Resonance Modes was inspired by a completely imaginary and impractical preparation of the piano, one that I never actually intended to use, but seemed like an interesting starting point for the piece. I imagined hundreds of small liquid mercury droplets being poured into the piano and dancing on the sounding board and strings in beautiful and interesting ways. Although impossible for several obvious reasons (principally, the health and safety of the performer, the audience, and the piano!), this idea came from mercury’s relatively unique properties, namely the high density and surface tension which cause it to resonate at different frequencies in beautifully different ways. One droplet of mercury can be transformed into thousands of different shapes when vibrating at various frequencies, and certain frequencies take on particularly interesting characteristics because of the resonance modes. Rather than explain resonance modes in detail, you can see mercury’s resonance modes in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR7SIeD-8-o, which I think will illustrate the relationship to the piece more vividly. In the piece, I dwell on a small set of pitches and timbres which are slowly transformed primarily through rhythmic processes as a way of exploring these imaginary resonance modes over time.
Composer David Biedenbender has written music for the concert stage as well as for dance and multimedia collaborations, and his work is often influenced by his diverse musical experiences in rock and jazz bands as an electric bassist, in wind, jazz, and New Orleans-style brass bands as a euphonium, bass trombone, and tuba player, and by study of Indian Carnatic Music. His present creative interests include working with everyone from classically trained musicians to improvisers, acoustic chamber music to large ensembles, and interactive electronic interfaces to live brain data. He has had the privilege of collaborating with and being commissioned by many talented performers and ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Stenhammar String Quartet, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Music from Copland House, U.S. Navy Band, Philharmonie Baden-Baden (Germany), VocalEssence, and Eastman Wind Ensemble, among many others. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Boise State University and holds degrees in composition from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University. He has also studied at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, the Aspen Music Festival, and in Mysore, India where he studied carnatic music. For more information, visit: www.davidbiedenbender.com.