Clarice Assad

(2019) Synthetico

Duration: 12 minutes |Commissioned by Carrie Seale & Carol Lee Klose

Program Notes

The tech future is here, and I believe – it is to stay. As a long-time lover of technology, gadgets, and such, it is a surprise even to me that it took me so long to get away from purely acoustic music to the idea of bringing technology into my compositions. This piece is my first experience with the melding of tech and acoustic music. It has shifted my life in powerful ways towards a more holistic approach to the existence of two disparate worlds.

I. Echoes: explores electronic reverb, delay, and other simple effects and tries to mimic them acoustically with real instruments.

II. Intergalactic Rodeo: Inspired by pop/Americana music; constructed around the sound of the vocal bass preset, which lowers the voice by several octaves

III. Creepy Little Doll’s House: This is a soundtrack to an imaginary scary movie: In a miniature house lives a creepy little singing doll, a fierce devotee of the holy trinity of hedonism.

IV. Too Simple For Words is a wordless, scat singing song based on straightforward chord structures and plain accompaniment. It uses the harmonizer feature of the device.

Instrumentation

Violin
Bb Clarinet
Piano
Violoncello
Amplified voice using (TC Helicon’s Voice Live Touch)

Movement Titles:

I. Echoes
II.Intergalactic Rodeo
III. Creepy Little Doll’s House
IV. Too Simple For Words

Still, the real showstopper is the world premiere of SYNTHETICO, in which Assad expands her vocal technique into the electronic realm. Intrigued by the popularity of voice boxes in rock and pop music, Assad got her hands on a TC-Helicon VoiceLive Touch and set to work, creating distinct soundscapes that allow her to sing in the impossible timbres that she marries to SOLI’s complement of violin, clarinet, cello and piano.

SAN ANTONIO CURRENT

In other hands, the electronically altered sounds might be dismissed as a gimmick, but Assad is like one of those cooks who can turn any four random foodstuffs into a feast. Synthetico is consistent with Assad’s propensity to absorb and recombine musical ingredients from just about anywhere.

Classical Voice America


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