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Biofeedback Music: A Junction of Music and Neurosignals

Description

Biofeedback music is the integration of physiological signals with audible sound for aesthetic considerations, which an individual’s mental status corresponds to musical output. This project looks into how sounds can be drawn from the meditative and attentive states of the

Biofeedback music is the integration of physiological signals with audible sound for aesthetic considerations, which an individual’s mental status corresponds to musical output. This project looks into how sounds can be drawn from the meditative and attentive states of the brain using the MindWave Mobile EEG biosensor from NeuroSky. With the MindWave and an Arduino microcontroller processor, sonic output is attained by inputting the data collected by the MindWave, and in real time, outputting code that deciphers it into user constructed sound output. The input is scaled from values 0 to 100, measuring the ‘attentive’ state of the mind by observing alpha waves, and distributing this information to the microcontroller. The output of sound comes from sourcing this into the Musical Instrument Shield and varying the musical tonality with different chords and delay of the notes. The manipulation of alpha states highlights the control or lack thereof for the performer and touches on the question of how much control over the output there really is, much like the experimentalist Alvin Lucier displayed with his concepts in brainwave music.

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2014-05

Labyrinths

Description

Labyrinths is my Capstone/Honors Creative Project, blending my proclivity for music composition and the inspiring stories of Jorge Luis Borges. Originally, the project was outlined as a collection of five to eight songs named for and based on stories in

Labyrinths is my Capstone/Honors Creative Project, blending my proclivity for music composition and the inspiring stories of Jorge Luis Borges. Originally, the project was outlined as a collection of five to eight songs named for and based on stories in Borges' collection Labyrinths, to be written, recorded, and performed by me. Over time other aspects were included, making me a director of a large-scale creative project which now included three other musicians and two artists. In this paper, I give a brief overview of Borges' life and the context surrounding his collection Labyrinths, an in-depth description of the project as a whole, liner notes for each song, credits, and three appendices. The liner notes are broken into four sections: a summary of the story, an analysis of the story and my interpretation of it (including my musical ideas for the resulting song), an effects list, and performance notes which include the text I read from each story in the performance and recordings. The first appendix is a collection of the sheet music scores for each song and the text document I used for the performance readings. The second appendix shows the art I was given permission to use, and how I modified them for my thesis. The third appendix contains my primary sources, secondary sources/suggested readings, and suggested websites and videos. Attached are the recordings of each song I made in Logic Pro 9, a video of the live performance, and an unedited audio recording of the same performance.

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2014-12

Once On This Island - An Exploration of Nontraditional Casting

Description

Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against

Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against "type", which included the presentation of a full-length production of the musical "Once on this Island" which I attempted to cast based on vocal quality and skill alone rather than taking physical characteristics into account. I researched the history and implementation of nontraditional casting, both in regards to race and other factors such as gender, socio-economic status, and disability. I also considered the legal and intellectual property challenges that nontraditional casting can pose. I concluded from this research that while nontraditional casting is only one solution to the problem, it still has a great deal of potential to create diversity in theater. For my own show, I held the initial auditions via audio recording, though the callback auditions were held in person so that I and my crew could appraise dance and acting ability. Though there were many challenges with our cast after this initial round of auditions, we were able to solidify our cast and continue through the rehearsal process. All things said, the show was very successful. It is my hope that those who were a part of the show, either as part of the production or the audience, are inspired to challenge the concept of typecasting in contemporary theater.

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2014-12

Bryan Johanson's 13 ways of looking at 12 strings for two guitars: recording and critical investigation

Description

The purpose of this project is to introduce Bryan Johanson's composition for two guitars, 13 Ways of Looking at 12 Strings, and present an authoritative recording appropriate for publishing. This fifty-minute piece represents a fascinating suite in thirteen movements. The

The purpose of this project is to introduce Bryan Johanson's composition for two guitars, 13 Ways of Looking at 12 Strings, and present an authoritative recording appropriate for publishing. This fifty-minute piece represents a fascinating suite in thirteen movements. The author of this project performed both guitar parts, recorded them separately in a music studio, then mixed them together into one recording. This document focuses on the critical investigation and description of the piece with a brief theoretical analysis, a discussion of performance difficulties, and guitar preparation. The composer approved the use and the scope of this project. Bryan Johanson is one of the leading contemporary composers for the guitar today. 13 Ways of Looking at 12 Strings is a unique guitar dictionary that takes us from Bach to Hendrix and highlights the unique capabilities of the instrument. It utilizes encoded messages, glass slides, metal mutes, explosive "riffs," rhythmic propulsion, improvisation, percussion, fugual writing, and much more. It has a great potential to make the classical guitar attractive to wider audiences, not limited only to guitarists and musicians. The main resources employed in researching this document are existing recordings of Johanson's other compositions and documentation of his personal views and ideas. This written document uses the composer's prolific and eclectic compositional output in order to draw conclusions and trace motifs. This project is a significant and original contribution in expanding the guitar's repertoire, and it uniquely contributes to bringing forth a significant piece of music.

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2011

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FORGOTTEN VOICES: THE LIVES, DEATHS, AND WORKS OF FOUR THERESIENSTADT COMPOSERS

Description

Prior to World War II, about 55,000 Jews were living in Prague, a very cosmopolitan and artistic city. They represented nearly twenty percent of the city’s population. By the end of the war, at least two-thirds of them had died

Prior to World War II, about 55,000 Jews were living in Prague, a very cosmopolitan and artistic city. They represented nearly twenty percent of the city’s population. By the end of the war, at least two-thirds of them had died in the Holocaust. The Nazis converted the small fortress town of Theresienstadt, near Prague, into a transport camp for Jews on their way to Auschwitz and other death camps. Theresienstadt was where the Nazis sent most Jewish Czech intellectuals, military veterans, artists, and members of the upper class who were well connected. It was also the camp they chose to present to the international community. For all of these reasons—Theresienstadt’s isolation, the demography of the inmates there, and the Nazis’ desire to use it to fool the international community—the Nazis allowed unparalleled self-administration and artistic freedoms.
Arguably the most noteworthy result was its flourishing musical community. Composers and performers who had worked together in Prague prior to the war were able to continue to do so freely in ways that Jewish people were not allowed anywhere else in occupied Europe. They kept the musicians in Theresienstadt—delaying their deportations to Auschwitz—longer than almost anyone else in the camp, until the threat of Soviet liberation was imminent. This thesis aims to explore the lives and works of four Theresienstadt composers: Viktor Ullmann, Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein, and Hans Krása. All four of these artists were successful prior to the war, spent time in Theresienstadt, and were sent to Auschwitz on the same transport on October 16, 1944. Three of the four died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and Klein was sent on to the Fürstengrube concentration camp, where he was shot and killed in January 1945. These composers and their music should be remembered, studied, and performed, not only for historical and moral reasons, but also for artistic ones. Their works represent some of the finest music in the German tradition written during this period. In conjunction with this paper, I have arranged Gideon Klein’s String Trio—one of the pieces profiled here—for saxophone quartet. Members of the Arizona State University saxophone studio will perform it twice in April. I hope that the performances will help make audiences aware of the strength of the music that came out of Theresienstadt, and reinforce the fact that it remains highly relevant. In this thesis, the composers’ careers before and during their time in Theresienstadt will be traced, as well as the measures they took to preserve their music, their interactions with each other, and their efforts to use hidden messages in their music. It is hoped that this document will help fill an important gap in the history of European music in the twentieth century.

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2013-05

CYOA an examination of the possibilities of dynamic musical objects as a new format for music distribution

Description

CYOA is a prototype of an iPhone application that produces a single, generative, musical work. This document details some of the thoughts and practices that informed its design, and specifically addresses the overlap between application structure and musical form. The

CYOA is a prototype of an iPhone application that produces a single, generative, musical work. This document details some of the thoughts and practices that informed its design, and specifically addresses the overlap between application structure and musical form. The concept of composed instruments is introduced and briefly discussed, some features of video game design that relate to this project are considered, and some specifics of hardware implementation are addressed.

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2013

A pedagogical and performance edition of J. S. Bach's Violin sonata I in G minor, BWV 1001, transcribed for guitar: transcription, analysis, performance guide, pedagogical practice guide, and recording

Description

Johann Sebastian Bach's violin Sonata I in G minor, BWV 1001, is a significant and widely performed work that exists in numerous editions and also as transcriptions or arrangements for various other instruments, including the guitar. A pedagogical guitar performance

Johann Sebastian Bach's violin Sonata I in G minor, BWV 1001, is a significant and widely performed work that exists in numerous editions and also as transcriptions or arrangements for various other instruments, including the guitar. A pedagogical guitar performance edition of this sonata, however, has yet to be published. Therefore, the core of my project is a transcription and pedagogical edition of this work for guitar. The transcription is supported by an analysis, performance and pedagogical practice guide, and a recording. The analysis and graphing of phrase structures illuminate Bach's use of compositional devices and the architectural function of the work's harmonic gravities. They are intended to guide performers in their assessment of the surface ornamentation and suggest a reduction toward its fundamental purpose. The end result is a clarification of the piece through the organization of phrase structures and the prioritization of harmonic tensions and resolutions. The compiling process is intended to assist the performer in "seeing the forest from the trees." Based on markings from Bach's original autograph score, the transcription considers fingering ease on the guitar that is critical to render the music to a functional and practical level. The goal is to preserve the composer's indications to the highest degree possible while still adhering to the technical confines that allow for actual execution on the guitar. The performance guide provides suggestions for articulation, phrasing, ornamentation, and other interpretive decisions. Considering the limitations of the guitar, the author's suggestions are grounded in various concepts of historically informed performance, and also relate to today's early-music sensibilities. The pedagogical practice guide demonstrates procedures to break down and assimilate the musical material as applied toward the various elements of guitar technique and practice. The CD recording is intended to demonstrate the transcription and the connection to the concepts discussed. It is hoped that this pedagogical edition will provide a rational that serves to support technical decisions within the transcription and generate meaningful interpretive realizations based on principles of historically informed performance.

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Date Created
2013

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Three meditations on the philosophy of Boethius: performance instructions

Description

Three Meditations on the Philosophy of Boethius is a musical piece for guitar, piano interior, and computer. Each of the three movements, or meditations, reflects one level of music according to the medieval philosopher Boethius: Musica Mundana, Musica Humana, and

Three Meditations on the Philosophy of Boethius is a musical piece for guitar, piano interior, and computer. Each of the three movements, or meditations, reflects one level of music according to the medieval philosopher Boethius: Musica Mundana, Musica Humana, and Musica Instrumentalis. From spatial aspects, through the human element, to letting sound evolve freely, different movements revolve around different sounds and sound producing techniques.

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2013

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BCM International and its role in the contemporary wind band

Description

Formed in 1999, BCM International, comprised of composers Eric Whitacre, Jonathan Newman, Steven Bryant, and James (Jim) Bonney dedicated itself to publishing repertoire in the wind band medium. This project focuses on the work of these four composers, who, at

Formed in 1999, BCM International, comprised of composers Eric Whitacre, Jonathan Newman, Steven Bryant, and James (Jim) Bonney dedicated itself to publishing repertoire in the wind band medium. This project focuses on the work of these four composers, who, at the beginning of the “digital age,” joined together to create a new entrepreneurial and self-published entity. This paper aims to discuss their contribution to the wind band medium, thereby adding to the genre’s body of research.

Similarly to previous investigations of this sort, the author will: 1) offer a biographical sketch through the lens of each individual composer; 2) discuss the establishment of BCM International; 3) track the individual output for wind band of each of the four composers through performance data found in the College Band Directors National Association’s Report; and 4) discuss the composer reported influence of John Corigliano, their teacher, on their compositional process.

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Date Created
2016

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A New home: a composition for chamber orchestra

Description

A New Home is a multi-movement musical composition written for a chamber orchestra of flute, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, trombone, bass trombone, percussion (1), pianoforte, and strings. The duration of the entire

A New Home is a multi-movement musical composition written for a chamber orchestra of flute, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in C, trombone, bass trombone, percussion (1), pianoforte, and strings. The duration of the entire piece is approximately fourteen minutes (movement 1: four minutes; mvt. 2: four minutes and thirty seconds; mvt. 3: five minutes and thirty seconds). As an exercise in compositional experimentation, some of the musical techniques explored throughout the piece are harmonic planing or parallelism, ostinati, modality, chromatic dissonance, thematic transformation, mixed meter, and syncopation, as well as issues of orchestral blend, balance, and color.

The first movement, ironically titled “Don’t Panic,” highlights my initial anxieties on experimentation by creating hectic textures. The movement is structured around two main alternating sections of chromatic, chordal dissonance with more modal, melodic syncopation in addition to a developmental section, but a sense of rhythmic groove is prominent throughout. The second movement, “Still Here,” is a darker, more sensitive music as it explores various settings of its main thematic material interspersed with march-like episodes and a related secondary theme. The themes are organized around a diatonic scale that omits one pitch to comprise a six-note scale. The third movement, “Change of State,” recalls the modality and rhythmic liveliness of the first movement, and it bears a thematic relationship to the second movement. Much of the material also revolves around scales and mediant relationships to comprise an opening theme, a groove section, and an ethereal, glassy texture which ends the movement. Essentially, the piece closes with a calmer music in contrast to the brute force that opened the piece.

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Date Created
2016