Ableton Live Suite 10
1 In/2 Out
The final portrait, The Future, is based on a looping construction I learned from a video tutorial on Ableton.com from the artist BinkBeats. The way this looping system is constructed allows for me to create a structure using loops with the ability to add and remove live loops at any point in the performance. In order to make this piece a more seamless preforming experience I used a Max4Live device called Follow™ that moves to a new scene as the movement progresses and triggers the different loops and audio effects.
This movement begins with an ethereal reverb effect on the first loop followed by the establishment of the pulse with hand drumming on the flugelhorn and eventually a picked guitar style arpeggiation. Another loop layer is sustained pedal notes on the flugelhorn. Using the pedal note technique enables the performer to have a self-accompanying track that covers three different octaves without straining into the high register of the instrument.
Pedagogically, the creation of the loops especially with the pedal notes helps teach students how to access the pedal register on flugelhorn. Setting up the loops also helps the performer learn how to play in tune with themselves and serves as a valuable extension of practicing with a drone.
The harmonic construction of this piece is based on three chord pop tunes and moves circularly over the course of eight measures. The A and B section each have the same construction harmonically, but the Bridge serves as a change of pace and a call-back to the lament that listeners here in the first movement of the suite.
The other main instrumental component is improvisation. With the title of this portrait being, The Future, there needs to be a sense of the unknown. With that in mind the loops give the performer a kind of framework to improvise over just as we use our past experiences to navigate into the future of our lives.
The two interactive components of this work are the building of the loops and a random effects rack that accompanies the improvisation. Artistically the randomness represents the way the different events in our lives cause us to view the world through a different lens.
The randomness of the effects channel and the way it will influence the improvisation and the different sounds help the piece develop more than just loops. Another concept, other than the loop construction, that I have taken from electronic dance music is the idea that repetitive loops help to legitimize a melodic or harmonic idea.
The optimistic sound of this movement contrasts the more pensive and introspective three movements that precede it. The improvisation in the final thirty-two measures should reflect the shape of the dynamics as each loop fades away.