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...Ring modulation of amplified and prepared piano in "Accidents" (1967, by Larry Austin, demonstrates another application of limited electronic resources.
A piano is prepared by scattering flat, circular, shell wind chimes over the strings, on which at least sixteen contact microphones, phonograph cartridges, etc., are randomly placed. The sounds are ring-modulated and transmitted over a network of two to six loudspeakers. The sustaining pedal is always depressed to permit the maximum string vibration, sympathetic vibration, and reverberation effects characteristic of piano sonorities.
Timbral variation, provided by ring modulation, is predominantly in the form of rapid repetitions, produced by subaudio modulatory frequencies. Higher modulatory pitches yield typical gonglike timbres, while glissandi continually transform the piano. Feedback, when employed, may be ring-modulated to obtain a remote reference to piano interior sonorities. At the discretion of the performer, prerecorded tape may accompany a live performance. In this instance, taped materials can be derived from performance excerpts, or a tape can be obtained from the composer.
A novel method of sound production is required of the pianist. The keys are to be depressed without sounding, which is a physical impossibility in performance. Sounds, or "Accidents," projections of the score are flashed on a wall and a series of mirrors reflect exaggerated actions by the performer.
Typed by Cheryl Vega 7-23-95