Compositions by Bill Alves

Information about In-Yo

Shakuhachi or xiao and tape.

Duration: c. 13:00

In-Yo grew out of my fascination with Buddhist dualistic views of the universe, especially as reflected in East Asian art and music: asceticism and reserve versus radiance and splendor, inward-looking contemplation versus an outward connection with people and nature, darkness versus light, male versus female, and so on. I discovered that the Japanese term for this concept, equivalent to the Chinese ying-yang, is in-yo, which is also the name for the two indigenous scales of Japanese traditional music. In is a scale of large and small intervals and is associated with meditation, darkness, melancholy, and, originally, certain sects of monks who used the shakuhachi bamboo flute as an aid to breathing exercises. Yo, on the other hand, is a scale with no very small intervals, and it is associated with the melodicism and extroverted joy of folk music. I decided to represent these two different perspectives with mandala-like symmetry. Among other things, this piece uses two contrasting approaches just intonation, a method of tuning in which the pitches are related to the acoustics of natural sounds. The tape was generated in Csound computer music language largely from manipulations of such sources as the chaotic breath sounds of the shakuhachi itself, the deep resonant tolling of a Buddhist temple bell, and the human voice.

Recording: On ICMC '99 Beijing, China ICMC ISRC CN-A18-99-0077/A.J6: the audio CD of the 1999 International Computer Music Conference, selected by the ICMC99 Music Jury.

Major Performances:

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Updated on October 10, 1999 by Bill Alves (