received from chris brown on aug 16 1995 copyright 330w
FLIES (1993) by Chris Brown written for the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio "Often an animal's ... behavior is not immediately traceable to any particular input event. The number of triggers needed to fully control every sonic movement of an 'interactive' composition of the complexity of a housefly would already be quite high" George Lewis I decided to respond to this remark by developing an interactive computer music program to emulate the behavior of a fly. My composer-fly has extremely limited sensory inputs; it hears only loudness and tone color, but it hears them directly (through the numbers of a DSP chip). When it invents a response to what it hears, it holds it, circling around its host, searching for the right moment to alight. It is stimulated by motion, heat, taste, and touch. It is tenacious, with a strong will to live, to feed, to fly, and to reproduce. When irritated, it could bite. Mostly, its hearing, like its vision, is local. As for its musical education, my fly knows only one scale with two generating intervals (a major second followed by a minor third), and it doesn't know about octaves. It transposes simple patterns very well though, and can retrograde effortlessly. In short, it has only a few stimulus-response behaviors; but it is sensitive to the proportions of sound and silence, and uses this primitive perception of phrasing to make its decisions about when and how to respond. I wrote a violin piece full of dynamics and timbre changes to feed my flies. My flies program made the percussion and piano parts by listening to a recording of the violin piece. In performance, the same violin part drives the motion of the electronic flies that circle around the stage from speaker to speaker. [FLIES aesth. purpose] READ THE SURFACES OF MUSICAL EVENTS TRANSLATE THEM INTO OTHER LANGUAGES TRACING THE CONTOUR OF ONE MEDIUM INTO ANOTHER, THE TIME DIMENSION MAY BE FREELY RESCALED @@@@@@