Vanishing Points


clavichord, electronics, distributed (mobile phone) audio

First performance: Nicholas Brown (clavichord) at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent as part of the inaugural Open Circuit event of live sound art. The work was subsequently performed at Sonorities Festival, Belfast in April, 2018.

Programme note

In 1781, C.P.E. Bach sold his Silbermann clavichord to Dietrich Ewald von Grotthuss. To mark the sale, Bach wrote a ‘farewell’ rondo, Abschied von meinem Silbermannischen Claviere. This work makes extensive use of ‘bebung’, an expressive feature of the clavichord that allows the player to vary the pitch of a note by varying the pressure of a finger on a key. Bebung is thus a curative method of prolongation - a way of modulating the bloom and decay of a tone.

Vanishing Points (2017) is based on an analysis of Bach’s Abschied. Certain sounds are distributed through the mobile devices of audience members, using web audio technology IRCAM/CoSiMa Nü Soundworks. This transition from the domain of fixed loudspeakers to mobile devices makes another kind of bebung, marked by a change in frequency response and accordingly, by the modulation of electronic sound as it is distributed to individual listening spaces.