Divided Circle: Music for Sixteen Stirrers (Shawn Decker, 1996) continues my exploration in "electronic" music which uses acoustical sounds (in this case, the clicking of sixteen paint stirrers - normally mounted on a power drill) rather than sound produced from speakers. The physical structure is based on western analytical concepts, such as the approximation of a circle with line segments, and placement of the stirrer elements based on trigonometric functions. Listeners should stand in the center of the circle, so that the sounds move completely around the listener.
The piece is controlled by a small computer programmed to produce both fixed and indeterminate patterns within a fixed cyclical time structure repeating every 24 hours. These rhythms, which are modeled on bird-songs and other "natural" rhythms and on "rhythms which are fashioned primarily after Indonesian Gamelan structures, are intended to contrast with the more analytical elements of the piece. The bird-song derived rhythms tend to have continuous spatial paths around the circle, while the Gamelan derived patterns are disjunct - hocketing back and forth between various points on the circle. I intended this work as a piece of continuous music, and I would like the audience to think of it this way - listening carefully to the rhythms and motions of the sounds around them.
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