The last few days have been rather busy with other projects than this composition, but it has always been at the back of my mind. I can hear the piece in my mind much better at this point, but must develop the ideas more as well as work on its structure in a more substantial way. I believe I have been thinking about its structure and formalism a bit too much, trying to include too many ideas in a short piece. Therefore, I have been wondering how to peel back several layers and concentrate on making it a good and interesting peace. Listening to Chaya Czernowin’s music, specifically her two CDs Shifting Gravity / Wintersongs III and Hidden, has also been a catalyst to rethink my structuring of the piece (as a side note, fantastic music which rethinks how to work with dramaturgy). I was hearing something less structured and formal, yet trying to write in a very formalistic way which did not work with my mental “image” (for lack of a better word. Sound perhaps?).
This rethinking of how I had started to write the piece has only solidified my ideas for the electronics. It has also made me go for the more pragmatic solution when it comes to the synchronization: the use of a MIDI pedal for cues. This will also make the piece easier to learn for the pianist. However, I will still be using Antescofo to manage certain processes as it is a very convenient programming language where one can describe events in musical time instead of absolute. This will give me the musical and temporal flexibility I want, yet remain practical for the musician. The original idea of using two smaller speakers inside the piano will also be used for the sake of simplicity and it will also force me to think about the mix of the electronics in a different way. Most the small speakers that can be found in conventional stores tend to be Bluetooth here in Norway. This can affect the electronics quite a bit as Bluetooth introduces quite a bit of latency when I have tried it. Although the electronics will not be tightly synchronized to what the pianist is played, this could still be slightly problematic for a few cues I thought of.
The signal chain so far would be thus:
Although it is a relatively simple set-up, there are still many musical and poetical possibilities in such a set-up.
As I sit here writing this diary entry, I’m also working between the electronics and notation, trying to structure them together and give them meaning. I will be using several electronic “modules” that I have programmed before, but slightly modified to have the proper poetic language for this piece. The main module to be re-used is the FM-synthesis system I built for the piece “North Star” for solo flute and electronics. Between the MaxMSP coding and the Antescofo coding, the synthesis notes will be coming more as waves crashing into each other. I am also experimenting with the concept of more complex FM synthesis with more complex ratios. For example, starting with 3 different overtones of a single note and each overtone has a slightly different ratio that varies in time.
The next few days will bring more writing of this piece.