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Pistons Bourdon   (2018)

for amplified organ pipe installation and 13 players

Performance by LSTwo Ensemble

This piece explores the sonic possibilities of four decoupled bourdon organ pipes—specifically, pitches F, F#, G and G#, two and a half octaves below middle C—which have been altered to allow their stoppers to be easily slid inside the pipes, thus changing the pitch of sound produced. The pipes are sounded (blown) using a hydroponic fan, which is operated by one of the players using an on/off switch, and are amplified through loudspeakers.

The thirteen players are assigned one of four roles that control the region of the pipes (or other equipment) with which they interact. The ‘Fan Operator’ is responsible for switching the fan on and off, and may also explore the effects of low-level airflow rates by restricting airflow into the fan’s intake hose or by repeatedly switching the fan on and off to not allow its maximum airflow rate to be reached. The ‘Stopper Operators’ must use broom handles to slide stoppers inside the pipes in a variety of ways. The task of the ‘Percussionists’ is to explore the acoustical properties of the pipes by striking and rubbing them with an assortment of beaters and other materials. Finally, the ‘Windway Manipulators’ must use their hands or pieces of paper to explore how partially or fully covering the windways (small rectangular openings) of the pipes may affect the sounds they produce. In addition, they may also hold paper tort between their fingers to create an ad-hoc reed, which may be sounded by holding it close to the flow of air through the windway.

Throughout the performance, the players are free to decide if and when they wish to coordinate their actions within each other.

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