The recording contains three channels, a stereo feed to loudspeakers and a click track for the performer, who will require headphones or an ear bud. Alternatively, there is a stereo playback with both channels in one channel and the click track in the other.
The basic idea behind my Harmonic Fantasy for Piano and Fixed Media is that the fixed media part, generated by computer, resonates and complements the sounds of the piano. There is never any opposition, or even any counterpoint, between the two forces in the work. There are four sections to the piece, which are like four separate movements. In the beginning, the piano plays a few notes, and the computer sustains them, while emphasizing certain upper partials in a repeated pattern. This idea continues in the second section, which is a slow passage that builds increased complexity through accretion, by adding more notes to the passage that it began with. The third section begins when the piano starts playing fast scale-like passages in the higher register. These notes are actually the same resonances that have been used in the opening, only now the computer plays the lower fundamentals to which these are the resonances. These roles exchange in the last section, where the piano returns to playing low, sustained tones while the computer resonates the upper harmonics. The term “harmonic” does not refer to harmony in the traditional sense, but to overtones, which are the focus of the sounds. The score shows only the fundamental frequencies, not the resonances of the upper partials which are such an important part of the piece’s surface texture. The position of notes on the staves in the fixed media part is not significant; they are only a convenience that enables the notes to be written in the most economical manner. The piece was commissioned by Nancy Bogen and is dedicated to her and to her husband, Arnold Greissle-Schoenberg.