The second workshop of the 2010 T-Stick Composition Workshops was held in Montreal, on Thursday, 9 September. During this session, the participant was composer Luna Pearl Woolf, who brought some engaging experiential concepts for us to talk over and make palpable with the t-stick.
I was thrilled to have Luna’s determination and focus, especially at the start of our session. She had her mind set on grasping the essential ‘playing’ features of the t-stick and so this is how we started. We opened up with a look at how the manipulation of the t-stick corresponded to the movement of on-screen images presented in a graphical user interface that I’ve been using for the last several years. Subsequently, I talked about the flow from the physical playing techniques to the on-screen feedback to the manipulation of software synthesiser parameters and then to the sonic result.
Next, we took some time to play the t-stick, using some preliminary physical gestures and sounds that evoked the movement/sound of a rainstick. Stay tuned for video samples of this mapping. Experimenting with these slow moving pendulum, or fulcrum like, gestures naturally led to a discussion about how these movements and sounds (e.g., rainstick gestures and resulting rain simulation sounds) fit into Luna’s compositional project.
Briefly stated, Luna is proposing a composition that conveys fairly detailed experiential concepts. For example, one can easily imagine a real-life situation where the sound of rain plays a distinctive ‘metaphorical’ role in the experience of a moment – this example is only my own illustration. So far, a general sonic thread in her work is a progressive transformation of sound, from subtle and barely audible tinkles or splashes to a more dramatic treatment of sound and then a return to calmer sonic activity. In addition, I detect a real effort to give as much consideration to the performer’s movements and posture as to the manipulation of the t-stick, which is a welcomed strategy – one that I, myself, have wished to explore.
I also want to mention the help of our assistant and to thank her for her feedback.