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La conferenza degli uccelli

(2023) musica elettronica [7’21”]

Si tratta della composizione algoritmicamente più complessa e allo stesso tempo musicalmente più semplice di quelle che compongono un più ampio progetto dal titolo “Lo spirito del rischio” che presenta opere di Anthony Braxton per sax solo e di Roberto Doati per elettronica ispirate alle musiche di Braxton. Innanzitutto ho suddiviso la composizione RFO – M°-F (32) (1972) di Anthony Braxton (incisa su LP America 30 AM 011-012) in 32 sezioni. Ogni sezione è stata sottoposta a diversi tipi di trattamento del segnale, ma con l’obiettivo finale di sciogliere l’armonia interna dei suoni di Braxton in una sorta di canto, quasi evocando quello degli uccelli. RFO – M°-F (32) è infatti dedicataa Dave Holland, che nello stesso anno esordiva come leader nel disco “Conference of the Birds”. I vari strati che compongono la mia musica sono:

  • una risintesi, mediante Phase Vocoder, di singole parziali dei suoni di sax controllate nel tempo e nella disposizione stereofonica grazie al generatore di eventi CMask
  • tre diversi tipi di convoluzione utilizzando alternativamente suoni di sax, suoni del contrabbasso di Dave Holland, canti di uccelli
  • una modulazione di ampiezza di canti di uccelli su deconvoluzione dei suoni di sax.
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JRYLJ OP DFM

(2023) electroacoustic music with alto saxophone ad libitum [7’35”]

The starting material are the recordings of the alto saxophone played by Gianpaolo Antongirolami to whom I asked to exemplify the 12 Language Types codified by Anthony Braxton for his own music: 1. Long Sound 2. Accented Long Sound 3. Trills 4. Staccato Line Formings 5. Intervallic Formings 6. Multiphonics 7. Short Attacks 8. Angular Attacks 9. Legato Formings 10. Diatonic Formings 11. Gradient Formings 12. Sub-Identity Formings. The recording was made in a large space using 8 different microphones: ORTF and binaural stereo placed in different points but far from the sound source, a clip-on over the bell, a lavalier on the player’s cheek, a dynamic microphone placed at 50 cm from the instrument, a contact microphone on the bell.

The formal analysis of KSZMK PQ EGN (1979) by Anthony Braxton determined the algorithmic structure of the Csound instruments I used. For each of the 19 sections I arranged four layers:

  • Layer 1: given a section duration and a number of repetitions the first Csound instrument reads some of the recordings of Antongirolami (language type 7, 8 and 11 in all of the 8 tracks but mostly the one recorded with contact microphone which enhances key noises)
  • Layer 2: shuffling loops of small fragments of Layer 1
  • Layer 3: modal filtering (seven partials). Layer 1 as excitation signal is fed into a parallel bank of resonators
  • Layer 4: modal filtering (seven partials) on Layer 2.

JRYLJ OP DFM can be performed with a saxophone playing KSZMK PQ EGN as recorde by Anthony Braxton in “Alto Saxophone Improvisations 1979”, Arista – A2L 8602.

JRYLJ OP DFM is one of the compositions which make a larger project titled “Lo spirito del rischio”, with solo pieces by Anthony Braxton and Roberto Doati’s electronic pieces related to Braxton’s music.

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-169,15 Celsius

(2023) electroacoustic music [6’49”]

The starting material are the recordings of the alto saxophone played by Gianpaolo Antongirolami to whom I asked to exemplify the 12 Language Types codified by Anthony Braxton for his own music: 1. Long Sound 2. Accented Long Sound 3. Trills 4. Staccato Line Formings 5. Intervallic Formings 6. Multiphonics 7. Short Attacks 8. Angular Attacks 9. Legato Formings 10. Diatonic Formings 11. Gradient Formings 12. Sub-Identity Formings. The recording was made in a large space using 8 different microphones: ORTF and binaural stereo placed in different points but far from the sound source, a clip-on over the bell, a lavalier on the player’s cheek, a dynamic microphone placed at 50 cm from the instrument, a contact microphone on the bell.

The formal analysis of 104-Kelvin M-18 (1979) by Anthony Braxton determined the algorithmic structure of the Csound instrument I used. Given a section duration and a number of repetitions, it reads the recordings of Antongirolami on my database schema: 12 language types by 8 tracks (microphones). For each sax’s fragment the tracks, chosen in a random or deterministic way, are always two and are put one on the right channel and one on the left channel. Therefore sudden spatial perspective jumps create unusual perceptive changes. The only treatment applied is convolution with sample from music that have had an important influence on Braxton: African tradition, Blues (Muddy Waters), Jazz (Coltrane, Coleman).

