adrift

for violin and real-time synthesis (2014)

Duration: 6 min.

adrift (excerpt)

As soon as the violinist restarts the ritual of tuning, the computer already analyses the first emitted sounds. The human and the machine begin their slow drifting together; they’ll try to understand and listen to each other. Their logics are not same: the violin score is a musical proposition that the composer has transferred to the performer, while the computer still handles a part of the writing process; it will realize its own score over the piece.

This dual score, both theory and algorithm, is part of a cyclical conception of the composition, where analysis and synthesis become inseparable. The sounds from the machine are not triggered by a pre-written time line; they are set and emitted by a logic of composition entrusted to that of silicon. The convenient separation between composer and performer tends to disappear in favor of a concerted construction, mediated by listening.

The arrival of the machine into the field of music opened the way to a continuum of practices which were hitherto disjointed: writing, interpretation, perception, analysis, etc. In the experience of Adrift, the forms designed by the composer are carried by both the partition and the computer, without any improvisation, but the specific asperities of the style of the player ensure that every realization of the piece is unique, far outside the margins that are traditionally granted.

Première

June 15th 2014 by Claire Meyer, Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, Strasbourg, France