La Lutte Bleue (2000) by Shintaro Imai
for cello and electronics
2001 Earplay Donald Aird Composers Competition winner

La Lutte Bleue was written for violoncello and live electronics, which includes a Macintosh computer with the software MAX/MSP. The title originates in a Chinese character, which means 'silence'. I took this poetic analogy in the narrow sense of the term, as silence of physical matter. Action and reaction of the invisible — such as transformation, modulation or friction of energy toward time and space — is drawn as an important motif of the music.

In many aspects of the composition, I used the software OpenMusic to design and develop complex musical materials (computer-assisted composition). For example, frequency mapping on a time axis based on models of harmonic or inharmonic spectrum data and its gradation, interpolated musical phrase (pitch, onset, duration, dynamics) manipulated via time-varying pitch/interval filter, fractal structure of the piece, and so on.

Electronic sounds were created with the software MAX/MSP and AudioSculpt, and then edited in Pro Tools. I also developed a MAX/MSP object, which works as a sample-source oscillator instead of a proper 'wave' object, to avoid click noise while changing the onset, length, and look-up buffers of the read window on samples. Trying out additive synthesis using this object, which can treat any sound and also move freely among the poles of certain frequencies, timbres, and original or expanded sample sounds, I was challenged to realize a new stage of the instrumental synthesis of Gérard Grisey and granular sampling techniques. These prepared sounds are placed and synchronized with the musician, controlled by a program in MAX/MSP, along with some real-time signal processing of the sound of the live instrument.

— S. I.    

[from program for February 4, 2002 concert]