-169,15 Celsius is one of the compositions which make a larger project titled “Lo spirito del rischio”, with solo pieces by Anthony Braxton and Roberto Doati’s electronic pieces related to Braxton’s music.

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Lo spirito del rischio

Homage to Anthony Braxton with Gianpaolo Antongirolami (2023), alto saxophone and live electronics [any duration]

Any new notation may ask new questions

Barry Mazur

Lo spirito del rischio (The Spirit of risk) is a guided improvisation. The graphic score consists of 25 modules whose duration is ad libitum, but it must be the same for all of them. The symbols in the modules – learned from mathematical and musical notation systems of ancient and non -European cultures – are grouped in two types: 23 indicate the rhythm, 25 indicate the kind of sound making and/or of treatment. The performer has first to create her/his own association with the sound to be produced for each symbol, but drawing exclusively from the 12 Language Types codified by Anthony Braxton for his Solo Pieces. Each module has a varying number of symbols (from 1 to 5).

Live electronics is also performed by the saxophone player. Through switches and pedals she/he controls which sound source has to be transformed – choosing within three different saxophone miking (close, only key noises, far) – and two forms of processing: an ‘electrification’ of the instrument’s timbre and a wah-wah filter. All the choices for these algorithm’s parameters must be associated to the graphic symbols on the score.

Lo spirito del rischio is one of the compositions which make a larger project by the same title, with solo pieces by Anthony Braxton and Roberto Doati’s electronic pieces related to Braxton’s music.

I am grateful to Joseph Mazur for his book Enlightening Symbols, a true source of inspiration together with Armand Machabey ‘s La notation musicale.

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Teoria e pratica del cambiamento

Libro I (2022) electroacoustic music [5′ 24″]

Libro II (2022) electroacoustic music [18’ 50”]

Libro III (2022) electroacoustic music [11’ 03”]

Libro IV (2022) electroacoustic music [11’ 09″]

I always pay great attention to what is generally called the pre-compositional phase. It is an attitude I developed from my acquaintances with conceptual artists in the 70s and John Cage’s music. The ‘cambiamento’ (change) of the title refers to Music of Changes (1951) for piano, the first work where the American composer used extensively his chart system based on I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of oracles organized in 64 hexagrams. From Music of Changes I took the formal division into four Books and their durations, but  above all the inspiration for the non -intentional generative process of the sound events in my composition.

The technique adopted is that of convolution. It starts with the deconvolution of short fragments (about 1 ‘) from instrumental music of the II post -war period with ‘burst’ of instrumental sounds. So I get impulse responses (IR) that I will use for the convolution  with 8 different types of materials (Ecc), each with 8 different sounds:

  1. instrumental short sounds
  2. concrète impulsive sounds
  3. electronic impulsive sounds
  4. instrumental + concrète impulsive sounds
  5. instrumental + electronic impulsive sounds
  6. instrumental continuous sounds
  7. concrète continuous sounds
  8. electronic continuous sounds

The IRs are organized in 4 ‘mobile’ charts (one for each Book) of 8 x 8, while the Eccs in a single 8 x 8 ‘immobile’ matrix that is used for all 4 Books. The product of these two matrices therefore gives me 4096 possible structures for each Book. End of Theory.

The Practice: the Eccs and IRs randomly extracted, with variable density between 1 and 8, will generate through convolution the sound events to be placed in time according another random choice. While the percussive nature of the piano is just evoked in the first two Books – each sound event is like a trail, a refraction of the piano gestures on a ‘sound prism’ (“Duration, color, speed focus” writes Cage in his notebook) – in Books III and IV we focus more and more on David Tudor’s piano.

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Il suono rosso

(2018-2020) video and electroacoustic music [32′ 09″]

Video: Ivan Penov

Premiered at Festival Signal to Noise, livestreaming, February 6th 2021

Commissioned by La Stoppa di Elena Pantaleoni, Ancarano di Rivergaro (PC)

The work is the second part of the Trilogy of Temporality, a video-music project conceived by Roberto Doati.

The project is divided into three parts: “Il suono bianco” (The white sound), “Il suono rosso” (The red sound) and “Il suono verde” (The green sound). Each part is an audio-visual staging created by a video artist and a composer of electroacoustic music on three important Italian food realities: cheese, wine, vegetables.

