After over year of work on my thesis the concert is finally here! I'm conducting a performance of Summerborne: A Musical Narrative, a 30 minute chamber piece I wrote for piano, percussion, oboe, Bb clarinet, violin, viola and cello. The concert is April 10th at 3pm in Grant Recital Hall in Brown University -- hope to see you there!
A bit more info about my project:
Composing with the Limitations of 8-bit Music
Composers today have a lot of freedom with their compositions due to the many advances in recording and digital audio technology, but these are luxuries that video game composers of the twentieth century did not have. The video game consoles of their time had built-in sound chips that could generate only a limited number of tones at any one time (typically three as in the Game Boy) plus white noise, which one could manipulate into percussion. Add on a small toolbox of effects including but not limited to pitch sliding, vibrato and volume control and that’s about all the freedom composers had to write music.
With 8-bit video game music as the inspiration behind my project (“8-bit” referring to the size of the processors in old game consoles), I composed my own soundtrack restricting myself to the technological limitations described previously. My album, titled Summerborne, is structured around a narrative that takes place in a fantasy world with a never-ending summer, one plagued by forest fires and sinister villains, but also brimming with pastoral villages, mystical spirits and companions. Using a software program called Famitracker, I programmed a portion of my work into 8-bit music.
After composing many short, looping pieces that conveyed my narrative, I orchestrated them into one cohesive 30 minute piece for a chamber ensemble. This orchestration is the piece I will be conducting on April 10th!