composer's own, he was determined to write this from an optimistic perspective, hence the rising theme repeated in the strings. However destructive the tendencies of the melancholic are, all depressives are triumphant in the end, for one day they will be no more. Life, the source of all their woes and misery, will at the point of death become subservient to the greater resilience of the Melancholic Temperament. To live and survive as a melancholic is to endure the most demanding of all the existences of the temperaments, for there seems to be no plus side other than the loyalty and creativity shown by the melancholic, which are more for the benefit of others than the individual themselves.

4th Movement - 'Phlegmatickle -The Phlegmatic' The Movement to describe the Phlegmatic Temperament. Perhaps the most attractive of the five temperaments, the phlegmatic is easygoing and chilled; not easily motivated, but slow to anger and difficult to destabilise. It is also the only temperament that the Choleric Temperament is unable to control or upset. The biggest downer for the phlegmatic is a constant need to preserve energy, therefore they never take unnecessary action. If a phlegmatic person bothers to say something, you know they really mean it.

5th Movement - 'Sanguinum - The Sanguine' The final movement is the movement for the Sanguine Temperament. Showy, confident and sure of itself the Sanguine temperament has no problem offering its services to the world (read 'forcing on'), for it knows better than anyone the heights to which it can aspire. Through its charm it persuades others to follow and further its cause, whatever that may be. It's sometimes a bit full of itself though... arrogant, even. And it always HAS to have the last word.

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