Performance and Improvisation

Performance & Improvisation


Tambambient: sound mixtures in surf, dip and bit dilations

Brian Eno’s Discreet Music and Music for Airports have, since their publication in the 1970s, opened up new ways to conceive sonic worlds that listeners could “swim in, float in, get lost inside” (Eno B. , 2017), using a vast electronic palette of sound.  Different senses of the immersive experience evoked by Eno have inspired our composition Tamba.  In Tamba, we explore the possibility of generating electronic sonic temporal dilations of an immersive experience, using synthesized sounds programmed in Pure Data. 

Parametric polyphony in recent guitar music

This article approaches the performing/interpretative issues arising from the performer’s relationship to models of extended/multi-parametric notation in guitar music. Two works are examined: Aaron Cassidy’s The Pleats of Matter (2005-7) for electric guitar and electronics and Wieland Hoban’s Knokler (2008-16) for solo classical guitar, although I argue that Hübler’s Reisswerck (1987) for solo classical guitar can be regarded as an antecedent Finally, I discuss the performer’s relation to these models of notation beyond the mere exploration of new playing techniques.

Fingers, Fragility and Freedom – Christian Wolff’s Pianist: Pieces

This article examines two movements of Christian Wolff’s Pianist: Pieces (2001) to illustrate how in this work the physiology of the pianist’s hands limit and shape the music both in terms of what is played (which sounds are heard) and how they are played. Specifically it looks at how my hands and my interpretative preferences determine what is played and heard when I am the pianist in these pieces.

Communicative movement in contemporary chamber music: hand werk in the rehearsal of new works by Thierry Tidrow and Georgia Koumará

Movement, that essential element for any musician, plays a distinct role in new chamber music. It is one of the ways that musicians communicate and it is a choreography that leads and shapes the performance of the work. We use movement to help guide each other through the piece, to indicate shifts in texture and dynamic, and to breathe and find a common pulse. It is regularly annotated in a precise manner, clarifying where to look or who should be given a signal, and each annotation reflects the needs of that particular instance in the score. Notation guides our movements just as we guide each other.

Multiphonic Mobile

Multiphonic Mobile is an improvised work for an oboist-in-motion and a mobile. For its creation, the work uses a range of pre-selected multiphonics and sound distortion techniques (flutter-tonguing, embouchure modifications etcetera) which are read from the planes of the mobile, alongside improvised movements which are dictated by the mobile.

The Politics of Resonance

‘GIB SIE WIEDER’ is a series of two political compositions, dedicated to exceptional performers Garth Knox (viola d’amore) and Rhodri Davies (harp). In this project, the central focus is on resonance in both a musical and wider socio-cultural sense. Finding the term closely correlated to the construction of gender, I direct my inner ear to the hidden background noises of the organisation of society. As a woman and composer, I perceive aural patterns of individual and political significance.

The Handless Watch: On composing and performing ‘Flutter Echoes’

Étude d’un prélude II – Flutter echoes for string quartet is one of the first works to be based on the transcription, into standard notation, of millisecond-faithful micro-temporal data; the work was composed in 2009, premièred in 2010 and recorded in 2011. This article provides a first-hand account of its inception by the composer, Richard Beaudoin, and one of its first performers, Neil Heyde, cellist of the Kreutzer Quartet. The micro-temporal data was collected using the Lucerne Audio Recording Analyzer [LARA], a powerful software developed by the acoustic researchers Dr Olivier Senn and Lorenz Kilchenmann of the Hochschule Lucerne, Switzerland. The object of their analysis, and the source work behind Flutter echoes, is Martha Argerich’s 1975 Deutsche Grammophon recording of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, no. 4.