The four shields represent the slowest of the melodic
layers derived from the basic infinity series. There are 1,024 notes (=128 bars) between
each attack, and the tempo is described as 'wavelength 1,024'. The attacks take place on
the fourth beat of bars 154, 282, 410 and 538. Each of the shields plays a two-note sound,
and the top tones of the motif as a whole are the first four notes of the infinity series
(transposed), while the base tones are the (transposed) inversion of these notes.
When attacking the phases and shields Per Nørgård makes
use of the fact that the series does not simply reproduce itself on different wavelengths
from the first note onwards. Every new note produced by the infinity series can be the
beginning of a new - transposed - infinity series (see The 'open hierarchies' of the infinity
Since this is a work for a large orchestra, even larger
numbers of simultaneous tempi can be used in the symphony than in 'Voyage...'.
Wavelength 1, flutes, note 257.
The fact that this mêlée of melody lines does not become
a cacophony is due not only to the to the innate characteristics of the infinity series.
It is to a large degree the accomplishment of a composer who tirelessly listens with a
finely-tuned ear down to the level of each nanosecond and insists that the music should
appear to have been created at that very moment, even though the whole piece, from
individual notes to the overall form seems to be determined in advance.