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Open Access Publications from the University of California

El Árbol de la noche triste

  • Author(s): MacCallum, John Andrew
  • Advisor(s): Campion, Edmund
  • et al.

El Árbol de la noche triste is a composition for solo scordatura viola

and electronic

sounds which are generated algorithmically in real-time during the performance.

In the work that follows, the compositional techniques employed throughout the piece are

discussed along with the design of the algorithms used in the computer part.

The retuning of the viola to four partials of a harmonic series

in the manner described below severely constrains the

compositional possibilities, but also creates a number of affordances that are not

present on the traditionally tuned instrument.

One is forced, when working

within such constrained environments, to design compositional systems that take

into account the nature of

the instruments for which one is composing in a much more profound

way than when composing for instruments in a configuration familiar to both the

composer and performer.

The compositional system becomes inextricably linked to the medium;

one composes for the instrument instead of in the abstract.

A similar approach is taken with the computer: the compositional system has many

features in common with that of the viola, but is only realizable on the computer.

The result is the unification of the antithetical worlds of the acoustic

instrument and the computer through compositional process.

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