  • Why ‘staging’? Because the images and sounds of the territory, of the raw materials, of the processing of each food, become the characters of a narrative that is sometimes fantastic, sometimes pure tale.
  • Time or temporality? The cheese is produced in one day, every day of the year and is consumed both quickly and over a long period. The wine is produced in months but only once a year and is consumed almost exclusively over a long period. The vegetables are produced in different seasons, but are distributed throughout the year and are consumed almost exclusively in a short time. However, the project also alludes to the theme of temporality, a condition of what is opposed to what is eternal, but not devoid of a spirituality peculiar to Italian culture.

Food and music both imply the ability to act and produce based on a particular set of rules and cognitive experiences. We start from basic materials (grapes – sounds) to make, through countless transformation techniques, complex materials (olfactory/gustatory structures – sounds) which, aggregated, will give life to the final work (wine – music).

The audio and video footage was distributed over time according to the rhythms and phases of static and extreme dynamism typical of wine production. If the musical part follows a linear path (from the pruning of the vineyard to the cellar), the visual part breaks the linearity by building a narrative of its own. The visual material of the different stages during the creation of the wine is broken down and recreated later by exchanging elements: making hypnotic what is violent and finding a very animated dynamism in apparently calm situations. The same happens in the continuous exchange between the colours and tones of the grapes, the earth and the mechanical processes.

The result is a hallucination of what one goes through during the processing of the grapes, as if it were a stream of sensory consciousness. The visual composition thus adheres to the chaotic nature of the dynamic processes of wine production due to weather and biological conditions that cannot be completely controlled by humans. In a very intimate audio-visual journey, these elements are questioned without distorting the material but to make visible moments that are usually invisible/unheard and at the same time ambiguous.

Roberto Doati, Ivan Penov

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Il suono bianco

(2015) video and electroacoustic music [18’ 10″]

Video: Maurizio Goina

Commissioned by Caseificio Di Nucci 1662, Agnone

The work is the first part of the Trilogy of temporality, a video-music project conceived by Roberto Doati.

The project is divided into three parts: “Il suono bianco” (The white sound), “Il suono rosso” (The red sound) and “Il suono verde” (The green sound). Each part is an audio-visual staging created by a video artist and a composer of electroacoustic music on three important Italian food realities: cheese, wine, vegetables.

  • Why ‘staging’? Because the images and sounds of the territory, of the raw materials, of the processing of each food, become the characters of a narrative that is sometimes fantastic, sometimes pure tale.
  • Time or temporality? The cheese is produced in one day, every day of the year and is consumed both quickly and over a long period. The wine is produced in months but only once a year and is consumed almost exclusively over a long period. The vegetables are produced in different seasons, but are distributed throughout the year and are consumed almost exclusively in a short time. However, the project also alludes to the theme of temporality, a condition of what is opposed to what is eternal, but not devoid of a spirituality peculiar to Italian culture.

Culinary art and musical art have many similarities: there is a tradition made up of recipes (for music: harmony, counterpoint, classical forms), we start from basic materials (sounds) to make them, through countless transformation techniques, complex materials (the sound structures) that aggregate will give life to the final work.Il suono bianco comes from the meeting with a true Master Craftsman: Franco Di Nucci. Every day, for a whole week, we collected images and sounds of the processing in his dairy. Our audiovisual story therefore takes place from the pastures to the arrival of milk, from buttermilk to ricotta, the vapors, the many and different gestures that in the preparation of cheese shape the candid spun dough as if it were material for sculptures, the process of conservation and control aging, tasting. Formally it is divided into five episodes, characterized by an alternation of stillness and rhythm, of external and internal spaces.

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Seppie senz’osso

(2013) video and electroacoustic music [11’ 08″]

Video: Paolo Pachini

Chef: Luigi Zanco

Premiered at “La Storia in piazza- I tempi del cibo”, Torre Grimaldina, April 12th 2014

Seppie senz’osso is the 5th episode from the audiovisual project Titolo segreto per quadrati, tromba fitta, frutti cavi (Secret title for squares, dense trumpet, hollow fruits),  born from the collaboration with the chef Gigi Zanco.

Why cooking? Because Culinary Art and Music have much in common: there is a tradition of recipes (for music: harmony, counterpoint, classical forms) and both start from common basic materials (sounds) to make them, through countless techniques transformation, complex materials (sound structures) that shaped in a form will create the final work. But the Culinary Art also proceeds for variations of shapes, colors, prime matters that pass from one state to another; and then there are the gestures, sometimes delicate, sometimes bloody.

