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02.08.2021 WAVES
Music by Alvin Lucier with Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, Christina-Maria Moser and Trevor Saint


During the course of the performance a glockenspiel player scans the entire range of his or her instrument in ascending 3- and 4-note chromatic patterns. As he or she does so, the sounds of the glockenspiel ricochet off the surfaces of the room, moving the sounds around the space in ways determined by the continually changing sizes of the wavelengths of the pitches. (The higher the pitch the shorter the wavelength.)

Ricochet Lady was written expressly for Trevor Saint who gave its first performance on 19th September 2016 at the Fridman Gallery, New York City, on a series of concerts celebrating the 50th anniversary of E.A.T. and 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering.

Alvin Lucier


During the course of the performance an electronically generated pure wave flows from a single loudspeaker mounted behind and above the heads of the audience. A bassoonist, stationed on a riser in front of the audience, plays a series of 126 long tones consisting of near-unison variations of the pure wave caused by different fingerings. Small variations in pitch cause audible beating. The farther the distance between the pitches the faster the beating; at unison, no beating occurs. Furthermore, the beating patterns may be heard to spin in space above the heads of the listeners.

Same and Different was composed expressly for bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval who assisted the composer in its composition.

Alvin Lucier


I will perform at the festival a new piece by Alvin Lucier for bassoon with pure wave oscillator. The piece is called Same and Different and is based on the countless fingerings that exist in the bassoon around a single fundamental – in this case A4. These fingerings present an array of differing intonations, inflections, partial balances and dynamics, reshaping with each of them the tonal qualities of the equal-tempered A4 in an extremely detailed way. In Lucier’s piece, the often subtle variations between these tonal shades are magnified by the interaction with a sinewave tuned at 442Hz, which results in different rates of beating and timbral shapes.

The material of the piece echoes my own instrumental approach which is an attempt to re-think in critical ways the epistemology of the bassoon as framed by Western Classical tradition. In conventional modern bassoon technique we learn one fingering for A4 when Lucier’s piece uses for example 132 different fingerings for that fundamental.  Circling through these innumerable tonal shades allows us to enter into a radically different perception of the seeming oneness of fundamental sounds. Our ears are pulled toward the complexity of their composite structures. The layered background of a sound – partial balances within a tone, for example – is then foregrounded. Sound is no more approached through the unifying lens of pitch.


Over the course of 17 minutes and 30 seconds 12 instrumentalists sweep up and down one octave, in unison canon at 30-second intervals. The glockenspiel player bows long tones toward, across, and away from the instrumentalists’ sweeps. As they do so, audible beating is produced, determined by the distances between the instrumental pitches. The farther apart the faster the beating; at unison no beating occurs. An alternate version of the piece for solo bowed glockenspiel and 12 slow sweep pure wave oscillators was written for Trevor Saint.

Tilted Arc was written expressly for the Ever Present Orchestra (Bernhard Rietbrock, musical direction; Trevor Saint, glockenspiel soloist) and premiered at Connecting Space in Hong Kong on 27th March 2018. The solo version of Tilted Arc was premiered by Trevor Saint at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, New York City, on 20th July 2018 as part of an event celebrating the Sonic Arts Union. The title of the piece was taken from Richard Serra’s sculpture displayed in Foley Federal Plaza in Manhattan from 1981 to 1989.

Alvin Lucier


During the course of the performance a violinist continuously sweeps downward between g7 and e5 at 30 seconds per semitone. As she does so, the glockenspiel player bows long tones against the descending wave causing audible beats determined by the distances between the sliding and sustained tones. The farther apart the faster the beating; at unison no beating occurs. 

Me And You was written expressly for Christina-Maria Moser and Trevor Saint.

Alvin Lucier

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