Electroacoustic Music

Wake Up!

 

I composed this piece in 1996 as part of my doctoral studies in electronic music at Indiana University. The text is Ephesians 5:14 of the New Testament and is believed to be one of the first Christian hymns:

Wake up, O sleeper,
Rise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.

A single reading of the text (by my wife, Leslie) and a set of tubular wind chimes were recorded digitally, then processed with various digital synthesis techniques using a computer music program called Csound.

Wake Up! portrays a dreamlike state where the listener is inside the mind of a sleeper while another is attempting to awaken him. The sleeper hears bells and a person calling him. However, instead of waking him up, the sounds become part of his dream. At times the voice is normal, as if the sleeper is almost brought out of his slumber, only to drift back to sleep again.

Csound is capable of producing very high-resolution audio. This piece was compiled and recorded in 1996 using a Silicon Graphics computer. The original code and audio files no longer exist, and the only recordings I have of the piece are on a digital audio tape and analog cassette tape. Since I don’t own a digital audio tape player, I was left with converting the cassette tape back to digital format. Obviously, this has resulted in some loss of quality.

Electrotechnica: A Classical Disco.

I wrote this piece back in 1977 when disco was at the height of its popularity. I have to admit, I loved the sound and feel of disco, but did not like its incessant repetitive nature. So I came up with a “disco figure” and tune and worked up a piece that has more traditional (i.e., “classical” form and changes).

Disco BallOne feature of 70s popular music, especially disco, was blatant panning (switching from the left stereo channel to the right and vice versa). There is a subtle use of this in Electrotechnica in the synthesizers (it’s easiest to hear with headphones).

When I first wrote the piece, I played it on the piano for a couple of my friends. Their response was, “This is way to complicated to be disco.” Well, I must agree. Nevertheless, my intention was to somewhat capture the essence of disco without actually creating disco. Needless to say, with the meter changes and other complexities, I would never expect anyone to dance to this piece, unless it was choreographed in advance!

As with all of my music, this piece is for the pleasure of music lovers everywhere, and dedicated to the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

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