Bit of nostalgia... for one or two percussionists and live electronics performer

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2006-04-30

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Abstract

Bit of nostalgia is a work for one or two percussionists and a live electronics performer that explores performer creativity through a graphic score and investigates the ways that the objects performers interact with (instruments) shape their actions/performances. The percussionist(s) take an active role in designing the stage set-up for each performance by superimposing a grid on the performance space, and filling at least half of the sectors with combinations of instrument-types listed in the piece's instructions (including objects made of metal, wood, glass, paper, plastic, and stone). Each sector that contains groups of instruments also contains a music stand holding three of eighteen closely related score pages. The similarities inherent in the various score pages requires that performers frequently reinterpret quasi-redundant visual materials with greatly varying groups of instruments (and objects), emphasizing the differences between each instrument group.

While the performance proceeds, another performer interprets the same score using Cycling 74's MAX/MSP (software that accomplishes real-time sound synthesis and processing) to process and playback sound segments from recordings of previous rehearsals and/or performances. To accomplish this, the computer performer utilizes some or all of nine MAX/MSP patches (single windows containing a user designed graphical interface) of my design that incorporate differently controlled ring modulation, filtering, and delay in isolation or various combinations. The percussionists directly respond to these sounds as well as each other while interpreting certain pages of the score that contain the letters I, O, and T (signifying imitate, oppose, and transform respectively). These letters direct the performers to address sounds/actions produced by the other performer, themselves, or the electronics through their interpretations. Through these interactions, I hope to bring a sense of self-history into the piece and create an interesting notion of depth which reflects a broader perspective of what constitutes a "work." Whereas one typically thinks of an artwork as a fixed entity such as a score, I am trying to overtly link and interconnect otherwise marginalized and disparate aspects that contribute to the totality of this piece such as rehearsals and performances.

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