Prelude No. 1

for flute and computer

Program Note

Prelude No.1 for Flute and Computer is the first in a series of short interactive pieces for solo wind instrument with live computer processing as an accompaniment. The piece was written for friends Dmitri Tymoczko and Elizabeth Camp, as a musical gift for their wedding. Since Dmitri, also a composer, had been formulating a lot of theoretical ideas about diatonic scales around the time I began to compose the piece, I decided the piece should be based on scales whose half- and whole-step pattern does not repeat at the octave. Ironically, however, the solo flute line is comprised mainly of skips and leaps, focusing on the implied harmonic underpinning of different sections of the scale, and contains very few diatonic steps! The computer’s role is to make a subtle commentary on the solo flute line and provide an unobtrusive harmonic support where appropriate. It is worth noting that all of the sounds in the electronic component of the piece come from the live performer on stage: the computer starts the piece with a blank slate, and automatically follows the performer through the notes of the score, sometimes processing the live sound of the flute and sometimes recording specific sounds for playback and processing later in the piece.

Additional Information

The computer part is realized with a “patch” (i.e. software program) running in the software Max/MSP from Cycling ’74 Inc., and is available in either a stereo or 4-channel version. This performance score includes technical information, and a link here performance materials can be downloaded.

Coming Soon – Summer 2015

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