for alto saxophone and live electronics
“Do you believe in fate?” This question began each of the 60-minute 1-on-1 interviews I conducted for this project during Summer 2018. The resulting eight hours of audio recordings formed the narrative basis for this work, which explores the topics of destiny, consequence, faith, and choice in people’s lives.
The alto saxophone player interacts with the digital audio in various ways, both musically and theatrically. Slap tongue, portamento, breath, and various other extended techniques are used. Slonimsky’s Scale #950 forms the basis of much of the pitch content.
The spatial position of the saxophone, as measured by a cell phone (or another real-time GPS device), impacts the audio playback. When tilted down, the miked saxophone sound has delay applied. When tilted up, a multi-pitch-shift patch duplicates the signal into a major chord “chorus” effect. During one section, the left/right tilt of the performer dynamically selects between two separate, simultaneous audio tracks, allowing the performer to impact the playback and narrative in real-time.
The technology used includes a mic on the sax, cell phone or other real-time GPS data device on the sax, laptop, Pure Data patch, and stereo speaker system.
This work was composed for my colleague and friend, saxophonist Dr. Sarah Roberts, and was premiered by her at the College Music Society South Central Regional Conference in Conway, AR, on March 13, 2020.
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