for tenor saxophone and spatial sound
Composer: Andrew McManus
“Impulse Response” is part of Neurosonics, a long-term creative project that grew out of my collaboration with Tahra Eissa, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago. Tahra’s lab puts hippocampal rat neurons on multi-electrode arrays, stimulates them and studies their behavior, with the goal of better understanding epilepsy in humans. I took an interest in this research because I have epilepsy myself, and I’ve created several works so far that draw on data from these experiments.
In neuroscience, an impulse response is the reaction of a neurological system to a brief stimulus. Studying impulse responses can provide insight into the neurological structures that contribute to epilepsy. This piece uses neuroscientific data to craft three-dimensional sounds that model impulse responses. The saxophone serves as both a trigger for these sounds, and as a lyrical and virtuosic foil to the chaos they create.
Special thanks to the SPLICE Institute, the Aaron Copland House, the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, and the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago for their support of the Neurosonics project.