Studies in Momentum


for piano and live electronics

Commissioned by Keith Kirchoff.
Live recording by Keith Kirchoff.

program note:

Studies in Momentum is a cycle of five miniatures for piano and live electronics, composed for pianist Keith Kirchoff. The piece is modeled as four études and a fantasy, with the focus of each étude being a single kind of signal process: harmonization, downsampling, ring modulation, and delay (respectively). The closing fantasy, approaching entropy, combines the four while also including a kind of hyper-rhythmic musique concréte element that I often employ in my electroacoustic works.

The titles (which were each chosen before any of the music was composed) --ground state, projectile motion, escape velocity, Planck's waltz, and approaching entropy-- give each étude's narrative a particular challenge, or sense of tension between where the music is going and how it gets there. These titles --borrowed concepts of quantum mechanics and kinematics-- are areas in which I have absolutely no authority (which is probably what makes them inspiring to me). But like many of my fellow composers, I find layperson-geared explanations of physics highly evocative, sparking exciting ideas about relationships between musical narrative and motion in the physical world.

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