Am I a Particle or a Wave?

for two percussionists and imaginary pianist

Am I a Particle or a Wave? is a trio for 2 percussionists and an electronically created imaginary pianist. It is also a duo between noise and pitch: the percussionists play a variety of noisy instruments while the piano uses almost exclusively traditional pitched sounds. While the sonic resources of the acoustic and electronic parts are jarringly different, they form an ensemble through temporal dynamism -- feeding off each other's energy, creating an unpredictable succession of overlapping gestures and articulations, seeming to drive towards articulative unity though rarely reaching consensus.

In a certain sense the imaginary pianist is intended to sound as realistic as possible. However, rather than try to emulate music that is playable by a person, the piano part is a study in assembling larger phenomena out of many self-similar components. As such, the role of a single piano "note" is quite varied -- sometimes notes function only as isolated percussive blips; at other times, aggregates of notes form energetic waves of sound. And, in dramatic moments, a stream of pitches synthesize an argumentative barrage of energetic gestures, almost as if the piano can be felt trying to escape from its sonic straightjacket.


The LA Percussion Quartet: Justin DeHart and Nick Terry, 2011

Recording Excerpts

Credits: Justin DeHart and Nick Terry, LA Percussion Quartet., 2011

Score Samples