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Page 175 ï~~Live Performance and Virtuosic Pitch-Bend Technique for the Synthesizer. Stuart Favilla Music Department La Trobe University Bundoora Victoria Australia 3083. email@example.com Abstract The Pitch-Bend controller is probably the most widespread commercial ancillary controller found on keyboard synthesizers and controllers. Due to the polyphonic, harmonic nature and the notation of Western Classical music, pitch bend has never been a significant parameter for musical expression. In general, pitchbend controllers are used little or not at all in synthesizer performance. Asian music traditions, such as the South Indian Karnatic and South-central Vietnamese Ca Hue traditions, demonstrate unique pitch-orientated ornamentation. Accurate, computer-transcriptions of ornamentation have been undertaken and new performance techniques for synthesizer have been developed in order to perform traditional repertoire. This poster presents the basics of Karnatic music and Ca Hue music ornamentation, in theory and practice, together with a discussion of performance strategies such as controller techniques and instrument configuration Introduction This paper presents the results from a single project of a broader research effort aimed at developing a new music repertoire for live-performance-based synthesizer ensemble. This project aims to adapt virtuosic performance practice and string-instrument instrumental techniques from selected Asian music traditions. These Asian music traditions include the densely ornamented South Indian Karnatic music and South-central Vietnamese Ca Hue music traditions. Other concurrent areas of research include: a historical survey of synthesizers and synthesizer control interfaces, a study into the aesthetic symbolism, iconography and design of the South Indian vina, the development of the LDR controller, the construction of ensemble of LDR control interfaces (2 LightHarps & a LaserLyre) and the development of notation for the ensemble. Private vocal and instrumental tuition was also undertaken on a regular basis in Karnatic vocal, Vietnamese-Dan tranh (a 17 stringed Vietnamese zither) and-DAn bMC (an unusual Vietnamese monochordal zither) Karnatic music The South Indian Karnatic Music tradition is very rich in ornamentation and the music lacks true vibrato or modulation (Deva, 1981). The tradition boasts the existence of over three thousand different ragas or melodic sets of swaras (swara; a pitch combined with ornament). Often ragas with exactly the same pitches are distinguished by ornamentation or ganuka. Ganaka is a comprehensive term and includes all shakes, glides, trills, swings, stresses, cuts and jerks (Kumar, 1987). With the exception of cuts, vettu, all of these ornamentations are pitch-bend type gestures. Gamcka performs an integral, rather than just a decorative function in Karnatic music. Garnvkas are pitch specific and in addition have specific ascending (arohana) and descending (avarohana) forms. Pitch-bend is also used to define the tala and beat structure through sung vowels while other ganrkas are related to phrasing, melodic cadences and virtuosic performance practice within raga extenmporizalion. The study focused on three main systems of contemporary gamaka: the "anchadasa" vocal and vina gatnakas, the instrumental system of ten gamczkas and Subramma Dikshtar's system of "fifteen gamakas'. &mksincluded in the study are, kanp.ita, lina, andolita, plavita, sp/writa, pratyahata, tirupa, ahata, ravai, khandin ', yai', jaru, /cunda, noklcu, ocdzkka, ori/ca', tribbinna, nanita and nisrita ganka. Gaua; tiripa, sp/writa, kantpita, lina, andit, plavita, yah" and kunuda belong to thle family of oscillatory ganikas and are differentiated by their respective oscillatory speeds, (Ayyangar, 19W0). Other ganrkas, such as; ravai, ahata, pratyahata, khanu, nokiw, oddukal, ori/cai, erra-jara and iracka-jaru belong to the family of accents, stresses and slides. Although ahata, pratyahata, nokki and odukkal/are all similar stress type gandcas they are differentiated by their technical execution on the vina and violin, (Swift, 1990), (Viswanathan, 1977). ICMC Proceedings 1994 175 Interactive Performance
