Friday, October 29, 2010

Mare Serenitatis at UF's Baughman Center

Last night some of my colleagues (Sean Peuquet, Thomas Royal, and Jorge Variego) put on a concert at UF's Baughman Meditation Center. It is a beautiful building right on Lake Alice. They invited the other composers to compose pieces for the space, which is very interesting acoustically. It is very reverberant and has fairly pronounced standing waves at certain frequencies.

I adapted an old piece, Mare Serenitatis. I wrote this piece in 2008 for submission to Concordia University's Harvest Moon festival. One of the festival's categories was "Pianissimo Highs," which stipulated quiet pieces that never fall below 2kHz. I created this piece by using part of the Max/MSP interface for Baffin Bay, improvising with high frequencies in 8 channels. Pretty simple but I think it sounds neat. Listen here.

The Baughman center has resonances at 26.8 Hz and its multiples. For this version, I decided to play two tones at a time, targeting frequencies that would create difference tones that matched the resonances of the space. I made a little filtered pulse with delay to articulate the same frequency.

What I played was essentially an improv, though I did have a rough plan in mind. Since 26.8 Hz is close to a very low A (27.5 Hz), I thought of things that way. I started both of my pulsating sine notes (actually 4 pulsating sines for each note) on high (detuned) A's. I started moving one down little by little, down to a D, playing the delayed pulse on occasion. Then I started moving both of the notes down until I had roughly an E6 and an A5, which made a difference tone of ~A4. I played that pulse a few times and faded everything out.

I wasn't paying too much attention to time but I didn't want it to last too long (though it's fun for me to listen and play - I could have gone on for half an hour). I'm guessing it was about 3-4 minutes. No recording this time but hopefully I'll have a chance to adapt it to another venue sometime!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

work, sonnet, concerts, and stuff

I'm the type who never considers a composition "done" (I'm not at all a perfectionist though), but my flute piece is basically finished. This week I finally got back to work on the "Full Circle" hip-hop-ish project. It's been fun to hear stuff start to come together. I am also thinking up ideas for my final project in my DSP seminar, and toying with the idea of writing a saxophone quartet.

Also, if you missed my Twitter post, I do have a recording of my 48-hour piece:

This next week or so will be busy - a concert by the Sonic Computing Organization on Thursday in UF's Baughman Center. I am presenting a version of Mare Serenitatis, altered to match the resonances of the space... The following Friday will be the 46th Unbalanced Connection concert of electroacoustic music at UF. I will be diffusing Obedience School on the 16-channel GATOR system.

I am supposed to pick my cognate area (aka doctoral minor) and my dissertation committee by the end of this school year. Had a good meeting with a professor in Film and Media studies, and am going to sit in on his Film Theory course. I had been thinking variously of doing the cognate in philosophy or digital media, but I think that film & media studies is closer in line to what I want to research.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

48, ubuntu, mac people, ghazal, mirror universes, free download

Well, this week has flown by. The 48-Hour show went well. I liked my piece a lot better when I heard humans perform it. Waiting for a recording...

For my DSP class, we are using SuperCollider and my prof's own PVC. The second one posed a problem, as it was written for Mac and I am a rare creative-type who uses Windows primarily. Fortunately, this program is run in the Terminal, so with a little reconfiguring it can also be run in Linux.

I installed Ubuntu on my little netbook - I used Wubi, which I highly recommend if you want to see how Linux works. You install it within Windows, without making a partition. So I have been exploring a little bit. Some things are easier to install than others (It's going to take me awhile to get SuperCollider running), but overall I like it quite a bit.

An added bonus to using Linux is the "respect" factor. Now, I think that all operating systems are usable, but "Mac people" have this thing about making fun of Windows. If I use Linux then "Mac people" will finally shut up (because Linux has this esoteric cache - "wow, you must be realllly good with computers!"). I really can't stand "Mac people." Please note that I am differentiating between Mac users and "Mac people."

Moving on...

Ghazal for alto flute is almost finished. I had my first session in the Florida Electroacoustic Music Studio the other day. I need to hang out there more. We have good speakers (Genelec). And a Mac. :P

I have essentially finished writing the Mirror Universes series, and now Caleb Herron and I are making plans to record all the pieces for a CD. I am really looking forward to that - I enjoyed his and Ariana's rendition (of No. 2), but I think that the pieces will work better listening at home than in a coffeeshop.

Speaking of CDs, I decided to put Late Frost and Parallel Lives up for free download on my site. I had broken even on them, and it's not like I'll be losing millions of dollars in revenue. They are still available for purchase on various sites, just in case someone stumbles upon me elsewhere.

I'm sure more happened this week, and I'll post it if it seems important. Cheers!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

48-Hour Show

I'll write a real blog later. I am going to upload screen shots of my work-in-progress to this entry.

Third section. It has unison melodies, and may be - dare I say - "pretty":

Second section now looks more like this: (finished around 2:00am, posting at 9:55 am)

Second section - too march-like, to overtly renaissance for my taste. Getting scrapped but here you go. (12:17am)

First section, done for now. 11:06pm

Thursday, October 7, 2010

48-Hour Show preview

This Sunday-Tuesday at UF we are embarking on a project known as the 48-Hour Show. Composers will randomly draw an ensemble and have 24 hours to compose. The ensembles will then have 24 hours to rehearse. I am very excited about participating, being a veteran of this type of show (I started Georgia State's Instant Music Series - which to my delight is still going - back in '06). 48 hours is too much time, if you ask me, but I'm the new guy here so no one did.

I will blog about the experience afterward, but I will be tweeting about it starting Sunday night.

In celebration and preparation, I would like to share my two "Instant" pieces from '06 and '07. I am happy with both of them:

April 1, 2006

For the first Instant Music, I randomly drew as my quartet 2 percussionists, classical guitar, and trumpet. Somehow, this made me imagine something Takemitsu-esque. I wrote a 12-tone piece, since I was using that technique a lot at the time and since I knew it would be helpful to churn out notes.

This piece later became the first movement of Three Haiku. Here are links and recordings of both for comparison's sake.

Score, Haiku for 4 Players

Score, Three Haiku

March 30, 2007

Compared to the second year, I had a luxurious amount of time to write Haiku. Due to my teaching schedule and a desire for a few hours of sleep, I have about 4 hours to compose my Instant piece.

This time I drew trumpet and baritone singer. We made an option that you could add yourself as a performer to your own piece, so I added piano. For the text, I chose a poem by Charles Bukowski. Note: not safe for work.

Score of You


Friday, October 1, 2010

flute piece draft

This week I continued knocking the flute part into shape, and I made a mockup with the MIDI rendition plus some of the electronic textures I've been making.

Next big task is to make the real electronic part, which will be based on these textures, but be more elaborate. At the same time, I am planning to make the changes in textures gradual enough that the soloist has room to play with the tempo and not worry too much about lining up exactly with the electronic part.