GRAIN and Homecoming Veil
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homecoming veil and GRAIN are two evening length pieces for live acoustic instruments and spatialized electroacoustic sound. In both concerts, performers played from the corners of the room with the audience seated in concentric, inward-facing circles in the center of the space. The reason for this arrangement comes from my interest in the acoustic and psychoacoustic effects of live sound, and specifically as a means of bypassing the spatial norm of live music in which an audience sits squarely in front a left-to-right stereo field in a somewhat straitjacketed relation. With the audience physically and acoustically “inside” the sound, the effects of volume, phase, dispersion, microtonality, and reverb, etc., are elevated to a very physical level. When listening from the center of the room, the sounds from the acoustic instruments and the speakers occupy a specific space to themselves while also appearing to come from multiple directions at once.
This was an effect I first became aware of as a child during the few occasions that I attended a church service. While it was primarily an architectural and psychological effect in those cases, I’ve since been preoccupied with replicating and dismantling it in sound. For this reason, the musical material in both homecoming veil and GRAIN was lifted from various American hymns. That material was subsequently stretched out, superimposed, detuned, inverted, fragmented, or otherwise disintegrated, so that its form unraveled but its texture remained.
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Birdsey, Henry Talmadge, "GRAIN and Homecoming Veil" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 336.