Page 176 ï~~Vietnamese Ca Hue The art of musical ornamentation in Ca Hue music is known as hod rte, which can be translated as meaning artistic flowers'; (hod -flowers, n,- as in My'thudt a term meaning the "Arts"). Another term for ornamentation is luytiildy. This term literally means 'bending' and is similar to the Karnatic term ganuka. Luyenldy, is also used as a term to describe the groupings and combination patterns of smaller specific omaments some of which are instrument specific, (Nguyen, 1984), (Hung, 1990). The melodic inflexions found in the spoken Vietnamese language also form an important source for the creation of musical ornamentation. There are two ornaments that are common to both vocal and instrumental traditions; rung and n-a, (Hung, 1990). The term nhalh, is sometimes used in conjunction wilh these other terms and translates as meaning pressure. Rung is a pitch based oscillatory ornament which demonstrates a uniform oscillatory speed. Unlike Indian music gaks, oscillations in Vietnamese music are not further subclassed by their pitch compass and speed. The ornament nib is best described as a perk' or stress, (Hung, 1990). It is performed on the din tranh by bouncing the finger of the left hand on the siring resulting in a sharp rise and fall in pitch. Perks can be played singularly or repeatedly, like sphurita gamaka on the vina in Karnatic Indian music. M8 and rung can be combined to form ornamentation aggregates or nhd n lu iuldy, (Hai, 1984). Ornaments specific to the dan tranh are the term volt and nhay. Volt, means sliding and could be best described as a slur or slow bend to reveal a higher tone. Nhay means jumping and is a faster accented slur to a higher note, (Hai, 1984). Transcription and Synthesizer technique Data was collected in the form of recordings made of Melbourne based musicians. Performances were recorded and then digitized and analysed by a Macintosh computer. An analyses program was used to determine the fundamental frequency and transcriptions of the ornaments were obtained. Ornaments were studied first in isolation and then in the context of traditional repertoire and improvisation. Microtonal tuning systems were programmed directly into the synthesizer and via computer using the program MAX. It was found that Karnatic music could be adapted to synthesizer quite successfully. In order to do this however, the use of a breath controller (to control volume) and the use of a pitchbend wheel-extension proved to be necessary. The best form of pitchbend extension was found to be a 4-5 inch section of lightweight bamboo. A pitchbend range of +- 5 semitones was found to be adequate for the execution of nearly all the gamaka with the exception of jani; slides. It was found that the performance of jaru (slides) could be accomplished by the use of synthesizer portamento. Complex and virtuosic stahya and speed phrases were adapted to synthesizer in monomode while others could be played entirely on pitchbend controllers. Adapting Vietnamese ornamentation and instrumental techniques proved to be more difficult. Firstly, ornamentation associated with the monochordal zither, the dtn b W, proved to be very intricate and virtuosic. The use of synthesizer modulation for rung ornamentation was soon abandoned due to the subtlety and variation of these ornaments. Negotiating the dead-spot of commercial synthesizer controllers was also difficult Some success was obtained using a magnetic proximity controller to effect pitchbend but a great deal of practice is required to master this. -Dan tranh techniques were harder to translate to the synthesizer due to the use of polyphonic pitchbend. Polyphonic pressure and the use of multi-timbral setups, proved to be the most successful approaches to dealing with this issue. Designs for a specialised LaserZither synthesizer controller are in progress to deal more specifically with this issue. References: Ayyangar Ranganayaki Veeraswamy, 1980. G axka and Vadanabbeda: A Study ofSon 's Ragavibhoda in Historical and Practical Context. H D Dissertation University of Pennsylvania 1980 Deva B.C., 1981. The Music of India: A Scientific Study. Munshiram Manoharlal Pub. Pty. Ltd. New Delhi Hal Tran Quang, 1984. "Vietnamese Instruments" In New Grove Dictionary of Musical fnstrurrnts, ed. Stanley Sadie 1984 MacMillan London Hung, Le Than, 1990. Music and socio-pollitical change.' a study of dan tranh rmsic in central and south Vietambewen 1890 and 1990. l'nD dissertation, Monash University Melbourne, 1990. Kuniar, Kanthimathi. Stackhouse Jean, 1987. Classical Music of Soudh India Karnatic Tradition in Western Notation. Pendragon Press 1987 New York Nguyen Phong Thuyet, 1986. "Restructing the fixed pitches of the Vietnamese-1D n Nguy~t lute: A modification necessitated by the modal system.m Asian Music Vol. 18, no.1, 1986, pp. 56-70 Swift G.N., 1990. "South Indian Gamka and the Violin" Asian Music 21. 1990,;: pp. 71-89 Vlswanathan T., 1977. "The Analysis of Raga Alapana in South Indian Music" Asian Music Vol. 19, No. I, 1977, pp. 13-71 Interactive Performance 176 ICMC Proceedings 1994