YOU CAN ONLY (2017) for cello and synthesizer
performed by members of Retro Disco at CCRMA stage
EDGES (2015) for flute, organ, and electronics
premiered by Erika Oba and Julie Herndon, 2015
performed by Elevate Ensemble, 2017
(DE)ATTACHMENT (2015) for saxophone quartet
Stephanie Neumann, soprano
Adam Hirsh, alto
Josh Marshall, tenor
Steve Adams, baritone
@Signal Flow Festival, 2015
These three etudes on displacement feature a light bulb "singer" and other relocated voices.
Music boxes are tiny containers of nostalgia, referencing music and memories far greater than themselves. For this project, I modified about 70 of these little instruments with grit from sidewalks and mounted them on light posts, benches, and bike racks in downtown Oakland. Collaborator Dan Gottwald built a corresponding multi-player thumb harp.
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WHY DID YOU DO THIS? (2017) for string quartet
premiered by Majel Connery,
St. Lawrence String Quartet,
and Rolston Quartet
Domesticated animals communicate
through highly anthropomorphized
subverbal expressions. The extent to
which we understand them depends
on our sensitivity and training.
Melodies disintegrate, distort, and evolve as sonic and visual material. As the original songs are stretched, strained, and defamiliarized, new material emerges. The process balances on the cusp of control.
HOME ON THE FRONTIER
(2015) installation @Megapolis Audio Art Festival
followed by piano contours that either matched or mismatched the verbal segments. Participants correctly matched the melodies with the phrase segments 80% of the time, suggesting a successful translation from speech to melody.
This piece begins with a melody stated as a sort of prime. It is then stripped to its intervallic relationships, transposed, and, finally, silenced. To what extent is its verbal content sensed through these transformations?
A physical realization of memory, modeled from David Appelbaum's book, The Voice. While the words are barely audible, speech inflection shapes the musical material. Pitches emerge as speech slows. Words stretch lugubriously into tones and, eventually, song.
Write a letter...
In (de)attachment, I consider the emotional geography of love and loss. Through the arrangement original vocal songs, I simulate the creation and storage process of memory and emotions. The players interact with these melodies in a variety of ways including improvisation, responding to text and graphics, and performing symbolic gesture. In this way, the songs become a vehicle for experience and a release into physical space.
A pilot study by Herndon and Washburn (2016) showed that melodies can retain verbal content using Speech-to-Song Illusion (Deutsch, 1995). In this EEG/two-alternative forced choice task, verbal phrase segments were repeated to participants in order to create Speech-to-Song Illusion through repetition. Afterwards, excerpts of the phrase were played back,
TRANSPARENTUDES (Can't ____ You) (2017) for percussion trio
premiered by Line Upon Line
@ CCRMA Stage
These edges are boundaries that may or may not exist, melodic fragments
transplanted into instrumental, mechanical, and electronic "lungs." The hissing and popping electronics simulate a nervous system. The keyboard and sine tones support the breath-based flute melody. These instrumental voices breathe together, imitating and diverging from each other.
TO SPEAK (2018) for string quartet
premiered by JACK Quartet @ CCRMA Stage
FEAR AND FLYING
(2015) for clarinet, cello, and double bass
premiered by Gleb Kanasevich, clarinet; James Burch, cello; and Matt Kline, double bass
@soundSCAPE new music festival