Compositions by Bill Alves

Information about The Question Mark's Black Ink for piano, percussion, and electronic tape.

Click here for a 20-second excerpt of this piece in AIFF format.

Click here for the same excerpt in Microsoft Wave (.WAV) format.

Instrumentation: One percussionist plays vibraphone, glockenspiel, tam-tam, 4 suspended cymbals. The pianist also bows the strings.

Duration: c. 16:25

This is a work for live performers playing piano and percussion along with an electronic tape in which the sounds are completely derived from the instruments being played. The live musicians are synchronized to this tape by click tracks and other cues each hears over headphones. However, these clicks are not necessarily the same for both players, and they may play in different meters and tempos. The sounds of the instruments were digitally sampled and modified by computer using techniques of pitch shifting, mixing, splicing, filtering, modulation, and the application of a spectrum from one sound onto another, among others. This piece is one of several of mine which makes use of the techniques of change ringing, a system of varying orders of pitches which developed as a folk art among the bell-ringers of England. Other influences include fourteenth-century vocal music and the poem "Subconscious" by S.L. Hough, from which the title comes.

Recordings: On The Terrain of Possibilities, available from the EMF label. For ordering information, see the EMF CD distribution site, CDeMusic. A cassette version as well as the CD are also available from the Just Intonation Network and the Creative Musicians' Coalition.

Major Performances:

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Updated on June 20, 2000 by Bill Alves (