Dance and Transfiguration

for MIDI keyboard, Kurzweil K2000 synthesizer, and MAX

premiered February, 1997
Genevieve Lee, keyboard
Lyman Hall, Pomona College, Claremont, CA

Dance and Transfiguration is for MIDI keyboard, Kurzweil K2000 synthesizer, a Macintosh computer, and MAX, a software program which manipulates input from the human performer. In this piece, whatever the performer plays is immediately transformed in various ways. One note played by the performer most often becomes two or three notes after passing through MAX, usually transposed up or down a major ninth. Most of the piece consists of a close canon at the ninth, although this is not always obvious, as rich textures can obscure the fact for the listener. For the performer, I suspect the experience of playing the piece is much like dancing with a mirror image of oneself. Although the performer ultimately initiates all musical activity in the piece, he or she must constantly negotiate with the consequences, which necessitate a solid sense of tempo and a fine rhythmic control. Certain sequences of notes trigger patch changes in the synthesizer, so the keyboard player gets to simply play the keyboard, and colors, dynamics, and canonic activity all change without resorting to extra pedals or switches.

All of the sounds in the piece are digitally altered versions of the same piano sample. The spirit of the piece ranges from playfulness to determined frenzy, but dance is never far from the surface.

score excerpt