COMPEL Omeka Dev

Browse Items (868 total)

  • Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, Fixed Media
  • Spinning, spinning, spinning… we greet the wondrous creatures that live within the whirligig. This piece explores textures created through spinning, or that evoke whirling. As the whirligig goes round and round, I imagine a menagerie of creatures great and small that reside within. This work is based on a poem composed by my mother when she carried me, and I dedicate it to my newborn daughter. Things That Live in the Whirligig is for solo multi-percussion and live processing, composed in Pure Data. “For things once seen are pulled within the whirligig of mind, where they are tamed and in the heart framed to be used over again in time…”

    Score and Pd patch available at

  • The mitochondria within my body will perish at the time of my death.  Like all men and women who will not in the course of their life carry a child within them, the long chain of information passed through these cells exclusively from mother to child will be destroyed and forgotten.  Mitochondrial Dreams is a musical work for found percussion items and electronics produced using Csound, Pure Data, and Logic.  It explores the wonder that can be felt when contemplating the ancient genetic history these cells carry.  They are part of us; indeed we could not exist without them, yet these small creatures are genetically dissimilar from our own code.  They are an essential part of our shared human heritage.  The community of mitochondrial cells within me has propagated in a line unbroken since before the first humans walked the earth – yet this genetic lineage will unquestionably end with me.  Mitochondrial Dreams is a celebration of the marvelous complexity of life and a reckoning with mortality.

    Score and Pd patch available at

  • For ages, the orchestra served as the most advanced tone generator available to the musical art. The history of the orchestra has been one of continual development toward a diversity of timbre, loudness, and register. The computer is the only musical instrument capable of making all sounds discernible by the human ear; it is logical then to bring the computer into the orchestral tradition. Transfigurations combines the vast musical forces provided by these two mediums. All the sounds one hears originate in the orchestra itself live during the performance, except for the last sound. The computer processes these sounds in real time – manipulating, augmenting, and reinventing the performance. As with human musicians, no two iterations of the computer realization are exactly alike.

    The piece comprises five sections. The first is a fast-paced interplay between the orchestra and the computer, filled with counterpoint and rising to a dark and threatening culmination. In the second part, the flute, clarinet, and computer intermingle and untangle again with interjections from the rest of the full ensemble. The third portion of the work is a hopeful adagio, expanded in color by the computer, which ends in a triumphant outburst. The fourth section is dominated by solo violin and percussion. Both are manipulated to create an dense, metallic texture with threatening interjections from the rest of the ensemble. In the final section, the orchestra takes off at brisk pace, as if trying to outpace the ever-increasing effect of the digital manipulation. It is finally overtaken in a moment of music controlled by the computer and completely transformed from the live performance. As this music fades away, the only sounds not manipulated directly from the orchestra are heard. These chime-like tones are determined stochastically by the computer from the notes of the opening chordal motive. As these play softly fading into the distance, the orchestra enters once again for a final weary statement.

    Score and Pd patch available at

  • When I was a child, one of my favorite books to read was a series of science fiction novels by Isaac Asimov entitled Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot. Although I remember very little of these books, the title character still holds a very sentimental part of my heart. In the books, Norby and his boy owner would travel the galaxy, inevitably get in to trouble, and somehow always manage to save the day. The Adventures of Norby (2007) is a theatrical work for piano and pre-recorded electronics that chronicles the exploits (unrelated to the novels) of Norby.

    The piece is very visual, and to be most effective, it must be seen in person, which I suppose makes it an unintentional statement on the societal obsession over recordings. During the piece, the pianist taps various parts of the case with his/her hands and fists, plays drumsticks on the floor, uses hard mallets inside the piano on the iron frame and the strings, and also improvises. The piece also blends several musical genres together.

  • Cataclysmic textural narrative

    Meridian (2014) is an attempt at a sort of textural narrative. Through abstract sound events I attempted to form a palpable sonic environment and a warped sense of physicality/presence, allowing listeners to derive their own individual settings, stories, and sensations temporally anchored and guided by a mixture of tradition composition and sound design elements, providing an immersive cinematic experience.
  • An interactive acoustic piece for pianist, Disklavier, and Max
  • An interactive acoustic piece for pianist, Disklavier, and Max.

    Heliacal Rising (2015), from the Greek heliakōs, is the rising of a star or celestial object while or just before being obscured by the sun. I approached this second interactive player piano piece with a similar set of processes but a very different mindset, focusing more on texture and expression.
  • Alphabet for solo percussion and fixed electronics is a flexible multi-movement work for a single percussion instrument and fixed electronics comprised of that instrument. Each short movement is based on a letter of the alphabet.

    As of December 2015, “X” for snare and “T” for bowed cymbal are complete. Scores are available from the composer.
  • computer-assisted composition and computer-generated sounds (additive synthesis) produced with DISSCO

    Big Gizmo is a computer-assisted (algorithmic) composition using additive synthesis sounds. It was produced with DISSCO, original software for composition and sound design developed at the Computer Music Project of the UIUC Experimental Music Studios and Argonne National Laboratory. It is also a manifold composition: the total duration of the piece, the durations of sections and events, their start times as well as various characteristics of the sounds (spectrum, frequency, loudness, modulations, spatialization, reverberation, etc.) depend on random selections within set limits. Multiple runs produce multiple variants of the same structure, a family or a class of compositions whose members are equally valid.
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