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making one leaf transparent and then another

Armstrong, N. (2012). making one leaf transparent and then another


The work was commissioned by Mark Knoop, who gave the premiere performance at Kings Place, London. Subsequent international performances include: Fabian Coomans (Ictus Zone, Brussels), Mark Knoop (Unerhörte Musik, Berlin), Elisa Medinilla (Ars Musica, Brussels). making one leaf transparent and then another forms part of an on-going series of works for piano and electronics. Each of these works is concerned with an investigation into the unique spectromorphological characteristics of distinctive piano sonorities, and with the development of structuring process that follow from the 'interiors' of sonic events. The material for the present work is derived entirely from the 11th harmonic of the piano's lowest Eb string (produced mezzo-forte and without pedal). A formal dialectic is established between contrasting projections of this spectral material; between what might be considered its 'outer' and 'inner' aspects (in spectromorphological terms: 'note' and 'sonority'). At the background level of the work, a gradual shift is effected from the outer to the inner aspect, as processes of intervallic transformation, repetition, and downwards registral shift draw the listener's focus towards the interior detail of the sounding matter, and towards a stronger sense of spectral fusion between distinct acoustic components. These aspects are reinforced by the introduction of the electronic sounds, which bind the piano notes more closely to the source sonority. The approach to electronics in the work is minimal by design. A single loudspeaker is placed face-down inside the piano, with the drivers directly above the resonance holes. The piano effectively 'filters' the electronic sounds, with the soundboard acting as a resonator, and the strings acting as a virtual filterbank, resulting in a fusion and blurring of acoustic and electronic identities. The result is a kind of meta-instrument, allowing for new sonorities that seem to both belong to the piano while at the same time extending its sounding potential into new dimensions.

Publication Type: Composition
Additional Information: Selected performances: Artifical Environments, London, Jun 2012; Ars Musica, Brussels, Feb 2013; Unerhörte Musik, Berlin, Feb 2013; The Speaking Pianist, Dijon, Feb 2014; Kölner Gesellschaft für Neue Musik, Jun 2014; Music at Villa Romana, Florence, Oct 2014; Piano Hero, Mons, Feb 2015.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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