Music for Modified Digital Piano
Playlist /Notes
  • Music for Modified Digital Piano is available for order through: Spectrum Music (781-862-0088) Price is $15.00

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  • Notes

    Set No. 1 (1998) and Set No. 2 (1990) for Modified Digital Piano are intended to suggest a variety of engaging environments where one may expect to make interesting observations. Each Set includes four separate pieces. The original piano music for Set No. 2 was composed in 1990 and electronically modified in 1998.

    Exotic Plants (1995) is a musical depiction of some of the most extraordinary flora observed on Earth. There are five pieces which comprise the set:

    1. Air Plant
    2. Pitcher Plant
    3. Bromeliad
    4. Elephant Plant
    5. Bird of Paradise

    Music for Modified Digital Piano was generated by a computer from a set of microprograms which contain instructions for realizing the music. The instructions combine the simplest elements of musical texture (pitch, dynamics, duration, speed, rhythm, articulation, etc.) with basic structural elements (continuity, repetition, variation, and chord structures which are derived from the melodic flow of the music). Some random variability is introduced in the program to provide structural coherence. The program then outputs the musical information in the form of MIDI data which controls the digital piano.

    In Exotic Plants, occasionally melodic 'themes' are incorporated within the music. In some pieces, the themes are generated by the computer with a theme generator program, while in others they are freely composed. The themes are input into a data base where they are selected and modified automatically when the program is active.

    The computer is programmed to select short, independent musical sequences or patterns, each with a unique musical identity. These mini-sequences, or sound-groups, complete in themselves and sometimes separated by silences, are then automatically combined within the program to form a coherent movement or short piece.

    Like many familiar processes in nature in which small independent elements become organized into larger entities, the music is intentionally combinatorial. Short musical sequences are generated independently of one another, then spontaneously combined to create larger structures and forms.

    The patterns which form the sequences are selected by the computer program from a set of musical options based on primary elements of musical texture, such as pitch, dynamics, duration, speed, rhythm, articulation, etc. These basic elements of texture, which transcend musical cultures, styles, or idioms, are combined to form various repeated patterns, ascending and descending patterns, rhythmic patterns, melodic patterns, varied and contrasting patterns, etc. Within a single piece, the program may select from over 100 different musical options.

    The recorded piano music has been digitally modified using software to alter the pitch, dynamics, articulation, speed, character, and stereo fields.

    The digital piano is a commercially available Bosendorfer sample which has been modified by the composer to accommodate both aesthetic concerns and MIDI programming challenges.

    Although one cannot help but make the comparison, the digital piano is not intended to imitate or act as a substitute for a standard concert instrument. Rather it has been designed to function as a true digital instrument, possessing it's own unique qualities and character.

    Great Rivers

    Great Rivers for Solo Electric Bassoon was composed in 1997 for Janet Underhill. It is derived solely from the names of twelve great rivers of the world: the Ganges at the Holy City of Benares, the Upper Valley of the Thames, the Amazon, the Rhine at Worms (Home of the Nibelungs), the Seine at Paris from atop Notre Dame Cathedral, the Yangtze at Sikang, Ancient Egyptian Monuments along the Nile, the Danube at Regensburg, the Volga in Winter, the Mississippi, the Irrawaddy at Mandalay, the St. Lawrence at Thousand Islands.

    The musical score consists of integers and musical directives. The integers are determined by the letters in the alphabet which spell-out the name of each river. The musical directives were suggested by various patterns which characterize the river, or specific location along the river. Each integer represents the number of sounds to be played. The overall structure and musical directives were supplied by the composer, while the texture of the music including pitch, dynamics, and rhythm was freely determined by the player in conjunction with the musical directives. Live electronic sound processing was employed as timbral enhancement to the music.

    Eat To Live, Live To Eat

    Eat To Live, Live To Eat for Solo Electric Female Voice was written for Eve Chosak in 1997.

    Similar to Great Rivers, the score for Eat To Live consists of integers and musical directives. The integers were drawn from various nutritious vegetables (Nos. 1 - 6) as well as decadent deserts (Nos. 7 - 12).

    The integers are determined by the letters in the alphabet which spell-out the name of each food. The letter 'a' corresponds to the number 1, the letter 'b' to 2, and so on. The musical directives in the score loosely describe the food. Each integer represents the number of sounds to be sung. The overall structure and musical directives were supplied by the composer, while the texture of the music including pitch, dynamics, and rhythm was freely determined by the player in conjunction with the musical directives. Live electronic sound processing was employed as timbral enhancement to the music.

    Electronic Sound Processing

    Music for Modified Digital Piano was generated, recorded, and digitally modified in the studio.

    Great Rivers and Eat To Live... were recorded during a live performance.

    The sounds of the amplified solo instruments were processed electronically in real time, in keeping with the subject of the music as called-for in the score, The recordings were later processed digitally in the studio by adding extra layers of modification. Both Great Rivers and Eat To Live... were further layered in order to create an electronic version for this recording.