Sketches for cello and electronics (1999/2000)

by Bruce Christian Bennett

Hear Sketches: sketches.mp3 (MP3)

Sketches for cello and electronics by Bruce Christian Bennett

Sketches for cello and electronics is a result of an ongoing collaboration, as part of the Strings and Machines project, between composer Bruce Bennett and cellist Hugh Livingston. These sketches outline a few of the many possibilities for the interaction of extended cello techniques and the MAX/MSP digital signal-processing environment. The electronic component of the performance can either be performed live using a MIDI controller or can be run by the computer with cues triggered by the cellist using a MIDI foot switch. The amplified cello signal is processed by the computer (ring modulation, digital delays, reverb, harmonization, etc.) with the intent of magnifying aspects of the cello technique. The cellist, in turn, responds to the presence of the live signal processing. The result is that the musical material of the cello, both notated and improvised, is directly influenced by the nature of the signal processing; likewise, the signal processing is directed towards accentuating the musical material and sonic characteristics of the cello. The first sketch is a study in pizzicato technique, the second is a meditation on open string bowed harmonics, the third is an exploration of glissandi, and the fourth is a rhythmic interplay between delays and tremolandi. Rather than being a duet between cello and electronics, the aim is to present the cello and the electronics as a single, whole, and unified instrument.

See also Hugh Livingston's Strings and Machines Web site.

Performance History