Sic Transit

Instrumentation: Percussion (2 Singing Bowls of different sizes, 5 temple blocks, med. sus. cymbal, 2 timbales, snare, 2 bongos, fingercymbal) and CADI (Configurable Automated Drumming Machine), (finger cymbal, high and low woodblock, high and low cowbell, tambourine)
Duration: 9:00
Commission: National Gallery of Art
Premiere: 3/16/11
Ross Karre
Dome Room, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Program Note:
Sic Transit is scored for percussionist and CADI, configurable automatic drumming instrument, which provides 6 computer-controlled mechanical arms. It was commissioned for a performance celebrating the 70th anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., and premiered there on 3/16-17/2011. The percussionist and robot arms each play a different combination of wood, metal, and skin instruments, simultaneously linking and separating their voices. The piece traces the passing of time and the actions that articulate it. Some events can be anticipated; others are surprises. One has intimations of the future and recollections of the past and responds as one’s behavioral repertoires allow. There are times when the percussionist is completely aware of what the bots will do and enters into a conversation with them, and there are others when s/he can only respond to what happens in the moment. There are also times when the percussionist sticks to the path regardless of what the robot arms are doing.

The composer extends her thanks to Steve Kemper and Peter Traub for their help in developing the Max patch that enabled the creation of the computer controls. CADI is available from EMMI (Expressive Machines Musical Instruments). To obtain the score and Max Patch, contact the composer. –JS

Read the backstory of Sic Transit

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