Sounding the Margins: Program Notes

Concert 3

The Heart of Tones (2000)

The Heart of Tones is one of many pieces composed by Oliveros that focuses on acoustic beating caused by tones that are played very close together. It uses a very narrow pitch range, starting on D and moving in microtonal increments towards E flat and C sharp. The focus is on listening to the beat frequencies and the overtones that result. This piece was originally composed for trombone and two oscillators, and commissioned by Abbie Conant.

The Well and the Gentle (1983)

The Well and the Gentle was commissioned by the Relache new music ensemble and was recorded on the Hat Art label. One of the more popular of Oliveros' text based intuitive pieces, it is a work of sublime beauty. Musicians are given a different scale for each of the two sections with one rhythmic motif for the second section and instructions for musical interaction.

Wind Horse (1989)

Wind Horse for chorus is a mandala of thirteen circles arranged symmetrically and connected by curving lines. Each circle contains a word that describes a manner or aspect of sounding or listening. The circles guide the singers in creating a performance as they each follow the principal instruction, "Remember that others are listening for you and responding to you."

The title is a direct translation of the Tibetan Lung ta, the term for the colorful prayer flags which release the prayers printed on them as they flutter in the wind. Ana Crucis Women's Choir (the oldest feminist choir in the US) premiered this score in July 1990. Wind Horse exists also as a radiophonic work commissioned by New American Radio.

Margin Calls (2002), Betting on the Margin (2002), EISing on the Cake (2002)

These are new works of improvisation using the electronic technology of the Expanded Instrument System (EIS) and the human technology of listening.

Regarding the technology used by Deep Listening Band at this concert:

The Expanded Instrument System (EIS) is an evolving electronic sound processing environment dedicated to providing improvising musicians control over various interesting parameters of electronic transformation of their acoustic performances. Performers each have their own setup, which includes their microphones, control devices and a computer with sound input and output. The computer provides the digital signal processing, which includes delays and ambiance, and translates and displays control information for this processing from foot pedals and switches. The musicians and their instruments are the sources of all the sounds, which they pick up with their microphones and subject to several kinds of pitch, time and spatial ambiance transformations and manipulations. No electronic sounds sources are used, only acoustic instruments and voices. Software for the EIS was developed by David Gamper.

Solo (2002)

Listening to the energy of all who are present I sound this energy. Listening to my listening and your listening I make this music here and now with the assistance of all that there is. I dedicate this music to compassion in this world now. – Pauline Oliveros

Concert 1 | Concert 2 | Potluck Picnic

Sounding the Margins Home