"AMBER LEAVES" FOR SOLO SITAR AND ELECTRONICS
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Amber Leaves is a composition for solo sitar and live electronics. The work constitutes a fusion between Western musical composition and Indian classical music, which I have been studying simultaneously for the past seven years. The sitar's music draws heavily upon its traditional performance technique, while also introducing a number of extended techniques developed specifically for this piece. Compositionally, I rely minimally on the tonal elements of Indian music, choosing instead an approach to tonality consistent with my recent work. The instrument is amplified by four loudspeakers, which are positioned in a square around the audience. At the same time, a microphone is picking up the sound and sending it to a computer, where it is modulated in various ways. Once processed, the computer sends the sound out to the same loudspeakers. The speakers themselves play an important role in the composition, as the sound is constantly moving from one to another. A large portion of the electronic processing occurs in a patch that I programmed in Max/MSP. The patch creates a variety of musical responses based on a real-time spectral analysis of the sitar performance. This initial process establishes a fundamental relationship between the synthesized sound and the sitar's music. Furthermore, I make use of the programming language Lisp to perform a number of algorithms that aid in the generation of these sounds.