By the same authors

Frozen Reflection, Sleeping Buffalo (Open source score and recording): for solo Piano and mechanical resonators

Research output: Non-textual formComposition

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DatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Media of outputScore
EditionOpen Source, Published on Github
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The piece is structured in two parts. Part one contains distant resonances, provided by e-bows – an electro-mechanical device which serves to keep a single string vibrating indefinitely. These unusual sounds are gradually brought into focus, appearing within a sequence of harmonies designed to include them as seamlessly as possible. Small, isolated moments are set against a continuity of delicate drones, and tiny points of rhythm draw attention to subtle changes in the sonic landscape underneath them. This process poses many technical challenges for the performer, as the amount and timing of the additional resonances provided by the e-bows requires extremely precise control in addition to traditional piano techniques. The second section shows an alternative view; a reversal of this situation. Instead of building harmony on top of drone-like resonances as previously, I wanted to gradually fill out the negative-space around the drone-sounds with dense, chromatic writing. A subtle auditory effect results: at the end of busy passages, the resonance of the drone emerges during moments of rest where it can itself “modulate” the sound of the piano, from inside. Normal piano chords take on a transparent, shimmering quality during these silences-in-sound. A brief moment of recall closes the piece, once both main characters have been exposed. I feel that Charles Ives might have inspired me a little here.

Frozen reflection, Sleeping Buffalo is written for Megumi Masaki. I am extremely grateful for her generous input during the compositional process, which has helped me shape and refine this piece.

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