Year Authored (or revised): 


Instrumentation : 

Solo instrument and interactive electronics (Kyma) or fixed-media electronics

Duration (min): 

7 - 10 minutes


Willful Devices

First Performance: 

September 2010, St. Paul, MN

Consortium is the result of work that never made it into the multimedia chamber opera The Cosmic Engine. It shares with Some Fabric and a Few Pieces of Bone the concept of independent fabrics of sound circumnavigating the performance space, whose processing is coupled to the behavior of sound in that space. A critical element of these fabrics is their origin in the works of two English Renaissance composers. The first is a recording of a melody by William Byrd (as recorded by clarinetist Pat O’Keefe) and the other, a recording of a melody by John Jenkins (as recorded by cellist Jacqueline Ultan). The playback of these elements is inspired by the intersection of the ancient ideas of canon and isorhythm, and the rather more modern ideas of sample looping and phase-shifting. 

I have implemented this by playing back and looping a portion of each melody in a large window of time, between two- and six-beats wide. Over the course of three minutes, this window gradually traverses the length of a 32-beat melody, all the time adjusting and transforming the material being looped. I am employing two or three iterations of both melodies simultaneously, but with different window sizes and meta-playback rates, all being modulated by the response of the sound in the performance space (or, in the case of the fixed-media version, the studio I created the work in). This creates a kind of double canon that is the foundation for a live, improvised performance that implements this same idea of moving windows to both melodic lines.


Ensemble Type: 

solo instrument(s) +audio or video playback
variable inst or undefined

Listening Sample: 

Internal Fields


electronic or computer live sound
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