Sketch (actor, viola, harpsichord, computer), 2011

Sketch is part of a series of compositions for instrumentalist(s) and computer. One aim of these works is to rebalance the erstwhile independent roles of composer and performer between the instrumentalists and the computer operator. Sound events generated by the instrumentalists are automatically recorded by the computer. As more sound events are detected and recorded, the start and/or end points of subsequent sound events are used to trigger multi-part playback of previously recorded cues.

The works in this series have some common musical objectives and formal and stylistic features; the sounded material is always produced in the performance space in real time; there is no pre-recorded or prepared material; the sounds are never processed or treated in any way and there is no sound synthesis; and decisions concerning when and what to record are made during performance time, based on details of the ongoing performance. Most importantly, this process uses extensive direct quotations of the actual performance to create sequential repetitions and layerings, which creates frequent elisions, gaps and re-orderings of the temporal flow. Together, these reveal self-referential, concentrated musical arguments and form evolving relationships between the performers, material and context.

The text is reconstructed from isoldated words extracted from Samuel Beckett's 'Worstward Ho'. Sketch was premiered at Centre Culturel Irlandias, Paris, 12 April 2011. Performers: Garth Knox (viola), Michael Quinn (harpsichord), Bryan Quinn (voice), Fergal Dowling (electronics).