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Tag: live electronics (Page 2 of 2)

Integra, a novel approach to music with live electronics

Anders Beyer invited me to write an article on the Integra project for Nordic Sounds. Here it is. Read on or download the magazine issue.

Integra, a novel approach to music with live electronics

A desire to empower composers and performers to work with live electronics technology in a musical and user-friendly way is at the heart of the Integra project, an international collaboration of research centres and new music ensembles supported by the European Commission. Thanks to a programme of interrelated activities along the three main axes of research, creation and dissemination, Integra seeks to initiate a widespread change of perception towards technology among all the professional actors involved in contemporary music creation and diffusion in Europe.

Integra started taking shape during many long and inspired telephone conversations that I had with Luca Francesconi, the renowned Italian composer and professor of composition at the Malmö Academy of Music, in September 2004. Luca must also be credited for the project name – Integra – a simple and powerful way to remind us of our real focus: the integration of artistic and scientific elements in the creation and performance of music with technology. After agreeing on the project structure and strategy, Richard Shrewsbury (formerly project administrator of Connect, another large European music project) and myself started to establish a network of partner institutions and we completed the final application in October 2004.

While drafting the project, we set out to find concrete answers to pragmatic issues. Inevitably, we ended up making strong assumptions on the philosophical and aesthetic implications of technology in music. The fundamental issue with technology lies in its unlimited potential and its self-replicating nature: technology is inherently meaningless. If we are going to use it in music we will have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Why do we need it? How can it be musical? How can it be controlled?

In order to be harnessed, technology should be brought back to a human dimension, and considered just like another musical instrument – a polymorphous one, to be sure, but still an instrument – that we can learn and play. To achieve this, Integra aims to simplify live electronics technology, and to establish a standard vocabulary to describe it. The word “standard” is often disliked, but we should not forget that the musical instruments employed in our concerts are themselves “standard”, in fact quite limited ones: nevertheless, they allow the transmission of an extremely complex and diversified musical message.

Integra is not alone in this effort towards more user-friendly technology, although it is only recently that usability, good interface design and a preoccupation for how humans interact with machines have started to appear in technology products. Sadly, as far as the history of music technology is concerned, we are still living in the colonisation phase. I like to compare our current experience with the Wild West: new territories are conquered every day, there are no common laws, survival depends from individual initiative. And we are all still digging in search of that elusive gold mine. This explains the proliferation of do-it-yourself systems over the past three decades, when each work, even by the same composer, required a different technological setup (hardware, software, or both). The often-poor documentation of the electronic parts and the rapid obsolescence of the original hardware and software have prevented the adoption of a core repertoire of works using live electronics in mainstream concert programmes.

True to its name, Integra brings together research centres (the scientific group) and new music ensembles (the artistic group): two often-different worlds, with different agendas and priorities, will share their experience and work together. This is possibly the single most important aspect of Integra: all the activities of the project are designed to allow the findings of the scientific group to feed back into the events organised by the artistic group, and vice-versa.

Research

The research activities will cover two main areas: the modernisation of works that use obsolete technology, and the development of a new software-based environment for the composition and performance of music with live electronics.

These two activities are closely related: during the first year of the project the research centres will transfer the technology of around thirty works, chosen together with the artistic ensembles for their musical and historical relevance. The transferred music will include works by Gérard Grisey, Jonathan Harvey, Tristan Murail and Arne Nordheim among the others. This migration process will mainly consist in adopting standard software-based solutions in order to emulate faithfully the original set up and overcome the inherent problems of accessing and maintaining old equipment. Most of the migrated works will quickly find a place in the repertoire of the artistic members of the project, and, it is hoped, of many other contemporary music ensembles around the world.

The knowledge and experience acquired in this vast migration exercise will be used as one of the two starting points for the development of the Integra environment, the other being the feedback from the ten composers that will receive the Integra commissions. By combining the lesson of the tradition with the requirements of contemporary creation, we ensure that the Integra environment will be flexible and robust, spanning an ideal bridge between past and present technology.

