The first week of term is over and I failed to get the electronics started over Christmas but they are well and truly started now. I have decided that the piece is going to be for 6 or 8 speakers but I’m currently doing all the programming with the idea of 6. I have always been of the opinion that instrument plus tape does not work because it constrains the player too much. Watching a player looking at a watch to make sure they start at the right point just seems wrong. I am of the firm belief that players need freedom to play rather than be constrained to a click track because if they are constrained then there is no point performing if why not just sell a CD? Anyway, with that small rant out of the way I decided to make the electronics all triggered by the player using a foot pedal. The score will have trigger points to tell Lydia when to hit the pedal to tell the software where in the piece it is. With this in mind I’ve given myself the challenge of automating everything and only leaving the final mix up to a second person.
Currently the electronics are mostly based around reverb but not a straight version. The amount of verb will depend on the volume of the playing with the quieter the playing the more verb. This I’ve managed to do through envelope following and a little bit of maths. I’m thinking of setting different limits on the reverb depending on the frequencies so that a partial within the note of 570 hz will have a longer reverb than that of 300hz. I haven’t looked into this yet so I dont know how feasible and effective it will be. There are also going to be more pre recorded samples and created sound but at the moment nothing is solid with that.
Over Christmas and this week I decided that the piece would be roughly 18 mins long with three movements 5, 8 and 5 mins in a roughly arch form idea. The first movement will be charecterised by reverb and building a spectral field (using edited samples of cello sounds to move the cello away from a straight cello sound). The second movement will be a lot faster and ideas based around shepard tones both sampled and live before the final movement returning to a similar sound world as the first but concentrating more on the electronic element. This is my rough plan for the moment and obviously its open to change.
I have embedded the first two drafts of the first movement, they are about about 4min 30 long. The top line is the cello while the bottom refers to the electronics. The solid line represents where in the space of the room the reverb will be coming from, top of the stave = front, bottom = back. Any notes on the bottom line refer to samples. Unfortunately I use A3 paper and only have an A4 scanner but it should be ok.