Smriti that which is remembered
that which is remembered Introduction Smriti is for one soloist (any instrument) and electronics (both live and fixed). It addresses memory and change/transformation. The fixed electronics are generated from recordings that the performer makes during the rehearsal/preparation process. This layer represents the long-‐term memory or history of the piece. The performer and live electronics represent the short-‐term memory and the present state of the piece. Both layers are shaped by the current state as well as the history of the piece. The following instructions consist of four sections: 1) Generating the Material 2) Organizing the Material 3) Stage Setup and Equipment 4) Explanation of the Score 1. Generating the Material The piece revolves around a few (approx. 5-‐10) unique and readily identifiable sonic events that are repeatedly presented and modified in various ways throughout a given performance. The performer creates the events based on a thorough knowledge of their instrument and a desire to explore new sonic and performance possibilities with that instrument. Events can be almost anything: a distinct sound or sounds, gesture(s), a particular articulation, technique, etc, or any combination of those, as long as the events remain mostly fixed or unmistakably identifiable throughout the performance. Events should be based on the instrument (e.g. sounds it can make, ways of interacting with it, etc) rather than abstract musical ideas (e.g. a rhythmic or melodic fragment, etc). The performer will likely develop and evolve these articulations through various rehearsals (which are to be recorded and incorporated into the piece – details below). 2. Organizing the Material Once the events are fully developed, a performance of the piece would consist of the process of presenting the events, one at a time and transforming or destroying them in some manner, utilizing the score. There are three elements present in each performance: a) pre-‐recorded rehearsals; b) live performer; and c) live, interactive electronics a) Pre-recorded Rehearsals As the performer works on developing the few events that they will use in the performance, they are encouraged to explore their instrument in new ways, i.e. going beyond the obvious or immediately available ways of interacting with the instrument. As they move past this initial exploration stage and the events begin to take shape (i.e. start becoming unique or identifiable), the performer should record rehearsals in which they begin to go through an entire performance (cycling through events and transforming them). They may either record an entire rehearsal to be played back during the performance or record individual events from multiple rehearsals and edit them together (if the latter, editing should be limited to stringing events together, i.e. no mixing should be done).
The rehearsals need not be perfect (i.e. dress-‐rehearsal quality), but any rehearsals where the performer is still heavily exploring or struggling with the material probably need not be recorded, although this decision is up to the performer. Also, the recordings don’t necessarily need to be of professional quality, but some effort should be made to capture good quality recordings (they can also be recorded in mono since playback will be over a single speaker). b) Live Performer A performance is, in principle, not any different from any of the rehearsals in that the performer repeats the same process (though the results may be quite different due to the openness of the process as outlined by the score). The performer should make every effort to maintain the integrity and uniqueness of each event, keeping in mind that minor or incidental variations are fine. The performer is encouraged to not simply memorize and repeat the ways by which they’ll transform events in performance. They’re encouraged to approach each realization of the score (whether a rehearsal or a performance) with a fresh perspective trying to always seek and discover new ways of approaching the piece and exploring their instrument.
c) Live, Interactive Electronics In some ways, the live electronics mirror what the performer is doing. They relate to, and interact with their environment based on a somewhat predefined framework.
3. Stage Setup and Equipment In addition to the performer and their instrument (plus chair, music stand, etc as needed), the piece calls for the following equipment: -‐ 2 Loudspeakers -‐ 1 directional microphone -‐ 1 computer running MAX/MSP -‐ Interface or mixing console to route audio from mic to computer for processing, then back to speakers for playback. The microphone picks up sound from the performer (with as much isolation from the two speakers as possible) and sends it to the computer to be processed by MAX/MSP, which then sends the processed sounds back to Speaker 1 for playback. Speaker 2 plays back only pre-‐ recorded sounds that the performer has collected from various rehearsals as explained above. The equipment is setup on stage as follows:
4. Explanation of the Score The score is a framework that the performer uses to navigate the process of transforming the selected events. It consists of five pages, each with several symbols on them. Each symbol represents a singular, self-‐contained event, separated by some silence from surrounding events. An event consists of a presentation of one of the unique sound objects that the performer has decided on, and some transformation(s) of it. There are five pages of score. Only one page should be used in a given performance. Each symbol is made up of a solid circle with one or more arrows coming out of it or going into it. The circle represents the unique event (any of the chosen events maybe be used) and the arrows represent either transformations of that event (straight arrows on the right side of the circle) or interaction-‐related activities (curved arrows on the right and/or left side of the circle). Transformations Transformations are represented by straight, solid arrows either coming out of the right hand side of the solid circle or going into the left side of it (see picture below). Dashed arrows represent optional transformations (to be executed simultaneously with solid arrows). A transformation is considered a change of one or more parameters of the event in some direction (increasing, decreasing, etc). For instance, an arrow pointing upward might be interpreted as an increase in how noisy an event might become, or an increase of the number of fingers pressed, or amount of air being blown into an instrument, etc. It’s possible to apply any given transformation to multiple parameters simultaneously (e.g. increasing the loudness along with the noisiness, while also raising the pitch). The duration it takes the performer to interpret each symbol (event and any transformations) is completely open. It is likely to vary somewhere between 5 and 40 seconds, but quite possibly longer. Symbols (an event and some transformation(s) of it) should be separated by long silences not shorter than 5~10 seconds (but can be longer).
There are 8 different possible transformations: 1. Increase quickly (starting with one of the unique events) – vertical arrow pointing up 2. Decrease quickly (starting with one of the unique events) – vertical arrow pointing down 3. Increase gradually (starting with one of the unique events) – angled arrow pointing up 4. Decrease gradually (starting with one of the unique events) – angled arrow pointing down 5. Increase gradually (starting away from one of the unique events, and ending on it) 6. Decrease gradually (starting away from one of the unique events, and ending on it) 7. Change and return (starting with a unique event, moving away from it and then returning to it. Moving away can be either by increasing or decreasing, gradually or abruptly) 8. Remain the same (present a unique event and hold it without change)
This layer of interpretation is completely restricted to the performer and their instrument and should not in any way involve the surrounding environment or any sounds and activities in it. Interactions In addition to the transformation arrows, some symbols will have curved arrows on the right and/or left hand side of the solid circle (see picture below). These open up the possibility for the performer to interact with their surroundings. Interactions can be either: -‐ With something currently happening (sounds, activities, etc). This type is represented by curved arrows on the right, and/or -‐ Something that occurred at some point in the past, either in this performance or in a rehearsal. This type is represented by curved arrows on the left of the circle.
The nature and scope of these interactions is entirely up to the performer. They’re free to interact with any elements (sonic, spatial, physical, etc) they choose.