Tag: gated piece

from the time when i wrote my first electroacoustic composition, i became frustrated with the tyranny imposed on the performer by the concreteness of the never changing recorded part. even when a piece was performed flawlessly, i barely enjoyed. it seemed to me that the tape was always in control and that was all I was going to learn. like the idea of the “open scores” which i learned from Earle Brown in the late 80s, i wanted to find a way to introduce flexibility into electroacoustic music to endow the musician with the power to incorporate into any interpretation something about the conditions provided by each particular performance opportunity.” at this point was creating electronically composed sound portraits and noise melodies of fixed duration. then i remembered about noise gates from my days of radio at WECW-FM in Elmira College, and decided to experiment with them in performance. this created a different kind of composition that required an audible stimulus from the performer before anything came out of the speakers. a gated piece uses noise gates to hide a composed soundtracks from both the performer and the audience. by playing something into a microphone, the performer triggers the gate open and reveals whatever sound is playing back at that very moment. because the soundtrack plays in a loop the piece can last any amount of time and it is impossible for the performer to predict what sound is about to appear next; or because of silences in the recorded track, if there will be sound at all. an emerging sound elicits a new response from the performer and it is possible that numerous other short and contrasting audibles may be heard before the gates close anew. a pause of any length causes the gate to close masking the soundtrack completely and that is normally how the piece ends: the performer just stops playing. the achievement is that now, the performer can decide on how to adjust the piece to each situation. it was through these pieces that i established strong relationships with marvelous musicians from different backgrounds, modern classical, experimental and improvisational musicians, like Davey Williams, Fred Lonberg-Holm, David Manson, and Elizabeth Panzer among others. on an interview with Earle Brown around 1996, i discovered that his idea for the second Octet ( an 8-channel electronic piece he never got to realize ) was inspired by a similar gating strategy, and when he came down to Miami in 1998 I asked if he would come back for an iSAW artist residency to create and present a realization of that score. he said, “what a good idea!” but unfortunately we couldn’t figure it out before his passing in 2002

  • Thumbnail for the post titled: Sounding Through Empty Words IVCage Centennial

    Sounding Through Empty Words IV
    Cage Centennial

    This installation was composed by invitation of The John Cage Trust and was included in the Centennial Celebrations of the birth of John Cage

  • Thumbnail for the post titled: Beast


    Beast is an album of electroacoustic compositions for trombone created for and performed by the Florida based virtuoso trombonist and composer David Manson. It includes my gated sound portrait titled, Re: David