Works

Duet

2003, singer, two microphones, Max, computer (open-ended)
Recorded University of York, 2003, Natasha Lohan, voice

Fergal Dowling · Duet (excerpt)

Duet is the first in a series of computer-based, spatial compositions which implement interactive, generative processes using the same limited set of materials: one or two singers, a computer (running MaxMSP), two microphones and two loudspeakers. The exact set of materials, their arrangement, method of connection, as well as the functioning of the MaxMSP patch is the premise that gives rise to each individual piece. Each resulting paradigm suggests its own musical approaches, treatments and forms.

Here, two microphones are positioned at either side of the stage area, the performer moves back and forth between the microphones. When a sound is made at either microphone Duet Max patch counts time until a sound is made at the other (or the same) microphone. The time difference is applied to a variable delay on the channel on which the first sound was received. A score is provided and gives suggested timings of movements between the microphones but it provides no indication of pitch, duration, or any description of the type of sounded material. The performer is free to find his/her own path through this paradigm.

The performer repeatedly crosses the performance space, while the MaxMSP patch continually re-maps his/her spatial movements to temporal gestures. The real physical limits of the operational space – the distance separating the microphones, the speed of the running or walking performer – are translated into musical events as the space, in its temporal representation, is constantly reiterated.