like a halo
for prepared violin, soprano, alto sax, horn, harp, piano, and electronicist(2014, revised 2015)
|Commission||Commissioned by Ensemble Dal Niente|
|Premiere||March 2014; New Sounds Festival, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo; Ensemble Dal Niente • Michael Lewanski (conductor)|
|Technical requirements||AMPLIFICATION / ELECTRONICS|
The electronicist controls four signals: violin, soprano, clean ensemble signal & ensemble signal with reverb added. The prepared violin and the soprano should be amplified in order to project the timbral details of relatively quiet sounds.
The ensemble should also be lightly amplified using either individual microphones or room mics, depending on acoustics and set up of the space. Send the composite ensemble signal into a mixer, wrack unit or patch that adds reverbs to this signal. The same reverb can also be used throughout, or, if the desired, radically different reverbs could be applied during each of the full ensemble “flurries” and subsequent halo “trails” to create surreal shifts in location.
The amplification levels are indicated on a six-part scale. It’s up to the electronicist to decide, based on the room and the performance scenario, what the scale is, with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest level. 0 could be with no amplification or with a small amount of amplification. Similarly, 5, the loudest level should be set to the specifics of each performance. Relative levels and adjustments for the different inputs these are indicated in the score, as are suggestions for when the reverb could be changed.
Like a halo, only involving dust and water, not ice. When white light gets split up and redirected by ice or water in the air, it changes direction thanks to resonance effects. The light rebounds back toward the observer and creating a prismatic optical effect around the shadow of the observer's head. As an amateur photographer and meteorologist, I am always pleased by such happy accidents in my photographs photograph I’ve taken.
Like a halo, only involving… This piece began with a quiet popping sound with a subtle ringing resonant halo that J. Austin Wulliman and I discovered on a prepared violin we had developed together. This sound is produced under just the right conditions—with a very slow and careful bowing technique on the detuned lowest string. This little sound reminded me of the above-described and poetically named optical effect, and I exploded the metaphor into formal and orchestrational ideas for like a halo. Throughout this sextet sounds with a high noise content get thrown into contact with energetic crystallized gestures that redirect the sound into different pitch and timbral profiles.
– Katherine Young