viola and live audio media - 6 min.

Program Notes:

Descent Into the Amygdala is a virtuosic yet idiomatic work for amplified viola and computer. The mood is dark throughout, painting a sonic picture of what it might be like to immerse oneself in the amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for base emotions like fear and dread. From a technical standpoint, a the computer creates a variable-speed delay line that casts a shadow of the viola into the performances spaces, always a few moments behind, and antiphonally opposed to the live player. By manipulating the length of the delay, imitative contrapuntal forms with rhythmic complexity reminiscent of Conlon Nancarrow can be created. This piece is essentially a series of polytemporal fugues, with unison points of repose. Without the computer (or a player piano, as in Nancarrow's music), the polyrhythmic ratios used in this piece would be impossible to play.

Depending on the player's preference, overdrive, bit-crushing and ring modulation can be added to the piece. The computer part is programmed in SuperCollider, a free audio synthesis language.

World Premiere: Fall 2007

Megan Edrington Master's Recital - Grusin Hall, University of Colorado at Boulder

Megan Edrington, viola, Paul Hembree, computer

2nd Performance: February 27, 2008

ATLAS Electro-acoustic Concert, Pendulum New Music series - Alliance for Technology Learning and Society Black Box Theater - University of Colorado at Boulder

4.1 surround sound digital audio media, Paul Hembree, computer

3nd Performance: March 16, 2008

Pendulum New Music series Showcase - Boulder Library - Boulder, CO

Megan Edrington, viola, Paul Hembree, computer

4th Performance: May 8, 2008

Mystery Cabal presents Soundscapes - Object + Thought galley - Denver, CO

Stereo digital audio media