For electric guitar, sine waves & seven speakers
in three movements
in collaboration with Virginia Arancio (guitar)
Total duration: 15 min
Movement I: 7 min
Movement II: 5 min
Movement III: 3 min
Video: 2nd Movement in a presentation at Bern University of the Arts, played by Virginia Arancio, 2009
The piece, in three movements, deals with the convergence of clean electric guitar harmonics and sine waves until the point where they become astonishingly similar, if not indistinguishable. Electronic switches, so-called gates, control the amplification and the envelope of both the guitar sounds and the sine waves. This electronic gating system creates rhythmic shapes out of continuous sounds, leading to a polyrhythmic sound texture. Each of the three movements treats a different perspective of the same issue. While the first movement exhibits slow, long-sustained guitar harmonics and sine waves, the second one uses only non-sustained tremolo sounds and short, impulsive sine waves. The last movement finally breaks away from almost any pitch, using solely dampened noise.
In the performance, the multichannel outputs of the processed guitar and the sine waves become audible through seven speakers, each transmitting the sound in another direction. The sound texture is thus rendered exceptionally spatial as the audience primarily listens to room reflections instead of direct sound.
photo © 2009 Marcel Zaes