Liquid Study no 2

for piano and electronic sound

Full Score (pdf)

300 Word Statement

Liquid Study no 2, for piano and electronics, was composed for the pianist Ian Buckle and premiered at the International Concert Series at Leeds University. It was composed as a companion piece to Davidovsky's Synchronisms no 6 for the same instrumentation, and contributes to several research areas: concatenative synthesis, target-based sound mosaicing, and hybrid electroacoustic computer-aided composition systems.

With Davidovsky's piece in mind, a primary goal was to create a palpable unity of sound and behaviour shared by both the acoustic and electronic parts. To achieve a sense of singular morphological energy across time, a 'mock up' was made for the entire piece using the recordings of the composer's voice. Working in this rarefied medium permitted the composer to design, sculpt, and revise gestures unfettered by the full dimensionality of compositional decision making. Once the voice-based mock-up was complete, these vocal sounds were creatively transcribed into both the acoustic and electronic parts, by using a program for concatenative synthesis, AudioGuide, created by the composer. As a result of this process, the piano and electronics often interlock in timbrally and rhythmically intricate ways, outstripping what would be possible if the two parts were generated in a disjunctive manner.

This work is one in a series of pieces which explore an imagined physics based on the behaviour of fluids. Other compositions in the series focus more on using the idea of liquid as gestural and temporal metaphor. Here, in addition, a notion of pianistic virtuosity is also treated in a fluid, malleable way. This is accomplished in the electronics, where dense layering of piano samples is used to make purposefully un-pianistic montages, creating tension between what is seen, what is heard, and what was previously thought possible.

Program Note

Liquid Study no. 2 is one of a series of pieces that explore an imagined sonic physics based on the behaviour of fluids. This particular work came about through my admiration for Mario Davidovsky's Synchronisms no 6 for piano and electronics, a piece which itself exhibits fluidity in a variety of musical domains. My composition engages with three aspects of Davidosky's work:



Recording Credits: Credits: Ian Buckle, Piano.

Open Source Software Links

Audioguide homepage; Audioguide github page