Antiprism

ummer – Fall 2005

for guitar and computer; 9:30

The idea for Antiprism was inspired during a session with a percussionist friend of mine in which we were exploring the sounds of traditional instruments played with alternate techniques. At one point, the percussionist began striking a ride cymbal with a soft mallet and at the same time, partially muting the cymbal in different locations with his other hand. The result was a strikingly diverse collection of sounds. The potential latent within this single instrument was immediately revealed to me. It also was apparent how delicate component frequencies are and how easily they are lost in the complex combination of spectra involved in ensemble playing. I decided it was of paramount importance to maintain, or further, amplify the subtle indigenous sounds of the instrument so I decided to create a solo piece. My strategy, in keeping with the ideal of using “organic” sounds, was to separate the frequency spectrum into 8 “buckets” and at the same time, control the temporal expression of these buckets by way of a delay based system. I constructed such a system in Max/MSP and discovered the program had instrumental applications beyond that of the ride cymbal. I am composing a suite of pieces using this program, the one featured here features the electric guitar. The frequency parameters and delay intervals are programmable; much of the timbral and rhythmic content is created as a result of alterations of these inputs. The piece, through this program, purports to explore and reveal the “hidden” sounds that are typically relegated to a complementary role in more common spectral configurations.

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