Program Notes

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THE CONTINENTS (2013)

for Fixed Media (Electronic Music and Digitally Modified Instruments)

The pieces that make up The Continents reflect the larger context in which the cultural landscape of the world evolves.

Various musical tonalities, micro-tonalities, regular and irregular rhythms, and mini-structures have been introduced to refer to a world that is in a constant state of change but still sensitized to a deep historical legacy and perhaps to newer possibilities. In each movement, the music appears to shift back and forth in time, from past to present to future and back again.

Each of the pieces includes conventional musical instruments mixed with electronic sounds, computer sounds, and modified environmental sounds. I have also added  musical instruments that are indigenous to each continent (excluding Antarctica), and have interspersed familiar musical excerpts or fragments as well. The march music in the North America movement, for example, is from J. P. Sousa’s hand-picked band that he led on tour throughout America at the turn of the 20th century.

Most of the musical instruments are modified, employing a variety of digital signal processing effects, in order to blend more easily with the electronic sounds. In turn, the electronic sounds were created, selected, and modified for their tendency to blend with the instrumental sounds.

(image: areas of higher elevation on Antarctica and the surrounding fragments of Gondwana shortly before and after separation)