for crappy piano and live electronics (via MAX/MSP)
Composer: Christopher Bailey
(Originally written for 8 channels, can also be performed with 4 or even 2 channels)
Composition of this piece was funded by an Allen Strange Award from the Washington (State) Composers Forum. As per a request from Shiau-Uen Ding, my goal was to combine my interests in musique concrete, electronica/techno, and live computer music as part of a large-scale solo piano work.
I decided to work with a shitty piano as sound material. The shitty piano has interesting kinds of indeterminacy associated with it. You know that some notes are going to be “out”, but you’re never sure which ones. The details of this composition, though always following the same basic dramatic and formal outline, are always different at each performance. Every shitty piano is different. The musique concrete sounds can be re-realized in different combinations at each performance. Because shitty pianos are unreliable in producing exact pitches, I notate much of the piano part in a “graphic” way, specifying only general contours. Thus, the piece is mostly a “percussion” piece, largely devoid of melody and harmony, but chock-filled with funky rhythms and general joyous chaos and cacophony.