Scaled Memory

August 2005, Heverlee

Scaled Memory is a composition written for the 'Nacht der Po√ęten' (Poetry Night) in Aarschot, edition 2005. I was asked to perform some music there. The piece is actually very simple. The cello score consist of 4 parts, each written in a different scale. This scale is almost fully chromatic: it is repeated each fourth, not each octave, and there is only one whole tone in this fourth. In each part, the whole tone is placed at another position.

A lot of people think the electronic part is just a big reverb or echo, but in fact it is something completely different. You cannot get this same effect by adding loads of echo. I programmed sort of a very large scale granulator. While the cello plays, the computer holds a buffer of the last minute that was played. Then there are some 40 small modules that replay a small bit of this buffer. During the piece the modules get different instructions, like playing only the beginning or the end of this buffer, playing fragments of only one second on one place while allowing 50 seconds on other places. There is actually more than one buffer available, which makes it possible to repeat some of the music that the cello played way back.

The recording of this work is played by Pieter Matthynssens.