Showing posts from December, 2018

A water clock to wish you a bright New Year

A picture of scientific glassblower Benj Revis and his wonderful water clock is featured in the University of Iowa's Office of the Vice-President for Research Holiday Greetings and New Year 2019 Card ! The picture was taken during the dress rehearsal for the Musical Chemistry show in April 2018. Happy New Year!

Writing Lyrics, Leonardo, and Music Business

From time to time, I share here some interesting readings. If you're curious, see what I was reading in 2011 and 2013 . Here are three books I really enjoyed this year; I learnt a lot out of them! In July, I read Writing Better Lyrics (amazon links) . Pat Pattison explains very clearly his vision on writing song lyrics. The book is well illustrated with analysis of song lyrics and practice exercices directly connected to the content of the different chapters. Moreover, as I am not a native English speaker, this book helped me understand song-specific concepts of meter and rime, which are very different than meter and rime in French poetry! As you can see in my work, I've been passionate about art and technology: it was almost obvious for me to read Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. It turns out that I had lost of pleasure throughout the book, even more than I expected. I learnt a great deal about Leonardo's life, and more generally about the history of art. I high

Is the Serpent an Obsolete Instrument?

Let's start with some music: here Michel Godard (serpent) performs with the Rembrandt Frerichs Trio (fortepiano, violone, drums): I am featuring the serpent in my current composition project, so I've been quite intrigued to see that Forsyth actually mentions the serpent in his great Orchestration book (amazon link) - I often recommend the string chapters to student composers. Here is what Forsyth says about the serpent (bold underlining mine): No. 44. Obsolete Wood-Wind. The Serpent. The Serpent, as we have already explained, was the predecessor of the Bass-Horn, the Russian-Bassoon , and the Ophicleide . It was really the bass of the old Zinke or Cornet à bouquin , the instrument which supplied the normal treble-part to the medieval Brass-band. All these instruments, whatever the material of their tubes, employed the same methods of tone-production and of scale-variation–the cup-mouthpiece and the laterally pierced holes. Originally the Serpent was keyless. It was me

Digital Arts Projects Fall 2018

On December 3, students of the MUS:2800 Digital Arts: an Introduction course at the University of Iowa presented their final projects in the Voxman Music Building . Each group had a unique distinctive vibe, which made for a very successful Digital Arts Fair. I hope to share video excerpts at some point; in the meantime, here are pictures for three projects: a beautiful reactive Tic-Tac-Toe , the controls for a video Mood Enhancer and a couple of trash instruments .

LOUi in octophonic sound

I'm blessed to have worked with wonderful students in the Laptop Orchestra at the University of Iowa this fall 2018. Among other things, Will Yager taught us the performance practice for Anthony Braxton 's compositions, we performed Composition #228 , Tyler Lubke composed a new piece titled Voyager about... Voyager , Joseph Norman put together 8-channel live electronics for his compositions Fracture/Morphosis (for trombone, violin, bass and live electronics) and La petite divagation (for bass and live electronics), Day Beyer built a custom metal instrument and composed Warning Bells for the ensemble. Finally, I had the pleasure to work with Anika Kildegaard (soprano) and Mauricio Da Silva (bass clarinet), who performed a new version of Nattie's Air with string metallic accompaniment (2 violins and cello amplified through transducers affixed to a tam, a Chinese cymbal, and other metals.) Here was our basic set-up for this concert: