for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, Percussion and Electronics

Track Record

Program Notes

Recently I discovered which fascinating musical transformations you get if you change the font bitmap of a text and run it through an image synthesizer. For this new piece, a sextet for flute, violin, clarinet, cello, piano and percussion, I'm elaborating on this idea and developing some specific manipulations of musical gestures, built on the different idiomatic playing techniques of the instruments. 

Furthermore I'm exploring the vast sound possibilities when two or more instruments influence each others sound through means of electronic manipulations. In the past I've worked many times with the concept of 'extended instruments', where electronics multiply the expressive possibilities of an acoustic instrument, fully controlled by the instrumental player. Here I want to push it further. Sounds will be created by electronically merging several instruments, whereas each individual instrumentalist controls another parameter of the sound, not by a MIDI-controller or so, but through his very own acoustical sound, tracked in real-time by the computer. In short, a computer-based 'extended combined instrument'. Which, of course, will not only be capable of sculpting the time, but also the acoustical space.

Peter Swinnen 

Notes for the performers

All dynamics are indicated by the size of the notes: the bigger the notehead, the louder it has to be played.

The electronics are extremely sensitive to even small changes in timbre of the instruments. This gives the instrumentalists a lot of extended expressive means. As a general rule the instrumentalists should always strive to play in such a way that the acoustical blend amongst them is as smooth as possible, and then deviate from that to create special effects through the electronics.

In the flute part, the numbers of the multiphonics refer to the tables in Carin Levines “The Technique of Flute Playing” I and II, ed. Bärenreiter. The fingerings used are also included at the end of the individual flute part.

In the clarinet part, the multiphonics are based on Bruno Bartolozzi’s “Metodo per Clarinetto”, ed. Suvini Zerboni – Milano. The fingerings used are also included at the end of the individual clarinet part.

The electronics have to be triggered by a musician, nearby the mixing console in the concert hall. They should be mixed in such a way, that in the beginning the electronics are softer than the instruments (which, for best results, should be slightly taken into the mix also); in the Allegro both should be equal strength (as if the concert hall is dialoguing with the instrumentalists), and in the final Andante the electronics should be even louder than the instruments. The overall idea is that in the beginning the instruments are merely colored by the electronics, which become gradually more independent towards the Allegro where they ‘answer’ the instruments, up to the Andante where the electronics get completely disconnected from the acoustical instruments which disappear.


Duration:ca 12 min
Instruments:Flute (also Alto in G and Piccolo)
Clarinet in Sib (also Bass in Sib and Corno de Bassetto in F)
Percussion (Tenor Steel Drums - Bass Marimba - Vibraphone - Lithophone) (1 player)
Electronics (1 person)

Performance materials

pdf Download the score

Download the Computer Program