|Red Note Ensemble, with whom|
Simon Smith will be playing
synth on 3 March
For a composer the synthesizer is a strange animal. One perfectly valid option is to treat it is an electronic keyboard or stage piano and write a more or less standard keyboard part for it. But at the other end of the spectrum one can treat the instrument instead quite abstractly as a programmable system which can produce sounds and modify them in arbitrary ways in real time.
There are two main parts to this. The first is sound synthesis, where timbres are created or modified. Any synthesizer will come with a large number of installed sounds; these can be modified at will, or new ones can be created either by layering different combinations of predefined sounds, or literally building them up from scratch using sine or saw waves and filters, or using sampled sounds. This is an art form in itself and I don't pretend to be anything more than a naive dabbler.
While the basic concepts are rather simple and elegant, all this flexibility does mean that things can rapidly become frighteningly complicated; but it is there, rather than in conventional keyboard virtuosity, that the challenge of synthesizer playing lies.
Simon is a musician and will be playing the synth
at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh on 3 MarchElsewhere on this blog:
- Happening at the Barbican: Circa and Quatuor Debussy in Opus
- Delight and charm: Paul Bunyan at ETO
- Total Immersion: Thea Musgrave at the Barbican
- Cantus Cölln at the Wigmore Hall
- Powerful performance: Rigoletto at ENO
- See it if you can: ETO in Tippett's King Priam
- Mei Yi Foo: Lunchtime recital at Wigmore Hall
- Chansonnerie from Londinium
- Dance away: Ciaccona from Guillermo Brachetta - CD review
- Luminous: Vox Luminis at Cadogan Hall
- Forgotten tenor: Walter Widdop - Book review
- Three generations: Philharmonia Orchestra in RVW, Ades and Britten