Un’armatura di cotone

(1995-96) alto recorder and live computer [9’ 48”]

Premiered at Teatro Municipale di Cagli, 1996

Recorder: Antonello Politano

Sound projection: Roberto Doati

This work is a transcription – on request and with great contribution of Antonio Politano – of my Donna che si copre le orecchie per proteggersi dal rumore del tuono, written in 1992 for flute and electronics. The title is different because the instrumental sounds bear an important timbral and formal role, also for the electronic part as many of the sounds are digital transformations of the acoustical ones.

The form is developed through three parts. First part has a primordial character. Through the use of playing techniques which give rise to noisy sounds (slaps, jet whistles, roaring, tongue rams), I tried to outline the basic components of the “flute machine” (instrument + player): the pipe, the blowing, the breath, etc. Here the computer is used to modify, while not altering the original sound nature, the flute sounds through temporal stretching/compression and pitch transposition. Flute and synthetic sounds follow, in the second part, a “cultural” trajectory. First the flute produces microtonal sequences, then timbral trills on larger melodic intervals and finally multiphonic sounds on single sustained tones. The synthetic sounds become timbrally more and more complex,  pointing out, above all, the prosodic differences with the acoustic instrument. New “natures” (a cross fertilization between acoustic and electronic worlds) are travelling in the third and last part (open form?). Through a simulation of Live Electronics (all the computer sounds in the third part are deep transformations of the tones played by the flute on stage), the work reaches a no-development stage. Each new cross-sound is presented isolated, so the listener can appreciate its inner formal richness.

In the year of America’s “discovery” celebrations, the woman of the preceding version title (“Woman who covers her ears to shut out the noise of the thunder”) is an Indian woman who protects herself from what she believes to be a storm coming. Un’armatura di cotone (A Cotton Armour) was the only protection Aztecs warriors had from the thunder of their guns. Computer technology is the cotton armour I wear sometimes to bear up my writing anxiety.