Liquid Study no. 2

by Benjamin Hackbarth
April 28, 2017, 9:39 pm

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:

  • An isolated note, G, begins both pieces. This pitch is initially an object of timbral intrigue, but later becomes a reference point to which all other pitches (and actions) are tethered.
  • Tension from the mixture of a familiar and visually-present instrument (the piano) and an unfamiliar and visually-absent sonic force (the electronics). As in Davidovsky’s composition, these two forces are continuously intertwined in my work, but friction also comes from the fact that while the piano and electronics share a similar sound world, the electronics perpetually transform the piano’s sound in ways which directly contradict its physical capabilities.
  • An intense, sudden and unexpected tremolo. In the Davidovsky it is a climactic moment which acts as a keystone on an arch built out of many disjunct elements. In my piece this gesture is more consequential in terms of form - the tremolo marks a moment where the listener is suddenly plunged into a new medium, more viscous and resistant than before. This watershed gesture irrevocably alters how musical time moves forward.

Composition and Performance (18) Instruments and Computer Sound (10) Sound Synthesis (2)