= ARRAY: Compass – Nigel Morgan

ARRAY: Compass

For Piano or Keyboard with Interactive System

This is the second of a series of works for solo instrument under the title Array. These compositions seek a contemporary view of the great solo suites of the baroque era. A collection of new movement titles and types have been created for the Array series that reflect contemporary preoccupations rather than archaic dance forms found in the suites of Bach, Froberger and Couperin.

The aim of this ARRAY is to open up new directions in interactive performance, primarily through interaction of the performer with the musical material itself, but also by technological means. The music was conceived for performance on either acoustic piano or a MIDI keyboard using the composer’s set of sonic extensions and live interactions. Even a combination of the two has been proved feasible.

ARRAY: Compass was composed for pianist Naomi Osuga as part of a period of research undertaken at Bretton College, West Yorkshire, UK during February/March 2000.

The first essential section and corresponding extended section.

Performance Instructions

The music of ARRAY:Compass is divided into sections entitled NorthEastSouth and West. These ‘compass points’ can be played starting at any point ‘around the compass’, proceeding clockwise or anti-clockwise through the remaining ‘points’. The parts were originally conceived starting from North and moving clockwise.

Each section of ARRAY is spread across a double page. When material occurs on the left-hand page it indicates an extended section of music. The material on the right-hand page is known as essential material.

Essential material is played as notated, while the extended material presents realisations of the essential material having been subjected to some form of processing, for example erasing and octavising notes in the essential material. The type of processing employed is indicated above each extended section – it is important to note that the music notated in the extended sections is an example of how the essential material may be interpreted, no more, no less. The performer is encouraged to devise his or her own interpretation or use an interactive system to process their own performance of the essential material.

from III. South

Each section of ARRAY begins with the material at the top of the left-hand page. Arrows illustrate the movement between material spread across the two pages of each section. Where an arrow indicates a letter then that means one go to the section on the left-hand page indicated by that letter. In most cases the extended sections act as semi-improvisatory preludes to the essential material.

As mentioned earlier, the performance may also be extended by technological means. The original performances of ARRAY used either a MIDI module or a MAX/MSP patch to process events from a MIDI keyboard. Different aspects of the MIDI domain were exploited by the patch, which created pitch fluctuation, extreme attack and release times, filtering, timbre/patch change, and so on.

Downloadable Media


Recording for keyboard and interactive system by Naomi Osuga [mp3]

Recording for acoustic piano of essential sections by Naomi Osuga [mp3]

Towards a Constraint-Based System for Interactive Performance and Recording – a research paper by Nigel Morgan and Naomi Osuga (published in Volume 9 of The National Arts Education Archive Occasional Papers in the Arts and Education) [pdf]