PRAESCIO-III: Extended harpsichord, computer and MIDI synthesizers Bruce Pennycook

“PRAESCIO-III: Extended harpsichord, computer and MIDI synthesizers” was commissioned by Montréal harpsichordist, Vivienne Spiteri with the assistance of the Canada Council. Vivienne Spiteri is a pioneer of new music for harpsichord and has commissioned numerous inovative works. This piece required the installation of MIDI on the upper manual of the harpsichord which sends to a computer, note numbers, volume and sustain pedal positions, and program change values entered at a small keypad. A new software system developed by the composer (MIDI-LIVE) monitors the performance and depending on the data received from the harpsichord performs several tasks such as starting pre-recorded MIDI sequences, tracking and echoing the harpsichord, and resetting the MIDI synthesis equipment. In the middle section of the work the computer and the performer engage in a co-operative improvisation. The Praescio (latin root of presience) series including this work then, present different forms of computer-performer interaction. In particular, the accompaniment material (in the form of MIDI sequences) is controlled by the performer rather than simply “played back” as with tape or simple MIDI sequencer software. The composer is grateful to Vivienne Spiteri for her adventurous spirit and willingness to modify her instrument for this piece. Her experience as an interpretor of new music contributed immeasurably to the conception and development of this work.

  • Year of composition: 1988
  • Format: Live recording
  • Instrumentation: pour clavecin MIDI et ordinateur
  • Duration of the submitted work: 15:00
  • Production: Enregistrement en direct, 25-ii-1989, Université Concordia. Vivienne Spiteri, clavecin..
  • Premiere: December 4, 1988, Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville (Québec), Vivienne Spiteri, clavecin, 06-x-1988; «Musique actuelle», Radio-Canada FM (Montréal, Québec), 04-xii-1988

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