Usability and sustainability are the key words here. The Integra environment will be easy to use, and first and foremost a musical tool for composing and performing with electronics; it will also define a new vocabulary to represent electronic events in a standard, software and platform-independent way to ensure their long-term maintenance and survival. More in detail, the environment will be composed of four distinct elements:
1. Database – The back-end of the environment, a standard online database to store modules, performance data and documentation, initially for each transferred and commissioned work.
2. Namespace – An OSC-compliant (Open Sound Control) Integra XML namespace to represent and share all live electronics data among the various elements of the Integra environment.
3. Interface – The front-end of the environment, an intelligent graphic user interface designed around the needs of musicians and for maximum ease of use.
4. Engine – the actual DSP engine of the environment, an extended collection of analysis, synthesis, processing and control software tools.

The concept underlying our modular approach is the representation of the audio network, the control network and their behaviour over time independently from a specific implementation. In other words, we propose a higher level description of live electronics that can stay the same while technology changes.

Creation

Ten European composers will receive Integra commissions, with each new music ensemble commissioning two composers from other European countries. The recipients of the first five commissions are Malin Bång (Sweden), Natasha Barrett (UK/Norway), Andrea Cera (Italy), Tansy Davies (UK) and Juste Janulyte (Lithuania). These five composers will be writing for small chamber ensemble (from three to five players) and live electronics. The works will be premiered between January and September 2007.

The second set of commissions, for large ensemble and live electronics, will be announced at the end of November 2006. The creations of these works will happen between January and July 2008. Mixed-media interaction will be encouraged, as well as site-specific performance events.

Integra will retain exclusive rights on the performance of the commissioned works for three years after the creation, thus enabling every ensemble to perform all the works commissioned by the other ensembles.
Each composer and the performers involved in the piece will be working with a research centre in producing the electronics. This collaboration, extended over a period of two visits (four for the larger works), will allow the composer to work with the tools being developed for the Integra environment. The feedback from the composers will be used to help design tools that are intuitive, powerful, and above all musical.

Dissemination

The success of the Integra environment will be measured by its public support and widespread adoption by composers and performers in Europe and around the world. We aim to build a community of musicians and researchers to look after Integra once it arrives the end of its official life in September 2008. To achieve this ambitious goal we are devoting a considerable effort to create a network of institutions and individual contacts. We are also keen to establish links with ongoing projects in related areas (digital content preservation and storage, Human-Computer Interaction, etc.), promoting standards and ensuring interoperability between Integra and other related applications.

In rough numbers, during the life of the project we will be delivering: thirty individual training sessions on live electronics technology for the commissioned composers (each lasting three days), and forty individual training sessions for the performers of the new music ensembles (some of these sessions will overlap, to allow composers and performers to work together on the commissioned works); a minimum of fifteen concerts and performance events, featuring the commissioned works and many transferred works from the existing repertoire.

We will run open workshops before the concerts for local musicians and composers and produce an innovative DVD on the project documenting the Integra activities and presenting the Integra environment through practical demos. The DVD will be distributed to all new music actors in Europe. We hope that the Integra environment will become a de facto standard for the preservation, composition and performance of music with live electronics. If the project will be successful, the repertoire of European contemporary music ensembles will grow accordingly and performances of music with live electronics will become more frequent, while forgotten works using obsolete technology will become again active agents in our musical life. Integra will also contribute to the creation of a new breed of highly mobile professional musicians: empowered by light, accessible and reliable technology, they will be able to travel and perform around Europe with their expanded repertoire, helping to bring down the barriers that still today prevent many musicians from using technology in the first place.


