Chromaticity - Live

Hallett ( Vicki Hallett )
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Chromaticity is an installation and performance featuring photographic images, live clarinet improvisation and a generative soundscape incorporating instrumental samples and environmental field recordings from the You Yangs, Victoria, Australia. The images, live improvisation and recordings form a visual and aural installation to create an emotional and environmental response to the landscape and a sense of connection with the essence of the You Yangs.

Field recordings of the You Yang environment inform the “sonic postcard” nature of Chromaticity’s generative soundscape. Features such as the drone of a major highway, trains, a working quarry, children playing, bush-walking and mountain-bike riding area and other anthropogenic sounds are retained to reveal the current day sonic space.

The three images of the You Yangs, taken at dawn, meridian and dusk, reveal a dynamic and vivid spectrum of landscape colours. Each image informs a 5-minute movement of the work. A fourth image is projected directly onto the performer - in a sense, immersing them in the landscape.

For each image, parameters were assigned for sample and note duration, mode, tempo, sound density and pitch. The electromagnetic frequencies of the light spectrum were related to frequencies of sound waves and the saturation of colour determined the intensity of the sounds. Images were mapped and assigned notes with sounds of interest within the field recordings inspiring small motifs and cells to be sampled - performed on a range of instruments (Bass Clarinet, Taegum, Flute and small percussion instruments).

A Max/MSP patch controls playback of field recordings associated with the time of day of each movement and provides a mechanism by which the sampled motifs and cells are triggered to form a harmonic backdrop for the clarinet improvisation. The contours of the landscape, as captured by Millen, are mapped to derive data input for control of parameters within the Max patch, and to suggest target notes for the clarinetist’s improvisation in a small window within the patch. Thus, the patch containing this window, along with the images and mapping of their contours becomes a supplementary score for the performer to follow during live performance (along with the composer’s notes describing tonality and motifs of each section).  
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