Material evidence is a twelve-and-a-half minute long work for twenty-two musicians and electronics. The main inspiration for the work came as a combination of scientific research in the field of music cognition and Iannis Xenakis’s ideas on stochastic music. I believe that it is a challenge to describe the human listening experience. Much of our psychological and physiological response to sound and music, while substantially tangible, occurs at a cognitive level below thought and reason. It is possible to know what happens beneath the surface because its effects are seen from above, but the how and why is a mystery that I find immensely compelling. Present day research provides a wealth of knowledge, and much speculation, as to what happens between the moment pressure waves pass over the eardrum and neurological transmission occurs throughout the brain, and I see this as an opportunity to find new ways to write and dialog about music. Material Evidence experiments with incorporating ideas gathered from the study of music cognition, semiotics, and psychoacoustics with the intent of tapping into the cognitive mechanisms of the human mind and better understanding how to communicate through music. Work began by slowing recorded performances to approximately one-tenth normal playback speed and analyzing how each instrument behaved, at the micro level, as they were played using a variety of techniques. This behavior acted as a model for composition, and each instrument was assigned behavioral characteristics, both as individuals and as those interacting with other instruments. Energy and intensity, as they relate to gesture, is especially audible, and often provides structural landmarks within the overall formal structure. The piece is highly textural, and the electronic part embodies all of the behavioral characteristics of the ensemble. The line between what is coming from the ensemble and speakers is often blurred.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Instrumentation -- Performance notes -- Acknowledgements -- Material evidence -- Vita