Fact Box

Integra – A European Composition and Performance Environment for Sharing Live Music Technologies is a €1,035,048, 3-year cooperation agreement part financed by the European Commission through the 2005 call of the Culture 2000 programme [ref 2005-849]. Started in September 2005, Integra is led by UCE Birmingham Conservatoire in the United Kingdom. The project partners are:

New Music Ensembles

Ensemble Ars Nova, Malmö
Athelas Sinfonietta, Copenhagen (co-organiser)
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Birmingham
BIT20 Ensemble, Bergen (co-organiser)
Court-circuit, Paris (co-organiser)

Research Centres
CIRMMT, McGill University, Montreal
Krakow Academy of Music, Krakow
La Kitchen, Paris
Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius
Malmö Academy of Music, Malmö (co-organiser)
NOTAM, Oslo
SARC, Queen’s University, Belfast

Association of European Conservatoires

The composers commissioned so far are:
Malin Bång, Sweden (Athelas Sinfonietta)
Natasha Barrett, Norway (Ensemble Ars Nova)
Andrea Cera, Italy (Court-circuit)
Tansy Davies, United Kingdom (BIT20 Ensemble)
Juste Janulyte, Lithuania (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group)

Integra project

Lamberto Coccioli, an Italian composer currently working as Head of Music Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire, is Integra’s Project Manager.

Music as Memory conference

Geir Johnson, Artistic Director of Ultima, the Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, invited me to give a talk on “Music and Technology: past, present and future” at the _Music as Memory_ conference, on Friday 6 October 2006. The conference was part of this year’s Ultima Festival. I enjoyed listening to Geir’s profound, personal talk introducing the conference, and to Stein Henrichsen (BIT20 Ensemble and Opera Vest), Luca Francesconi, Lasse Thoresen and Asbjörn Schaathun, also giving very interesting talks. Asbjörn gave an entertaining definition of a “perfect” creative person, obtained by combining together the different talents and characters of the four Beatles. The notes for my talk follow below.

Music and Technology – past, present and future

Music as memory
The relationship with tradition, the interaction of current artistic trends with the past is a central aspect of music making. Thanks to technology, composers, performers, indeed all music actors like you – artistic directors etc, have direct access to a wealth of resources that extend both on the geographical, horizontal plane, and on a very long vertical axis towards the past. This three-dimensional, always available on-demand mapping of human creativity in the arts is an unprecedented feat that demands a complete rethinking of our relationship with the past, with musical tradition.

The same technology that allows us to explore and appropriate the musical universe in space and time, has altered our perception of the world in many ways. Digital technology allows anything. When everything is equally available, what is the aesthetic, artistic value of a choice? How do we establish a dialogue with tradition in the current situation?
We live in the age of technology, after science, history, philosophy, religion.
Technology is overwhelming. Also, technology is *never* neutral. How can we make sense of it? By reconducing it to a human dimension. How?

The Humanist Challenge:
# junghian, ethnomusicological alternative – the consolation of archetypes
# ethical alternative – music with a message
# gestural alternative – music with the body

I’ll try to give an answer to these questions later on in my talk, from the point of view of music technology.

The past
Music as memory – from the perspective of music with technology the challenge is to allow music to become memory in the first place. Preservation of interactive, real-time, live electronics works is a daunting task that has to be tackled in a novel way.
[If we look at electroacoustic music, the situation is comparatively quite good. Once the original analogue supports have been converted to digital, preservation is ensured. True, the passage from analog to digital is difficult, and many works from the 50s and 60s where conceived with the idiosyncrasies of early recording, mixing and diffusion equipment in mind [another example of non-neutral technology!]. Those peculiarities became an essential part of the work, as it has been shown time and again in the works of Berio, Stockhausen, Schaeffer, etc.]
To get back to live electroacoustic music, as we should call live electronics, the obvious problem is the longevity of technologies, hardware and software, their rapid change, the commercial, hence temporary, nature of many of the devices used and the overall lack of documentation from the composers and interpreters. To maintain a piece using obsolete technology is very difficult, sometimes downright impossible. If a piece is not performed anymore, then it ceases to be an active agent in cultural and music life. This is too bad.

