Glyph Tropes is a 12-minute work for midi percussion controller and interactive computer media system running a midi/video patch created with the max/msp/jitter programming language. The computer responds to live performance input in a variety of way, at times allowing percussive strokes to trigger sounds, chords, indeterminate gestures, successions of pre-determined pitches or even entire algorithmic processes. The live percussionist also "plays" an image synthesizer, causing the presentation and alteration of video images.
In this piece, the shapes, sounds and implied meanings of glyphs from various cultures, languages and even planets (note the crop circles) are used as inspiration for a succession of musical passages, or tropes. The piece progresses somewhat like a video game, with each new trope (or perhaps "game level") challenging the percussionist in various ways— sometimes to read precisely notated gestures from the laptop screen while at other times to improvise within parameters, etc— always with the goal of musical coherence and escalating drama. In the tradition of the classical theme and variations, the piece is also a challenge to the composer and the audience. How many different ways are there to re-imagine glyphs as music? After the more obvious solutions are exhausted, the spectacle becomes increasingly elaborate, whimsical and wild.
An active composer and percussionist, Patrick Long (b. 1968) is a graduate of Syracuse University (B.M Composition/Percussion 1991) and the Eastman School of Music (MM 1993, DMA 1996 in composition). He has completed over 70 premiered compositions to date for a wide variety of performing forces, including solo, chamber, orchestra, choir, band and fixed media. In particular, he is known for his works that combine live performers with interactive electronics and video. He is currently an associate professor of music at Susquehanna University, where he teaches composition, theory, music history and music technology