This version of CTTS was presented in Philadelphia, PA, Fall 2016, as a part of a project grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. It showcases a semi-improvised, collaborative composition made by myself, Ron Shalom, and Cleek Schrey. Our work included the conventional sequencing of materials in time, collaborative modification of my instrument Lady’s Harp, improvisation, and determined/theatrical changes to the lighting design to anchor the composition.
I had never combined the Lady’s Harp with conventional instruments before 2015. I spent my final year in graduate school with Shalom and Schrey, and during this time we developed deep trust and conceptual rigor. This piece was composed through a process of iterative improvisation, keeping the parts that worked and recycling material. While experimenting, I found great synergy with Schrey’s Hardanger fiddle, whose sympathetic strings resonated beautifully with my Lady’s Harp. But though it was beautiful, I feared that it was no longer Tinnitus Music. Shalom is a conservatory trained bassist with perfect pitch, and the unevictable desire to challenge his classical training through weirdness. The manifold overtones of our combined instruments thwarted and challenged Ron’s sense of pitch. Instead of resonance, Shalom brought confusion and theater, which rescued our music from being merely sonic exploration. After all, can we even trust the ear, now rendered unreliable, for specific pitches?