The role of the research centres
IRCAM – it has certainly helped to shape the contemporary music scene, and its contribution cannot be played down. Boulez managed to create something that lasted and thrived for many years, expanding in more directions as time went by. If we compare this with the UK experience or the Italian experience, for example, IRCAM has been an outright success. In the UK, the efforts to create a National Centre for Electronic Music were never taken seriously by the government, and in Italy, a place like the Centro Tempo Reale in Florence, founded by the late Luciano Berio, never took off properly, and was widely regarded to be just Berio’s own technology plaything – of course this says more about the difference in character between the two composers (Boulez and Berio) than about local obstacles to achieve a similar goal.

IRCAM, nevertheless, as a growing big institution has suffered from many organisational and structural problems, that have become often artistic problems, like the establishment of an IRCAM style that can be quickly recognised – again, technology, the means of producing music with technology, are never neutral, but they affect every aspect of the creative compositional process.

Computers are not neutral tools. Software and hardware impose their own architecture. As any composer that works with technology will tell you, when you are working on a new piece and sit down at the computer to do any of a number of things (analyse, design, edit and mix sounds, prepare your own compositional material by using algorithms, note generators, etc., put together your performance environment and so on), your frame of mind changes, and you have to adapt and limit your thought processes to those that the machine, the software you’re using will allow. It is all very well to say that if you need to alter the software you are interacting with, or if you are unhappy with it you can modify or write your own – in practice you can’t transform yourself in a programmer – apart from the vast amount of time that would be needed, if you do it you will need to distance yourself even more from your musical mind, the one that initially triggered the need.

So again, technology is not neutral. And if a composer works on the technology with a musical assistant, this creates another layer between the musical mind and the machine, another constraint. (Critique of IRCAM) At IRCAM and elsewhere, the main policy has been for many years to support composers through musical assistants, acting as a filter between the composer and the machine. It is no wonder that the software developed at IRCAM has never reached the simplicity of use, the fluidity that one would expect from an institution with such great minds and resources behind it. The maintenance and documentation of the software has also been always very patchy. Obviously a pachydermic institution like IRCAM has a built-in inertia that makes change difficult, but creating simple tools for musicians has never been one of the IRCAM’s priorities.

Maintenance and preservation are also thorny issues. We are trying to find a possible solution to these issues with the Integra project.

The present
Technology is the beast. From a philosophical standpoint, music technology offers a very exciting challenge: artists working with computers, altering the code, hacking it, to realise things that were not planned by the software designers, fulfill the historical role of art: disrupting received knowledge, reordering, reassembling the symbols and objects of our society in an original, critical way. But can we apply to technology the same concepts that worked for art in the past? I doubt it.

Technology is so embedded in our lives, but we still feel the distance from it. It’s here but it’s not here. We think we have the philosophical tools to dominate it, to explain and describe technology, but in reality we don’t. Technology is a self-feeding monster, what can be realised will be realised. There is no goal in technology, no purpose, everything is outside our human horizon of meaning. We are now learning to find a new vocabulary to deal with this monster, but it is early days.

Technology has no memory, Technology has no meaning. Why technology in music? We have to humanise it, and adopt standards. The fundamental issue with technology lies in its unlimited potential and its self-replicating nature: technology is inherently meaningless. If we are going to use it in music we will have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Why do we need it? How can it be musical? How can it be controlled? In order to be harnessed, technology should be brought back to a human dimension, and considered just like another musical instrument – a polymorphous one, to be sure, but still an instrument – that we can learn and play. To achieve this, we should simplify music technology, and to establish a standard vocabulary to describe it.

The word “standard” is often disliked, but we should not forget that the musical instruments employed in our concerts are themselves “standard”, in fact quite limited ones: nevertheless, they allow the transmission of an extremely complex and diversified musical message.

Integra is not alone in this effort towards more user-friendly technology, although it is only recently that usability, good interface design and a preoccupation for how humans operate have started to appear in technology products. Sadly, as far as the history of music technology is concerned, we are still living in the colonisation phase. I like to compare our current experience with the Wild West: new territories are conquered every day, there are no common laws, survival depends from individual initiative. And we are all still digging in search of that elusive gold mine.

