Correspondances, a work for soprano voice, viola, percussion, and live electronics,
explores the intricate timbral relationships that are possible between the human voice,
acoustic instruments, processed sounds, and realtime electroacoustic processing. A poem
of the same title by Charles Baudelaire comprises the text, which appears in the original
French and in the English translation. Baudelaire’s poem emphasizes themes of adventure,
imagination, and the richness of nature, which allowed for exploration of a variety of
musical characters. The work lasts approximately twelve minutes and contains aleatoric
sections, counterpoint, and live electronics.
Formally, Correspondances is one continuous movement containing an
introduction, throughcomposed sections determined by the poem’s stanzas, and a
closing section. The introduction contains spoken text, aleatoric elements, and a large
scale crescendo. The throughcomposed section features the stanzas of text and
instrumental and electroacoustic interludes. The closing section recapitulates the
opening by presenting similar aleatoric elements and a largescale decrescendo ending
with the vocalist whispering the final lines of text.
Melodic and harmonic material is derived from synthetic scales. Melodic gestures
and contrapuntal interplay emphasize specific melodic intervals including major
sevenths, major sixths, tritones, and minor seconds.
The soprano part features extended performance techniques including sotto voce
techniques, whispers and speech. The percussion instrumentation includes vibraphone,
bass drum, suspended cymbal, tam tam, log drum, and a mounted rainstick. Its timbral
palette is enhanced through the use of soft mallets, brushes, and snare sticks. The
percussionist controls the electroacoustic portion of the work with a foot pedal.
Electroacoustic material is derived from various sources including percussion and
environmental samples such as sounds of water, wind, and fire. Along with sound file
playback, digital signal processing techniques such as delay, reverberation, and ring
modulation modify the acoustic instruments in real time. All processing and sound
file playback is accomplished using Cycling 74’s Max/MSP, a visually oriented,
interactive, real time audio processing application. In live performance, Correspondances
requires technical support in the form of four condenser microphones, an audio interface,
one foot pedal, a Macintosh computer equipped with Cycling 74’s Max/MSP, and a
stereo sound system.
School:Bowling Green State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:correspondances baudelaire live electronics electroacoustic music electroacoustics interactive acousmatic percussion viola soprano vocalist
Date of Publication:05/13/2009