THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

 Thoughts and Prayers for solo voice and modular synthesizer

Thoughts and Prayers had is world premiere performance on February 23rd, 2018 at Boston Court in Pasadena California. Tenor Matthew Miles was featured on the vocal part, and I performed on the modular synth. This ended up being a much more intense performance experience than I had anticipated, not simply because it was my first time performing live on the modular. I finished writing the piece before the shooting in Parkland, Florida, which happened only a week-and-a-half before this performance. I’m feeling pretty lost about how to fix things in this country… I don’t know if music can do much these days. But either way, this piece exists. I’ve collected some images and excerpts from the score here for you to see.

TandPperformance1

TandPperformance2

The score contains both the music for the vocal parts as well as information about how to perform on the modular synth. The way the modular is patched controls a wide variety of how the sounds are created, and the changed made during performance build on or subtract from that sound world. An important element of the piece is the real-time mangling and reorganization of the vocals being performance. The Morphagene module by Make Noise Music is used to create these sounds.

TandPScore

The text for the piece was collected exclusively from Twitter. Each line of the piece is a tweet from a politician in response to a mass shooting in the United States. When I started conceiving the piece, I anticipated the process being a highly curated one, regarding which comments I would use and how I would include them in the scheme of the overall work. As I began researching, however, I found that there were so many examples of tweets such as these that I could basically search for any mass shooting event and more results would show up than I knew what to do with. Of course a challenge with using these comments as text for a song is that they all say basically the same exact thing; I used this to the advantage of the piece, as this kind of droning monotony of responses is a central characteristic of how this nation seems to deal with the issue of gun violence.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected
Our thoughts are with their families
Thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act

Sending thoughts, prayers, sympathy

Thoughts and prayers are with San Bernardino
Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected in Charleston
Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers
We pray for those brutally attacked in Orlando

My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families
of the terrible Las Vegas shooting

My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims

SOURCES:

(All text from Twitter:)
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected”
– Sarah Sanders, 3:47am, October 2nd, 2017 (Las Vegas shooting)

“Our thoughts are with their families”
– Barack Obama, 4:41am, October 2nd, 2017 (Las Vegas shooting)

“Thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act”
– Hillary Clinton, 5:20am, June 12th, 2016 (Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting)

“Sending thoughts, prayers, sympathy”
– Rep. Ted Deutch, 5:03am, June 12th, 2016 (Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting)

“Thoughts and prayers are with San Bernardino”
– Lindsey Graham, December 2nd, 2015 (San Bernardino shooting)

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected in Charleston”
– Jeb Bush, 8:30pm, June 17th, 2015 (Charleston church shooting)

“Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers”
– Ted Cruz, 11:48am, November 5th, 2017 (Sutherland Springs church shooting)

“We pray for those brutally attacked in Orlando”
– Paul Ryan, 6:24am, June 12th, 2016 (Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting)

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families
of the terrible Las Vegas shooting”
– Donald Trump, 3:11am, October 2nd, 2017 (Las Vegas shooting)

“My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims”
– Ben Carson, December 2nd, 2015 (San Bernardino shooting)

 

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