This explains the proliferation of do-it-yourself systems over the past three decades, when each work, even by the same composer, required a different technological setup (hardware, software, or both). The often-poor documentation of the electronic parts and the rapid obsolescence of the original hardware and software have prevented the adoption of a core repertoire of works using live electronics in mainstream concert programmes.

Design – usability = make it simple! We need to trade the technological DIY approach (temporary, non-standard, often undocumented) with a user-centred approach, to ensure more performance opportunities and long-term preservation. Standards and limitations in technology can be an incentive for creativity.

The future
Integra project

Integra environment outline

Integra namespace – class hierarchy describing all the modules, parameters and functionalities, including time. Built-in inheritance. Everything is an object. The namespace is OSC-compliant for interaction with other software, network performance, etc., but not internally. OSC is one of the possible implementation of the Integra namespace model.

Database [postgres sql]
contains
• Integra modules [the building blocks of the system]
• Composition metadata [documentation on the work, the composer, the technical setup, etc.]
• Composition performance data [control and audio network and signal flow, behaviour in perfomance]

All data is encoded in XML format. All the XML files that constitute a work can be downloaded and will automatically generate modules and connections in the GUI.

GUI [any graphic library, prototype realised with Max/MSP using custom graphic library]
• interface for the musician, fine-tuned for the three main modes of utilisation: composition, rehearsal, live performance
• modular and powerful: everything is an object, every object can interact withj everything else
• extremely user-friendly
• uses new paradigms to represent concurrent timelines [Iannix]
• generates xml files
• talks to the engine in real-time
• visualizes processes in real-time

Engine [any DSP application supporting the Integra namespace]
• runs Integra modules

Mixtur by Stockhausen at the South Bank

Down to London to listen to Mixtur and say hello to Thierry Coduys, responsible for the electronics together with Sound Intermedia (Ian Dearden and David Sheppard).

Mixtur is the daddy of live electronics… a late discovery for me. Some awkward moments (a funny trombone glissando up and down a perfect fourth that comes from nowhere, the long pauses) but beautiful complex timbres especially in the lowest register for cello, double bass and contra-bassoon. Conceptually it was fantastic in 1967, and it still retains some of that aura, although the music has aged. And the performance with the reversed order of the sections, thankfully played in the first half of the concert, just doesn’t work.

David’s Garden

Together with trombonist David Purser and composer-technologist Jonathan Green, we’ve been working since late 2005 on a user-friendly Max/MSP environment to let performers improvise with technology. To capture performance data we have been using a microphone and a flexion sensor, measuring the angle of the arm to track the position of the trombone slide.

Aluna

aluna


High up on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia, under the snowy peaks and overlooking the Caribbean Sea, live the Kogi Indians. Contrary to the fate of many indigenous people in South America, the Kogi have managed to maintain their cultural identity and traditional way of life. Their geographical isolation has certainly helped, but the main reason is the unusually articulated, profound and interconnected set of beliefs and rituals that govern their life. Mythic thought and everyday life are so intertwined that many anthropologists have recognised the exceptionality of the Kogi among other Indian tribes of Central and Southern America.

The Kogi universe is based on a creation myth centred on the figure of the Great Mother. Originally she was aluna, pure thought. This word has multiple meanings in the Kogi language: memory, spirit, imagination. This mythological narrative has been the main source of inspiration for Aluna. The role of the Great Mother, and how she spins the world into existence from the dark primeval waters, has determined the form of the piece and the interaction between the soloist and the ensemble. The music of the ensemble is always derived from the solo viola part. Technology is used in the piece to project the viola sound in space and to allow the soloist to control and transform the sounds of the ensemble in real time.

When dealing with different cultures, I am always very interested in a kind of reverse ethnology, whereby we use concepts and knowledge from “primitive” people to try and shed light on our own culture. Aluna sets out to recreate a musical equivalent of the incredibly rich and profound creation myth of the Kogi. No musical tourism and no exotic flavours then, rather the attempt to transcend cultural differences by marrying Western compositional techniques with a world view from a remote culture.

