For the 2010 T-stick Composition Workshop I propose a piece that explores the body’s physical reaction to nervousness and the sonic equivalent. This project will not treat the T-stick as a welcome extension of the body but rather as a foreign object that translates physical movement into sound. This means the performer will take his hands off the instruments often and, address it will a low degree of intimacy. The performance will not necessarily involve the entire body however I fully intend to exploit all the expressive potential of the instrument. The T-stick will control a sound world dominated by prerecorded vocal sounds with small amounts of electronic synthesis added to enhance their intrinsic musicality. While the synthesis engine will attempt to maintain a natural vocal quality the level of abstraction will depend heavily on performance style. A sensitive ear will be required since vocal sounds can easily be altered beyond recognition thereby limiting their innate visceral qualities. The resulting sound will feature frantically changing irregular rhythms, quick dynamic changes, and dramatic timbral contrasts. The final score will specify specific rhythms, pitch contours, dynamic levels, physical gestures, and the desired pacing but some improvisational elements will be requested.
This project proposal is based on knowledge I’ve gained about the T-stick through limited hands-on experience and conversations with the inventors. My artistic objectives will certainly be expanded as I gain a deeper understand of the intrinsic strengths and weaknesses of the instrument. (Bryan Jacobs)