The soundworld for "How Long..." is drawn primarily from
unaltered recordings of the sound of piano strings plucked with the
fingers or tapped with soft mallets. Additional sounds are composed
of natural recordings of small percussion instruments from around
Improvisations using these sound sources were edited to create hundreds
of small phrases lasting between about 1/2 second to 2 or 3 seconds.
Sonic transformations of these basic sound sources makes an additional
layer, almost a distant horizon, of sonic texture. In performance,
the short phrases and their transformations are articulated through
a computer program combining traditional compositional methods with
live interactive control.
choreography does not often underscore surface relationships between
musical gesture and dance. Rather she focuses on deeper more subtle
relationships of musical texture and compositional development combining
her musical studies and choreographic genius into a subtle dance
of sound, silence and movement. In "How Long..." we have
attempted to honor this approach in an interactive context where
the relationships highlighted by the analytical data from the motion
capture are used to create deep, and maybe often unobservable, relationships
between movement and media. Yet, the movement breathes life into
the media making it a live and constantly changing kaleidoscope of
organic shapes and textures.
result almost places the listener inside of an enormous imaginary
piano. I have attempted to keep the sound natural, with plenty of
space left to reveal the organic shapes and movement in Trisha Brown's
choreography, and the evolving graphics on screen. Part of the
challenge being my desire to keep basic relationships and esthetics
of sound, silence and movement in a highly technological context.
The interactive system for real-time sound generation for "How
Long . . ." is based upon a compositional computer program by
Curtis Bahn using the application MAX/MSP by cycling74. Custom software
was written by Todd Ingalls to connect the output of the custom dance
analysis system and the MAX/MSP programming environment. The MAX/MSP
environment allows an easy graphical interface for creating algorithmic
relationships between movement and sound; calculating and articulating
them in real-time during the performance. The recorded sounds and
sounds transformations are generated based on movement
activity and spatial relationships of the dancers. Each performance
is drawn from the sameset of hundreds of basic sounds, transformations
and relationships, however, the way in which these elements are combined
and articulated is always different.