Written in 2005 for Rivka Golani, the renowned virtuoso viola player, Aluna is dedicated to the memory of my mother. Aluna was first performed on 24 June 2005 with Rivka Golani, solo viola, and the Thallein Ensemble conducted by Lionel Friend in the Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire.

* * *

INSTRUMENTATION

Viola
Flute (doubling Piccolo)
Oboe
Clarinet in Bb (doubling Bass Clarinet in Bb)
Bassoon
Horn in F
Trumpet in Bb
Trombone
Percussion (Marimba, Glockenspiel)
Piano
Live Electronics (one performer)
2 Violins
Viola
Cello
Double Bass

Magma, or the See-Through Wilderness


Magma is about ritual and our relationship with nature. The traditional rites of passage from nature to culture – once powerful instruments of social integration and knowledge – do not exist anymore. Yet, humans still need rituals. To be meaningful today a rite of passage needs to take the inverse route, and go from culture back to nature.

In Magma a woman lives through different experiences that bring her close to an unexpected understanding of nature, as a frenzied, violent and irrational force, as a living magma perpetually regenerating. When her “inverted” rite of passage is over, the woman realises that her new awareness cannot be shared, and that there is no going back.

An old Nordic folktale introduces and frames the action. It sets the mythical mould that forms the basis of the woman’s behaviour, and allows a better understanding of the ritual dimension of the plot.

The idea for this work came from my personal experiences in a faraway country, while music and narrative evolved from the desire of setting up a reaction between different cultures, using – in a kind of inverted ethnology – the cultural criteria of so-called primitive societies to analyse and unmask our own behaviour.

The text of the libretto is by the Germano-Irish poet and writer Sebastian Schloessingk.

In Magma there are a number of musical and theatrical issues that I wanted to explore:

  • The relationship between speech and song, and the way to convey meaning in operatic writing: there are two actors on stage, and their speech is measured, without being rhythmically altered. At the same time key words from their text are sung by two singers for each actor. The singers are like added dimensions to the stage characters, and project musically the meaning of the words.
  • Real-time control of electronics in performance. The production of Magma took advantage of a new tool for live electronics, the MSP set of audio objects for the Max programming environment for the Macintosh. MSP had just come out in 1998, and in Magma it is used among other things for real-time convolution of voices and percussion with different sound sources. Magma is the first major Italian music production to use MSP.
  • Research in dynamic harmonic fields: they become elastic entities that follow closely the dramatic structure of the work. While writing an opera for the stage, compositional procedures should be closely related to, and even dependent from the dramatic structure of the work. Harmonic fields become here elastic, continuously self-modifying entities, that adhere as a second skin to the dramatic surface of the opera. On top of their fundamental harmonic identity, these fields may acquire – according to the dramatic situation – other dimensions. A historical one, in the shape of a direct intersection with patterns of notes clearly belonging to a given style, or a geographical one, where musical elements from distant cultures are integrated in the harmonic structure of the fields.

* * *

Commissioned by CIDIM, the Italian National Music Committee, together with the Rossini Theatre in Lugo di Ravenna and the Toscanini Foundation in Parma, Magma was premiered in Lugo in March 1998, with the following interpreters:

singers
Alessandra Cecchini, Soprano
Margherita Salio, Mezzo-soprano
Maurizio Leoni, Baritone
Danilo Serraiocco, Bass

actors
Francesca Brizzolara, Donna
Gabriele Volpi, Uomo

Denise Fedeli, conductor
Gigi Dall’Aglio, stage direction
Tiziano Santi, stage design
Tempo Reale, live electronics
Orchestra del Teatro Rossini di Lugo

Antidotes: Red-earth

antidotes-red-earth


Antidotes: Red-earth is the first of a series of works for ancient instruments and electronics where the purpose of technology is to amplify the different historical dimensions of the instrument. I like to employ electronics to reveal and clarify the meaning of what is happening in the music and on the stage. In Red-earth, the sound of the trumpet is transformed to emphasise various different aspects: the primitive shout to exorcise the evil spirits, the accompaniment to ancient rites of passage for boys, martial rhythms and war calls, the virtuosity of the Baroque era.

