Blue Traces (piano solo and electronics)


Print Edition Price: 

$9.95 printed score
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[GibsonJ] Blue Traces - Score



Year Authored (or revised): 


Instrumentation : 

piano and computer, with optional string orchestra

Duration (min): 




First Performance: 

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Faculty Recital

Kati Gleiser, the pianist for whom I wrote Blue Traces, told me about swimming in the ocean at night and marveling at the colorful glow cast from bioluminescent plankton. Moving your arm disturbs the plankton, and in response they set off a bluish trail of soft light. This image gave me the idea for the piece: the piano plays, and the computer creates gently glowing traces of sound. Near the end, everyone becomes more agitated, as if the swimmer were now splashing around and the plankton reacting with more excitement.

All the computer sound comes from live sampling of the piano performance, transformed by various kinds of granulation — a technique that can take a short sound and extend it into a long sustained note.

Max patch available here:




Ensemble Type: 

solo audio or video fixed media
string orchestra
live audio interactive solo or+voice(s) or instruments
Internal Fields


electronic or computer live sound
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