Program Notes for Movement 3

by Tod Machover

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Movement 3:

Movement 3 starts with a dramatic gesture, as the three hyper-performers pause and give way to a flood of music coming live from the Brain Opera website on the Internet. A composition generator is manipulated by all web players, who push and pull its parameters to create a steady stream of complex music. After this "Internet Solo," the performers rejoin the action and start a dialogue with the net, sending music back and forth. The music that follows is the most improvisatory of the Brain Opera, with performers reacting to the net music being received, and adjusting it to an ongoing harmonic flow. One by one, all the elements from the Brain Opera are brought back into play, no longer as a collage but as a kind of chorale prelude, with distinct layers coexisting in a single, evolving counterpoint. The intensity builds gradually, leading to a return of the "pseudo-Bach" music from Movement 1, this time at greatly accelerated tempo, accompanied by a cantus firmus embellished by on-line players, and a layer of wildly rhythmic music stimulated by audience members moving on the "Sensor Carpet." A resounding C-major harmony is reached, where speech, ambient sound, audience-composed music from the Internet, percussion, noise, and solo and choral singing, all fuse into a collaborative unity. The Brain Opera ends with a quiet Coda, that almost resolves as one might expect, yet leaves the chromatic ambiguity of Bach's Ricercare theme resonating in the mind.

"Internet Jamming" (Movement 3): This music comes near the beginning of Movement 3, soon after an "Internet Solo" has dramatically opened the Brain Opera to players of our online hyperinstruments. In this section, the harmonic motion - and length and shape of the progression - is determined by Internet players. The rhythm track is generated completely by Internet players, using percussion sounds from voice/mouth sounds recorded in the interactive lobby from audience members.

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"Hyper-Chorus Climax" (Movement 3): Coming later in Movement 3, this section begins to bring together all the elements and forces from the Brain Opera into a new synthesis: a recapitulation - very up-tempo! - of my "pseudo-Bach" music is manipulated and shaped by three live hyperinstrument performers; a "hyper-chorus" cantus firmus is created by online Internet players; and a third layer of contrasting, wildly rhythmic music, is generated by audience members dancing and gyrating on our "Sensor Floor," placed in front of the stage and capable of accommodating 4 - 6 impromptu dancers at a time. This section leads to a Finale, based around a C- major harmony, that accelerates and fuses speech, ambient sound, composed music, percussion, noise, and solo and choral singing, imploding into a collaborative unity. The Brain Opera ends with a quiet Coda, that ALMOST resolves as one would expect, leaving the chromatic ambiguity of Bach's "Ricercare" theme resonating in the mind.

Hear a clip (.au 415k)(.wav 4.6mb)(.aiff 4.6mb)