LHC Lecture/Paper – Page 9

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The output of this Csound instrument was a five channel audio file meant for four speakers and a LFE. I intended to use the same event data for each of several pieces and soon realized that the scaling of the LHC data, the tendency masks used for the non-LHC parameters as well as the choice of the four base samples selected for each piece would provide an avenue for creative license and yet allow me to remain true to the original data.

For the first piece finished, “Perturbative Expansion,” I allowed myself only minimal editing of the output. I wanted to represent the data in the purest form possible. Listening to the piece it seems that one can almost recognize that the data portrays the spray of hadrons being produced as the protons come apart, of course extremely slower. It eventually turns into a chaos that in the end fades away in parallel to the energy dissipation.

Perturbative Expansion - 1st Movement *     
At the opposite extreme, for the piece titled Immersion, I gave myself complete creative license in the form of editing. It began as over two hours of sound that was tediously edited down to a fifteen-minute piece. The other three pieces were somewhere between these extremes.
Immersion *     
To be subjective for just a moment, what was interesting throughout the project was, for lack of a better description, the “tonal” quality of much of the sound produced. Many areas within each piece seem to be quite “harmonic” sounding. An unexpected characteristic of the collision events turned out to be a sort of numerical symmetry.
Emergence - 3rd (final) Movement*     
Though it was challenging at first, through perseverance, I finally began to understand how to work with the LHC data in a way that met all of the criteria set forth. It was a deeply immersive experience and, in the end, the music it produced was quite satisfactory.

I have attempted to provide insight into my own compositional process. As mentioned in the beginning, we can barely scratch the surface in communicating the creative processes involved in composition. Yet by providing a corollary to it, by outlining many of the systems employed, it is hoped that one can attain a sense of it. In the end, however, it is important to realize that one composer’s process is another’s impediment. We each have to make our way through our own world of creativity. There are no rules, there are no landmarks; it is total freedom. There are no judges except one’s own insight. If you think there are, all is lost… until you think again. Guidance comes in many forms and ultimately it comes from the quiet voice within us. The challenge is to find that voice and to learn how to listen to it and to interact with it. One composer cannot aspire to emulate another without quenching the spark that makes us creative in the first place. So do not hinder your progress by trying to emulate anyone else. Instead, be inspired by the spark within you and endeavor to fan it into a roaring inferno.
Thank you for your attention.

* Please note that the mp3 versions presented here are very poor substitutes for the high quality CD versions, which do not approach the 4.1 audio of the DVD versions. The latter is the original format for the project and includes the spatial dimensionality as well as the very high quality audio quality that was intended. However, full versions, in the stereo mp3 format, of all of the pieces from this project can be heard here. CDs and DVDs can be ordered here.

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