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REPRESENTATIONS OF DECAY IN THE WORKS OF CAT HOPE

  • Stuart James and Lindsay Vickery

Abstract

This article considers the ‘representation of decay’ in selected concert works by the Australian composer Cat Hope. It draws on a mixed-method research methodology, comparing the conceptual aspects of Hope's oeuvre with analyses of studio and live recordings of Hope's work and discussing how such ideas of ‘decay’ may play out in the sonic world. Two forms of spectral analysis are employed: firstly the analysis of spectral parameters roughness, noisiness, brightness, pitch, and centroid, and secondly a visualisation of the music as a spectrogram. The data for the spectral analyses are derived from Alexander Harker's spectral descriptor tools for MaxMSP which record a value for each parameter every 25 milliseconds. At times, values are normalised within a range of 0 and 1, as representative of how listeners experience parametrical changes (i.e. dynamics, in relative terms rather than absolutes in relation to other sounds in the work). Importantly, perception of noisiness is more acute at frequencies in which the auditory critical bands are wider, below 250 Hz (roughly below middle C), precisely the upper range specified by Hope to define instruments suitable for the Australian Bass Orchestra.

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1 Cat Hope, on www.cathope.com/ (accessed 5 September 2018).

2 Gramophone. ‘HOPE Ephemeral Rivers’, www.gramophone.co.uk/review/hope-ephemeral-rivers (accessed 5 September 2018).

3 Gerardo Scheige. ‘Ephemeral Rivers’. Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 2018/04. https://en.schott-music.com/shop/neue-zeitschrift-fur-musik-2018-04-no374795.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

4 Cat Hope, interviewed by Stuart James in correspondence between Melbourne and Perth, 4 September 2018.

5 Vickery, Lindsay, Devenish, Louise, James, Stuart and Hope, Cat, ‘Expanded percussion notation in recent works by Cat Hope, Stuart James and Lindsay Vickery’. Contemporary Music Review 36/1–2 (2017), pp. 1535.

6 Cat Hope, Aaron Wyatt and Dan Thorpe, ‘Scoring an Animated Notation Opera – the Decibel Score Player and the Role of the Digital Copyist in “Speechless”’, Tenor 2018 Conference, Concordia University, Montréal, 24–26 May 2018, pp. 193–200.

7 The total of 46 does not include collaborative works or installations.

8 In the Cut (2009) and Black Eels (2012).

9 The Possible Stories of Harry Power (2010), Miss Fortune X (2012), Her Pockets Full of Inertia (2014), Broken Approach (2014), Fourth Estate (2015), Sub Aerial (2015) and Speechless (2017).

10 Empire (2010), Wall Drawing (2014) and Speechless (2017).

11 Miss Fortune X (2012) and Fourth Estate (2015). Hope has explained how she enjoys the use of the e-bow with the acoustic piano, effectively transforming the instrument into a sustaining ‘sine tone generator in a big box’. Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

12 Her Pockets Full of Inertia (2014), Erst (2015) and Speechless (2017).

13 The Possible Stories of Harry Power (2010).

14 Kuklinski's Dream (2010).

15 Cat Hope, interviewed by Stuart James in correspondence between Melbourne and Perth, 4 September 2018.

16 Cat Hope, ‘Gata Negra (1999–2006)’, on www.cathope.com/gata-negra.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

17 RTRFM92.1. ‘The Land That Time Forgot: Gata Negra’, at http://rtrfm.com.au/story/the-land-that-time-forgot-gata-negra/ (accessed 5 September 2018).

18 Vickery., LindsayThe Western Edge: Some Recent Electronic Music from Western Australia’. Organised Sound 6/1 (2001), pp. 6974.

19 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

20 Cat Hope, The Lowest Drawer, on Tuned Darker. Listen|Hear Collective, 2015.

21 Cat Hope, interviewed by Stuart James in correspondence between Melbourne and Perth, September 4, 2018.

22 Cat Hope, ‘Great White (2016)’, www.cathope.com/great-white-2016.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

23 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

24 Cat Hope, Cruel and Usual (2011), www.cathope.com/cruel-and-usual-2012.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

25 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

26 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

27 The Australian Human Rights Commission, ‘The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention’, www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/publications/forgotten-children-national-inquiry-children (accessed 5 September 2018).

28 Cat Hope, ‘Speechless: an experimental noise opera – in three acts, for four soloists, the Australian Bass Orchestra and choir’, www.cathope.com/speechless-2017.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

29 Cat Hope, Cruel and Usual (2011), www.cathope.com/cruel-and-usual-2012.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

30 Cat Hope, ‘The Possible Stories of Harry Power’, www.cathope.com/the-possible-stories-of-harry-power-2009.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

31 Cat Hope, In the Cut (2009), www.cathope.com/in-the-cut-2009.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

32 Susanna Moore, In the Cut (Sydney: Pan MacMillan, 2003).

33 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

34 Cat Hope, Sound of Decay (2013), www.cathope.com/sounds-of-decay-2013.html (accessed 5 September 2018). Please note: the website includes images of the decaying toad.

35 Cross, Jonathan, The Stravinsky Legacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 2021.

36 Vassilakis, Pantelis N. and Kendall, Roger A., ‘Psychoacoustic and Cognitive Aspects of Auditory Roughness: Definitions, Models, and Applications’, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XV (Bellingham, WA: International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2010), available online at www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie, accessed 5 September 2018.

37 von Helmholtz, Hermann, On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music (1885), trans. Ellis, A.J. (New York: Dover Publications, 1954).

38 Cat Hope, In the Cut, on Disintegration: MutatioN. HellosQare Records, 2010, CD.

39 Utilising Alex Harker's signal analysis tools in the descriptor~object for MaxMSP. Solutions to the analyses were plotted in Mathematica. Refer to Alexander Harker. ‘Software’. AlexanderJHarker.com. http://www.alexanderjharker.co.uk/Software.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

40 Cat Hope, In the Cut (2009), www.cathope.com/in-the-cut-2009.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

41 Cat Hope, Shadow (2016), www.cathope.com/shadow-2016.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

42 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

43 Cat Hope, Cruel and Usual (2010), www.cathope.com/cruel-and-usual-2012.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

44 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May 2014.

45 Cat Hope, interviewed by Stuart James in correspondence between Melbourne and Perth, 4 September 2018.

46 Cat Hope, interviewed by Lindsay Vickery in Perth, May, 2014.

47 Hope, Cat and Terren, Michael, ‘The Possibilities of a Line: Marking the Glissando in Music’, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation (Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University, 2016), pp. 176–79.

48 Cat Hope, Tone Being (2016), www.cathope.com/tone-being-2016.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

49 Cat Hope, Shadow (2016), www.cathope.com/shadow-2016.html (accessed 5 September 2018).

50 Scelsi, Giacinto, Il sogno 101: prima e seconda parte, ed. Martinis, Luciano and Pellegrini, Alessandra Carlotta (Macerata: Quodlibet, 2010).

51 Cat Hope, Sogno 102 on Ephemeral Rivers. HatHutArt, 2017.

52 Cat Hope, interviewed by Stuart James in correspondence between Melbourne and Perth, 4 September 2018.

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Tempo
  • ISSN: 0040-2982
  • EISSN: 1478-2286
  • URL: /core/journals/tempo
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