In piano, a vibrator really excites secondary harmonics; which, if you have the dampers up, amplifies sympathetic resonance from other strings that represent the partials of the primary fundamental tone and “secondary fundamental.” (Secondary fundamental because the secondary harmonic is loud enough to excite the partials that exist when it is the fundamental tone.) Apart from the fact that this sympathetic response sounds wonderfully fulfilling, of particular interest to me is how it conceptually plays with the idea of command voices.
In patients with psychosis, command voices are the ones that instruct them to do destructive things or behave in a certain manner. I am intensely fascinated with the relationship between a musician and their instrument as a secondary self, and the implied consciousness of an inanimate object. In many ways, musicians are command voices for instruments, composers are command voices for musicians, fundamental tones are command voices for the partials that make up the pitches that we know; but all of these instances are largely predictable and controlled.
Vibrating objects present a more accurate depiction of a command voice in a psychotic patient, while I may be able to control one or two of them in manipulating the sound of the piano, as I add more of them, I lose control… specific pitches and the resulting resonant tones are left to chance. In this way, the instrument is coming alive in a manner that removes my authoritative energy, and my conversation with the instrument inevitably must fundamentally change. Furthermore, vibrators in piano create a certain underlying chaos; as I begin to interact with the instrument in a traditional manner (playing the keys) I am acting as a dominant command voice, but on a deeper level because of the subtlety of the resonant voices underneath, I am also, presenting the public face of my instrument. We all have noise in our heads, it may manifest as non-command voices, but an inner dialogue is always present; however, we don’t go around sharing our inner thoughts all the time, we have a mask… in this relationship, I am the piano’s mask, which conceptually obliterates the conventional relationship between musician and instrument.
meditation for water, wind, and metal (2015) is a contemplative structured improvisation for one performer with live electronics. The piece is inspired by the search to find harmony and center while on the road away from a loved one who is a percussionist, as well as the water and sea breeze of the composer’s hometown.
Memory quilts are made by collecting meaningful pieces of fabric from one or more individuals, cutting the fabric to conform to a specific pattern, and finally, binding them together with thread to create a cozy blanket. A sonic memory quilt is created by collecting stories from many individuals and fastens them together through music or other sound creation devices.