Saturday, December 16, 2006

By "popular demand"... (Your Ego is) The Size of Mountains

Okay, so I have had one request for this track. But hey, at least someone was interested. I hope that they are not disappointed... BTW, this is one of the creative works for my honours project. Download the audio here (10MB MP3).

Program Note and Graphical Instruction Set
The piece titled ‘(Your Ego is) The Size of Mountains’ is realized using the instrument Toriton Plus. This unique combination of software and hardware involves controlling sound events via the surface of water and offers a surprising degree of expression and sensitivity to the human performer. Lasers penetrating the water act as a measuring point. When the surface moves, so does the angle at which the lasers pass through the water. This results in a measurable change in physical state. One aim of the instrument is to create a close relationship between the physical events occurring and the sound output material. The work can be best described as a sound sculpture, as this term emphasises the manipulation of a physical medium to conjure a creative result.

‘(Your Ego is) The Size of Mountains’ is comprised of two parts. The first is played with a pipette and the second is performed using bare hands only. Both sections display unique yet repeatable playing techniques. Although non-narrative in nature, the work is somehow reminiscent of a fictional pre-industrialised, agriculture-based society. It should be noted that in a very real sense, being so closely related to the movement of the water surface creates a sonic outcome that delivers a strong impression of water as a concept or an idea. Simple additive synthesis is used in order to map a gradual response to the sound output, resulting in distinct timbral changes over time. Only sinewaves in the key of A minor and their harmonics have been employed.

Notation for the instrument Toriton Plus is achieved via a graphical instruction set. Although the concept of this method can be considered similar to a standard musical score, it must be noted that it cannot be regarded as such. This is due to the variance in sound output when listening to multiple performances of the same work.

The graphical instruction set is divided into a number of gesture partitions. Each partition indicates one or more actions to be performed by the player and a time period in which they are to be performed. Section One (pages 1-2) are to be performed using the pipette technique. Section Two (pages 3-4) are to be performed using the bare hand.