Tag Archives: viola

Missing Partner

9 Sep

I made this piece to complete an animation assignment for a live theater projection class at MSU with Alison Dobbins. The piece is pretty straightforward, and the animation demonstrates my simple abilities with Adobe After Effects (CS 4). Here it is!

Missing Partner Score

Back To New York

8 Sep

Back to New York

This started as an old viola quartet with piano that I wrote years ago as a recording project about a friend.  This adaptation includes text about a person I met a couple of times in different dreams in a strange period of my dreaming life.  I kept meeting people, having completely regular interactions, small talk, learning their names and where they were from.  The character I describe in the text is one of those people – one that reminds me of the friend the quartet was originally about.

I ran into the dream character a number of times:  commiserating on a bus on the way to a conference in New York, painting in a cave offshoot of a basement of an abandoned dormitory cafeteria, at a punk show in Detroit…. After a music conference she presented at in New York, she showed me the beautiful ruins of an old pool in the main student union.  I recognized the pool as the one that used to be the end of a gauntlet in a recurring dream I had as a child, and she revealed to me that she used to be the monster at the bottom of the then-murky pool.  Strange stuff.


8 Sep

“But in real life, I never had a focus.”
“Steh (like stay, but a little different in German) while I try to drive you home.”

These are the two lines I used to sing in the shower, to the two main melodies in this string quartet. Two characters speak. One has no motivation to get out of their rut, so inebriated with the idea they have failed that they give up and lament the times when they had a chance. The other character is trying to convince the other that they are just stuck in a dream and are being silly, trying to help them get back to a more reasonable perspective. I find myself often fluctuating between these two poles of detachment: going within so far that I fail to recognize how I was ever attached to anyone, and reaching out so far that I focus on others without ever sharing myself.

So, I wanted to make a recording project about this, including more text and a post-rock band arrangement, but I dumped it into a string quartet I did with my friends in the spring of 2005. I changed the end after the premiere in 2005, using audio-filters and speed effects to generate changes in timbre. In this updated version, we try to reproduce acoustically the modifications I previously made electronically.

focusv2c – score

Impending Green

24 Jul

2008 – Alto Saxophone or Viola and Pure Data – Nate Bliton

I wrote this for my friend Shawn Teichmer and it has developed into what is my first fully-fledged piece for a separate performer and electronics.


With this piece, I wanted to take effects and compositional devices commonly found in classical and popular electronic music, and employing them in real time.  Maybe my favorite compositional device in electronic music, cutting up a recording and reassembling it, in a different order, in a rhythmic figure, or to create a new texture, is easy to do on a computer with audio editing software (if time-intensive), but it would be very difficult to move one’s mouse fast enough and with such accuracy to be able to “play the computer” along with another musician in a performance.  This Pure Data patch plays this part, sampling the musician’s playing through out the piece for later use, applying reverb and pitch-shifters, and taking turns following and leading the musician, as the score dictates.  The computer is listening for pitches and rests to know where in the score the musician is playing and how fast the musician is taking the piece, and accordingly follows a list of instructions dictating when to record, when and at which tempo to play back and when to apply different effects to the musician’s amplified sound.  All of the sounds played by the computer come from the performer over the course of the piece, and can be played by any instrument capable of playing the range of pitches dictated in the musician’s part of the score.

Alto Sax Version

Viola Version

Impending Green Instructions

Impending Green – Alto Sax Part