Musician: Kenneth Brown
Simulation No.1 is a piece for three violins. The players interact with a simple software that controls their tempi and provides instructions to them in real time. Each of the three players (Violin A, B, and C) has a unique challenge regarding their interaction with the written score and the software. Violin C's part is the most traditionally composed, providing a traditionally written score to be played at the ever changing tempo indicated by the software. This player is responsible, almost exclusively, for the work's melodic content. Violin B's part is the most software oriented, with a part that is largely instructions and descriptions of processes that take place over the course of the piece's "sections." The software instructs the player on how and when to carry out these processes (i.e. process 1 pizzicato, process 3 arco...etc). This is programmed in a probabilistic fashion, so every performance is different but the overall affect is maintained. And finally, violin A's part is the "glue" of the work. By playing largely minimal material the violin A part most clearly presents the changing tempos of the work and provides a "canvas" on which the other parts can operate.
The Work's relation to my time in the astrophysics department is a complex issue. I tried to take as many ideas as possible from the summaries of a myriad number of papers over the course of the semester in order to end up with a "soup" of ideas that would be both aesthetically pleasing and organically rooted in the astrophysics' department's work while still maintaining its own creative aesthetic and therefore my own voice as a composer. An example of an ingredient of this "soup" that is still fairly easy to point out is the idea of the unique tempos being dragged in a common direction by an "unseeable" or non-auditorially perceptible mover. This compositional device was inspired by the department's work on dark matter, something that can only be perceived by its effect on the surrounding perceivable events.