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program notes late 70s copyright 503w

saint francis de sales concerts [in Oakland] June 23 8:00 p.m.

DAVID BEHRMAN MUSIC FOR FLUTE, MICROCOMPUTER, AND HOMEMADE ELECTRONICS

DAVID BEHRMAN - ELECTRONICS MAGGI PAYNE - FLUTE KIM ONE - HARMONIC CHANGES

The music played tonight grows out of several years use of electronic music systems having elements interactive with live acoustically produced sound. I had built several "homemade synthesizers" during the early 70's which were designed to produce masses of pitched harmonic sounds of a density not available in commercial synthesizers. Some of these sounds could be controlled in their loudness and tuning by the act of singing or playing of selected pitches. The circuitry which made this happen was hardwired and intricate, limited in its possibilities and difficult to alter.

During 1976, the electronic industry began to produce and distribute very powerful, fast microcomputers. Many of them were extremely inexpensive.

One of the first advantages to become apparent in working with computer-aided electronic instruments of any kind is that, within limits, complex "hand-wired" (permanently built) circuitry can be replaced by computer programs which can be altered simply by rewriting them, I began to replace the hard-wired circuits with general-purpose computer interface connections, and found that by reprogramming the computer I could move from one experimental situation to another very quickly and without much effort.

Microcomputers can be used to control the parameters of sounds made by synthesizers. They can also sense phenomena in the outside world and react to these phenomena in ways that can be as simple or sophisticated as the computer program will allow.

In Music for Flute, Microcomputer and Homemade Electronics, Kim One, the microcomputer, acts as a link between what the flutist is playing and what the electronics are doing. The "phenomena in the outside world" in this case consists of notes, which when played by the flutist, activate pitch-sensitive circuits which "inform" the computer each time they have been turned on or off. The computer examines the melodic and rhythmic patterns created by the flutist, keeps track of these patterns, and causes the electronic instruments to respond in ways which seem to be musically appropriate to the human programmer/composer.

The electronic instruments themselves consist of 41 triangle wave generators of various types and characteristics. 25 are under microcomputer control. The remaining 16 are VC controlled by conventional synthesizer-type analog circuitry.

David Behrman: A member of the Sonic Arts Union and performer in over 100 SAU and solo concerts in the U.S. and Europe since 1966. A musician with the Merce Cunningham since 1967. Acting Director of CCM, Mill College '75-'77. Formerly a producer of contemporary music recordings for Columbia Records '65-'70. Designer of electronic circuitry for performance primarily a multi-oscillator v.c. synthesizer and frequency-sensitive electronics for integration with acoustic instruments and voices.

Currently he is co-designing installation environments of video-triggered electronic sound, in which cloud movements access video grids and are converted to harmonic progression ("Canadian/American Sky") His music has been recorded by Source and Mainstream Records.


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