for Electric Guitar and Active Notation System
Active Notation display.
This work for solo electric guitar joins the composer’s Compass for keyboard (2000) and
Interactions for piano left-hand (1999) as a further experiment in developing new conditions for the expression of virtuosity in music for solo performance. In Compass a pianist enters into a dialogue with the composer’s own MAX-based interactive computer system triggering accompanying sounds and textures kept under control by the use of a special foot-pedal. In Interactions Robert Rowe’s Cypher is used to listen and respond to the keyboard actions of the soloist.
Continuum with Blues dispenses with the need for any complex machine listening, parsing and analysing. Here the notation of work becomes ‘active’ by a unique form of presentation on a laptop computer’s visual display, and with no external devices needed by the performer to control the system.
The music is in a continuous movement of six sections lasting over 10 minutes. The first three sections have been composed formally and follow a conventional linear structure up to and including a central Blues. At the beginning of the fourth section the Active Notation System takes over control of the performance sequence displaying sub-sections of material in algorithmically generated orders, with novel mixtures of parametric modes of representation, and with the addition of sonic interventions (samples and OSC driven synthesis). The soloist nevertheless may design the level of control over all aspects of display, timing and sonic accompaniment (including the use of samples and recordings made by the player).