My intention was to write a piece for vibraphone and fixed media in which the live performer is the dominant musical element and is in no way overshadowed by the recorded electroacoustic track.  I have found that the standard methods used to facilitate synchronization between live performers and fixed media can be problematic in this regard.   When using a click track, the performer experiences both a sonic and a metric reality that is quite different from the audience.   Aligning without a click track is certainly possible, although the recorded part must be both loud and continuous.   In these cases the recorded track will tend to take on a dominant role, and pieces like this often seem to me to be works for solo tape with instrumental obligato.


In this piece, an iPad (or other similar device) is used.  It is placed on the music stand and plays back a video that only the performer sees.  The visual component of the video is an animated score, in which notes light up as they are to be played.  The audio component of this video is the recorded electroacoustic track, which is simply routed to the loudspeakers for the audience to hear.  This method provides for a tight synchronization between player and electroacoustic part without a click track, even if the "tape" part is silent for long periods, as it often is here.  In this piece, although the electronic sounds are integral, the focus is always on the player, the instrument and the notes and harmonies.  An additional benefit to this score-video approach is that it makes page turning unnecessary.  Happily, this allows for continuous playing, a clearer view of the performer, and an enhanced sense of theatricality.

Chaconne

[for vibraphone and tablet computer]

commissioned by Phillip O’Banion 2013: 12 minutes

Purchase performance media (delivered via Dropbox link)  $20

Download free sheet musicChaconne_files/Chaconne26-8x11part_1.pdf