The Body Where I Was Born

This is an interactive piece for trumpet solo or duet and computer (Max/MSP) in 11-limit just intonation. The live performer(s) play improvisatory material governed by a performance algorithm. By means of a frequency follower the live performers can trigger samples stored in the computer which were recorded by Professor Leonard Ott in the Owen Hall Recording Studio. The combination of the sampled and live materials forms a drone-based texture that envelops the listener in a quadraphonic speaker array. In the quad version the samples for the ratios 7/4, 9/8, 11/8, and 15/8, are panned around the audience in slowly phased Lissajous patterns. The Lissajous patterns are generated by two sub-audio sine waves which are tuned to the ratios they are panning. The title and character of the piece were inspired by this stanza from Allen Ginsberg’s 1954 poem “Song:”

yes, yes,

that’s what

I wanted,

I always wanted,

I always wanted

to return

to the body

where I was born.

Thomas Hubel and Kevin Swenson – Trumpets

For the scale with ratios and their order of introduction see the document hosted at this link.

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