Home » Recordings » Primary Trigrams of the I Ching

Primary Trigrams of the I Ching


Eight Early Electronic Realizations

  • Chien the Creative by David Kempton
  • Chen the Arousing by David Kempton
  • Li the Clinging by David Kempton
  • Tui the Joyous by David Kempton
  • K’un the Receptive by David Kempton
  • Sun the Gentle by David Kempton
  • K’an the Abysmal by David Kempton
  • Keeping Still by David Kempton


About The Primary Trigrams
(the On-Liner Notes)

The entire album was composed and performed almost exclusively on the Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer, which at the time (1986) was considered the flagship keyboard. The master multi-track recorder was the venerable Tascam 80-8, another landmark product. The master mix was intended for compact cassette distribution, and therefore eq’ed a bit bright. as cassette recorders have poor top end.

Several of the tunes for this project were renamed and rearranged from earlier works. Some have subsequently been rebuilt into more modern compositions as well.

This is the first Electronic Impressionist work I released. The original was completed in 1987, and has been updated twice since then, in 1992 and 1995. The songs continue to be modified as culture, taste, experience and equipment mature and change. Music is a living thing, and a song is only as old as its performances and performers re/co-create it. As an improvisatory vehicle, it is a pattern of possible scalar cross-sections through which we weave our magic, sometimes by choice, sometimes by vocabulary (i.e., phrases and patterns we have played many times before), and sometimes by something outside of ourselves.

About the Music


The ordering of the compositions is that of the Primal Arrangement of Fu Hsi. On the original cassette recording, the forces are arranged as pairs of opposites, CDs and downloads don’t have that juxtaposition.
The Inner World arrangement reflects the temporal progress of the material world. While this is perhaps more appropriate to the music, the earlier sequence was chosen to better separate the movement-related material from the more contemplative.

The Male Principle

Representing Movement


Ch’ien the Creative


Ch’ien is heaven, the Father, duration in change.

This composition has been updated and retitled Reminiscence, and has been recorded several times, by the Zytron band, and the Prophetz of Time and Space.

Chen The Arousing


First Son, coming forth, the Great Road, thunder.

This song has also been recorded by the Zytron band.

Li, the Clinging


Light-Giving, warmth, fire (hearth.)

Tui the Joyous


The Harvest, outwardly weak but inwardly strong.

Tui was originally called Tangishaka, a Burundi word which means, “God gives what he wishes.” It has been recorded by the Prophetz of Time and Space.

The Female Principle

Representing Devotion

These compositions are exclusively on this album, being more orchestral in nature, they are less amenable to jazz styles.

K’un the Receptive


Earth, Mother, devoted but yielding, nurturing.

Sun the Gentle


First Daughter, penetrating, wind and wood.

K’an the Abysmal


Water, the moon, toil, the abyss.

Keeping Still


Mountain, perfection, links beginning and end.

Electronic Impressionism

Electronic Impressionism is the name I give to music that has the following characteristics:

  • Created primarily via electronic instrumentation with limited acoustic instruments
  • Small to full Orchestral in scope
  • Electronic timbres used to emulate the effect of the instrument
  • Programmatic thematic material
  • Heart over deliberate intellect

This project was very early in the evolution of electronic musical capabilities, there was little in the way of timbrel emulation or proper attack signature recreation, so the emotive effect is more effective than the simulation.