Tutorial 7

for horn & iPad

+ live-electronics & live-video

 

Two of my favourite idioms I have learned about composition are that it is "an organised theft" and "a process of continuous decision-making". In the past years since I have started studying it, I have come in contact with the music of many composers and learned about numerous techniques and ways of expression. However, it seems I cannot decide for a single style that suits me best (not yet, at least), which is quite obvious in my pieces.
 
The tutorial you're about to watch is going to give a small glance in the abstract world of musical composition. Started as a personal experiment, it tries to deal with the attitude of the large public towards new music: "Is this music? A child could have done that as well…"

 

Horn: Teodor Basica

iPad: Daniel Dominguez


 

The written text provided does not give any clues about what the piece will be like, because the element of surprise is very important in the unwinding of the story. Analogous to the preceding piece, Tutorial 7 has two parts: the actual tutorial and the demonstration of its application. It is subtitled How to write a short piece for Horn, Live-Electronics and Video and, during the first part, a computer-generated voice literally gives instructions and advices on how to accomplish such a composition. The entire verbal script is highly sarcastic, mainly towards experimental music, and mocks many aspects of serious composition. The voice is complemented by a fake PowerPoint presentation (with an actual theme from the program) made in Max/MSP/Jitter, which disintegrates in the second part of the piece into individual 3D fragments that float in space. While the computer-voice gives indications to the public, the horn player and, later on, an assistant enter the stage to demonstrate everything in practice.

 

Compared to the other pieces of the concert, Tutorial 7 might seem the nearest to the term narrative, due to the fact that it has spoken text. However, the story resides not in the discourse of the narrator, but in the relationship between text, music, video and players. In turn, the narrativity of the piece is given mostly by the performance of the two players, whose role is to transpose the verbal irony into music, body movements and unexpected actions. The horn player, for example, interrupts his playing repeatedly to cough aggressively, which is actually a cue for the assistant. In spite of the rigorous instructions, the music progresses like an improvisation, often disturbed by paranoid musical or physical gestures of the horn player, which always attract laughter from the spectators. The assistant, whose task is to control the live-electronics with the help of an iPad15, tries to counterbalance his colleague's madness by remaining calm and trying to follow the ridiculous instructions.

 

The finale of the piece, and hence of the concert, is an Apotheosis: the horn player engages into a fast gibberish cadenza that is tremendously enhanced by electronic effects and then, surprisingly, he suspends all sounds by shouting Taci! (Romanian for Shut up!). This outrage is a hyperbole of the attitude that most instrumentalists tend to have against contemporary music. After a few seconds of suspense, he releases the echo of the cadenza and silently waits until the video elements unify again into the two-dimensional PowerPoint image that now spells Thank you for watching!. As a last gag, the horn player starts applauding himself before the audience realizes that the piece is over.

 


15 Multi-touch device produced by Apple Inc.

 

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