Zipper Music

UVA New Music Ensemble: Version 1

Zipper Music by Judith Shatin

Instrumentation: Version 1—Duet: 2 amplified zippers players, 1 or 2 MIDI controllers
Duration: 8:00
Premiere: 4/18/19
UVA New Music Ensemble
Old Cabell Hall, UVA
Charlottesville, VA

Instrumentation: Version 2—Quartet: 2-4 amplified zipper players and 1 or multiple MIDI controllers
Duration: 8:00 or greater
Premiere: 7/30/2022
Kirkos Ensemble
Unit 44
Dublin, Ireland

Zipper Quartet Score

Program Note:

 Zipper Music is part of my Quotidian Series, inspired by the rich sonic tapestry of our daily world. The series features digital music as well as electroacoustic pieces that are performable by those without traditional music training.  The goal of the series is twofold:  to create music from sounds that we encounter in our daily lives but often ignore and to offer music performance opportunities to all.

The idea for this piece came to me suddenly when I was fiddling with the zipper on a vest and started noticing the variety of sounds and rhythms as I pulled the zipper in different patterns as well as pulling the material away from and closer to my body. I became fascinated and decided to create Zipper Music for amplified zipper players and interactive electronics. Composer/technologist/performer Max Tfirn created the Max patch in consultation with me, a process with a great deal of delightful experimentation. My initial foray was a version for zipper player duet, with very specific instructions for both the timing of the zipper players’ parts and the MIDI controller changes. However, I wanted to offer a more collaborative, spontaneous element to the zipper player parts as well as making the piece performable by groups ranging from duet to quartet.  The glyphs I created for the zipper pulls are the same in both, as are the processing effects. The electronics have also been created with flexibility in mind: they can be controlled with 1 MIDI controller, or with 1 MIDI controller per zipper player. These everyday objects offer a rich musical source, further expanded by the magic of electronic processing. For more information, visit –JS

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