Improvisations with Varying Degrees of Restraint

Program Notes
The composition of this piece marks, problematizes, and indulges in the continuum between improvisation and composition. Initially, a software instrument was used in the recording of ten iteratively-layered improvisations, which then served as a backdrop or canvas for the piece. Shorter passages were then “improvised” using a range of techniques from onset detection and music feature analysis to electric guitar, with ever greater precision and intent. Eventually individual sounds were meticulously constructed in isolation and then thrown into the existing messy sound field. Where the process of working on the piece became a bit less haphazard was in the striping away of material; it was through the carving out of silence and space that distinctions between the materials became possible, and ultimately, meaningful. In this way, issues of timing, pacing, and the articulation of form were the last things to be considered. Faced with the question of “what’s this piece about?,” my answer was to throw more material at it, and see (hear) what stuck, and then show it sticking. I like to think of it as music in search of an idea, rather than music composed in response to one (what I normally do).


Biographical Sketch
Sean Peuquet is a composer, installation artist, software programmer, and occasional music hardware tinkerer. His works have been performed at SEAMUS National Conference, ICMC, the Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar, Electronic Music Midwest, the Boston CyberArts Festival, and the New York City Electronic Music Festival, among other spots. Sean received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2005, where he studied music, psychology and astronomy. In 2007, he earned his Masters degree in Electro-Acoustic Music from Dartmouth College, where he wrote his thesis on Discoverable Composition, where an audience is not explicitly aware of music happening in its environment. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in Composition at the University of Florida, working on a dissertation that addresses approaching composition as a metric for relating places. Sean has had the privilege of studying composition and computer music with Jon Appleton, Newton Armstrong, Matthew Burtner, Charles Dodge, Paul Koonce, Larry Polansky, Paul Richards, James Paul Sain, and Judith Shatin.