Composed in 2015
for bassoon and electronics
Commissioned by Scott Bartlett
Premiere performance: March 19th, 2015 by Scott Bartlett at the Heidelberg New Music Festival in Tiffin, Ohio
Other performances: April 4th, 2015 by Scott Bartlett at the University of Baton Rouge, Louisianna
October 24th, 2015 by Susan Nelson at the Bowling Green State University New Music Festival in Bowling Green, Ohio
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The conception for Traces started with the sound quality of the bassoon. For me, the timbre of the instrument has the ability to evoke an ancient sound world. I ruminated on this quality and began by asking the question: how did ancient humans react to their own echo? Before the advent of recording technology and the use of analogue and digital sound playback this was the only instance when sound was disconnected from it ’s source; able to be heard by the maker but disconnected from the instance of vocalization. Humans could actually hear the sound of their own voices separated from their bodies. There has been quite a bit of interest recently in the research of acoustic properties of ancient sites. Steven J. Waller, a researcher of archeoacoustics, proposes that the echoes in caves may have conjured ancestral spirits for early humans. Other research in this field includes mapping the acoustics of the underground tunnels of Lanzon in the Chavín de Huántar of Peru, though to shaped as part of a rite of passage ritual which included inducing audio hallucinations. Reading about this research helped give shape to this work as I imagined an ancient sound world with magical acoustic properties yielding unnatural echoes as the bassoon traverses through this sonic landscape.