To unravel these sound and visual relationships (and hopefully suggest those linked to the touch and taste), a real movie set was set up where the cook is headed by a director (Paolo Pachini) who through an interpretation, at times surreal, enhances the cultural characteristics of the preparation of various dishes.

Synopsis

The traditional course of the Venice lagoon revisited with ‘Middle Age/Japanese’ imaginary lens. Eyes and ears are driven from the unavoidable cruelty to the clean cutting. Through washing and quick cooking, we arrive to the final geometric arrangement, where all the parts of the sea monsters, together with their worthy companions – bread with the squid’s black ink, white polenta and red pomegranate – find the dignity of magic symbols, fixing in order our appetites. The accompanying music is made by: pomegranate harmonic songs – without words -, smokes that shout at their loudest, warbles of Danish knifes.

Roberto Doati, Paolo Pachini

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Noli me tangere

(2010) video and electroacoustic music [21’50”]

Premiered at Sala Accademia, Conservatorio di musica “Santa Cecilia”, Roma, October 22nd 2013

In this work the link between video and music is based on the idea of contrast. There are 1 Tema and 4 Variations and the tension and the rigidity of the sounds and structures, different in each of the five parts, produce a different perception of the sensuousness, softness and fluidity of the images: falling silk fabrics.

The video editing follows, with a certain degree of freedom, the pitch series of Anton Webern Variations op. 30. By chance I brought 12 fabrics of different colours, but it was enough for me to choose the comfortable guide of musical serialism.

Another important link between video and music is represented here by the software environment I have used. The EyesWeb program tracks several parameters from the video, such as hue, saturation, brightness, center of gravity, etc., and map them to Csound patch for signal processing in real-time. Only the Tema is composed in a traditional way, i.e. editing sounds on the video track according pure musical inspiration.

The Violin you hear is Marco Rogliano (Tema), the Ropes (Variazione 1) are the barges of Berio’s square in the harbour of Genova as recorded by Alessandro Quaranta who I want to thank, the Voice (Variazione 2) is Giorgio Bertan, the Stones and Cloth (Variazione 3 and 4) is me.

In the XV Century Genova, Firenze and Venezia were the three places for silk production. I am bound to them by a deep sense of belonging.

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La scala non procede oltre

(2009) video and live electronics [7’ 02”]

Premiered at Conservatorio di musica “F.A.Bonporti”, Riva del Garda, November 21st 2010

Commissioned by Conservatorio di musica “F.A.Bonporti” di Trento, sede di Riva del Garda

The macrocosm staircase corresponds to the different cognitive faculties: sense, imagination, reason,  discernment, understanding, word. The staircase can’t go any further because…

This work was commissioned by “F.A. Bonporti” Music Conservatory in Trento (Riva del Garda department) in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, in honour of the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first use of the telescope for astronomical observation.

Considering several aspects of our times I think that we are living in an era similar to the Middle Age, so far from the scientific revolutions of XVII Century. Therefore I have realized in sounds and images the Aristotle and Tolomeo’s point of view, where the Earth is the centre of the Universe.

That is why:

  • flat and stiff images alternate on the screen with curved and flexible surfaces;
  • I am using almost entirely blue color (blue stars are the closest to Earth);
  • I am using as sound materials only small excerpts from instrumental (i.e. acoustic) music of the XX Century. It is very usual to make a connection in our mind between electronic sounds and sounds coming from the outer space. For me the sounds in this work represent what one can hear when orbits the Earth.

The music I am playing with all these music is an homage to John Cage, who wrote the closest music to a starry sky. All the sounds are performed in real time changing its pitch and duration according a random numbers generator. The performer is on charge of the musical structure according her/his own “taste”: from very sparse to very dense. Thus there are ideally infinite versions of La scala non procede oltre, or better still as many stars there are in the sky or even better as many stars the human being can discover in the Universe.

My thanks to Luciano Berio, Anthony Braxton, John Cage, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Dumitru Fărcaş, Morton Feldman, Charlie Haden, German Kuular, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Charles Mingus, Harry Partch, Andrei Popa, Steve Reich, Alexander Salchak, Giacinto Scelsi, Robert Schumann, Salvatore Sciarrino, Fernando Sor, Edgar Varése, Lui Pui-Yuen, Iannis Xenakis, wishing that copying the Masters out within our hermitages will help to prepare a New Renaissance.