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Ripples is a computer tape piece that employs multiple voices in gestures of rising and falling rhythmic energy. As the piece progresses the speeds of the voices increase, exploring the boundries between listeners' perceptions of line vs. texture. Ripples was written at the Columbia University Computer Music Center, New York City, U.S.A., in May, 1997.
The composition Ripples is a stereo computer tape music piece and requires no special equipment for playback. However, some of the technical processes involved during its composition are noteworthy. The sounds in this piece are all the result of algorithmic instructions to a wavetable synthesis instrument within the environment Cmix, the Music-N synthesis and processing language written at Princeton University in the U.S. during the 1980s. Other software was then used to process and spatialize the output from Cmix. The Cmix wavetable instrument received all of its synthesis instructions from a program entitled "Ripple" which was written by the composer. This program created mathematical models of wave behaviors and then used these as factors to determine and alter the dynamic, metric, and rhythmic parameters for streams of note synthesis instructions. The result is a multilayered event texture which can be parsed by the listener either as many lines of events or one complex entity. The overall density of events evolves during the piece, giving the final work clearly several clearly defined sections of rising and falling tensions.
Please click here to read more details about the techniques used to create this work.
I have also constructed a synchronized digital video "accompaniment" to Ripples, and these may be played together as one composite multimedia work.