Antidotes: Red-earth is dedicated to Gabriele Cassone, who commissioned the work and gave me invaluable advice in writing for the natural trumpet. Gabriele gave the first performance of the work at Milano Musica Festival in 1997.

Touch

Touch-for-piano-and-live-electronics


Touch represents an experiment in transparent electronics. I wanted to create a performing environment where technology expands, magnifies and projects the musical gestures of the performer. Four identical musical objects are observed from different points of view, each time using a different transformation tool in order to emphasise a different aspect of piano playing: touch, resonance, the harmonic and melodic dimensions.

The performer is completely in control of the technology and external intervention is kept to a minimum. I achieved this by creating an interface that reacts to the nuances of musical performance in a very subtle way. Specific attention has been given to the detection of the attack of the piano sound: the pianist’s touch triggers each time the whole transformation process.

Premiered by Laure Pinsmail in 2002, Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire. Live recording of the performance given by Jonathan Powell in 2005.

***

This is the latest version of the live electronics of Touch. It has been tested on a MacBook Pro with macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 and Max version 8.1.4

Download the Touch electronics zip archive

Top-level patcher: Touch.maxpat
Electronics tested with Max 8.1.4
Created a Max collective: Touch.mxf

All files, including Touch.maxpat, contained in the Max8 folder.

External dependencies:

  1. tap.shift~
    from TapTools by Timothy Place, version 4 beta 2 26 April 2013
    source: https://github.com/tap/TapTools/releases
  2. iana~ and add_synth~
    by Todor Todoroff, ARTeM (Art, Recherche, Technologie et Musique), maintained by IRCAM, MaxSoundBox version 03-2018
    source: https://forum.ircam.fr/projects/detail/max-sound-box/
  3. bonk~ v1.5
    by Miller Puckette, port by Ted Apel and Barry Threw, 64 bit version by Volker Böhm 22 June 2018
    sources: https://github.com/v7b1/bonk_64bit-version, http://vboehm.net/downloads/
  4. vdb~
    abstractions by Benjamin Thigpen, part of the “bennies” collection, IRCAM Forum distribution
    source: https://forum.ircam.fr

Audiofiles:

piano_resonance.aif

LC, 7 June 2020

Flectar

flectar


Flectar, a Latin word meaning “to bend”, is dedicated to David Purser, whose help has been invaluable during both conception and writing of the work. In Flectar we set to explore how the physical gestures of the trombone player – and in particular the movements of the arm to change the slide position – can be made to control in a subtle and musical way the electronic transformations of the sound of the instrument. The trombone becomes a sort of hyper-instrument reverberating in space, with the performer in control of shaping and projecting the sound all around the audience.

Flectar is in four parts. In part 1 and 3 a series of cues correspond to individual electronic events. In part 2 and 4 a verbal description identifies the link between the performer’s gesture and the resulting sound. In most cases the position of the slide, combined or not with sound attacks, controls the triggering of electronic events or the nature of the transformation. Therefore, it is very important to use always the slide positions indicated in the score.

First performance by David Purser on 19 January 2005, Birmingham Conservatoire, Recital Hall.

* * *

Technical requirements for the performance

The performance of Flectar requires a person to operate the computer and control the sound diffusion.

Computer (Mac or PC) running Max software
2 in/8 out audio interface
Kroonde Gamma wireless UDP sensor interface with flexion sensor (now deprecated, equivalent systems may be used with minor modifications to the Max/MSP patch)
1 miniature microphone, DPA 4061 or equivalent
Reverb unit
6-point sound diffusion system with 6 speakers: front L/R 1-2, sides L/R 3-4, rear L/R 5-6.

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