Tape Music∞

Instrumentation: Small cardboard box, blunt pencil or similar object, packing tape on a dispenser with teeth, and stereo electronics
Duration: 5:00
Premiere: 11/2/13
Third Practice Festival, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA

Program Note: 
Tape Music∞ (2013) is a participatory performance piece for any number of participants plus stereo electronics created from recordings I made of myself ripping, cutting and otherwise playing with tape for my earlier electronic composition Tape Music. Each performer has a box (approximately 4 x 12 x 6 inches), tape (such as packing tape, duck tape, with at least one roll in a dispenser with teeth). There are a series of actions for them to make, including ripping, snapping scrunching) and the performers are cued by the conductor. Tape Music∞ was premiered by 4th and 5th-grade students at the Sabot School in Richmond, with the kind assistance of their teachers Marla Wilson, Melanie Nan, and Beyond the Classroom Director Kerry Mills at the Third Practice Festival at the University of Richmond on 11/2/13.

One of the goals of this piece is to invite people to think about the musical potential of everyday things and their sonic textures and rhythms. It is also offers a meditation on tape as a collection of materials that are emblematic of our throwaway culture and yet can, contrarily, be used to mend items. Whether used merely to pack other, more permanent objects, or to extend the life of items we care about, such as a favorite book, the found sounds of these humble materials form the substance of this piece. It is also a nod to the genre of ‘tape music,’ from the earlier days of electronic music, when sound was played back on magnetic tape. This name often persists, despite changes in media. –JS


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