“Hok Pwah” by Zack Settel

  • ©, , Hok Pwah
  • Image from sheefa.net


    Hok Pwah

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Artist Statement:

    Hok Pwah is a 20 minute piece intended for live performance. It is for two soloists (voice and percussion) with live electronics The two main ideas behind the piece are: 1) to extend the role of the duet, giving the two soloists an extremely large instrumental and timbral range nonetheless based on (oor controlled by) their instrumental technique, 2) to explore the possibilities of working with electronically (live) processed text.

    Expanding the timbre range involves combining the instruments’ acoustic sounds with similarly behaved electronic sounds, which tend to fuse with the fur111er. The computer runs software which coordinates the following: 1) real-time audio signal analysis, 2) signal processing of the soloists, 3) ”complementary”synthesis, which is meant to mix with the instruments’ natura timbres, and 4)real­ time sampling (recording and playback). Specialized interfaces incorporating envelope/pitch and spectrum followers are linked to audio signal processors, samplers and highly controllable sound generators, thus providing the players with direct control over the electronics based on their ‘natural’ playing technique.

    In the case of the singer, spoken and sung text or articulations such as trills, staccato, accents, slurs are analyzed and recognized by the computer. From this analysis, various control signals are drived, which control the synthesizers, samplers and and signal processors. Outside of their normal musical role, these articulations, sung by the soloist, makeup the interface, through which the singer may control the electronics. Thus the singer, throught what and how she sings, can have subtle (expressive) control of the electronics based on her instrumental technique. The electronics include sound generation and processing gear which is ”patches’ or programmed to be extremely sensitive to continuous control. These patches are built and tuned around the particular kinds of control signals coming from the players This approach compares in certain ways to instrument building, and is a vital part of the piece.

    Composition by Zack Settel
    Marita Link, voice
    Heather Barringer, percussion

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