Flicker

Performed by Chris Schelb, flute

Flicker is a sonic representation of fire. Uniquely a source of light, heat and sound, fire is a versatile element. Its presence is soothing and relaxing in one context and dangerous and terrifying in another. Like music, fire is temporal: it has a distinct beginning and end. Both build and diminish over time and with varying intensity. In this work, the electronics begin with entirely synthetic sounds that are meant to mimic the sounds of fire: the windy rush of a draft, the crackle of the flames, and the pops of flying sparks. The flute works in tandem with these sounds, creating its own percussive pops and whooshing tones. As the piece progresses, the intensity builds and a distinct harmonic series on B emerges through the crackles. This becomes the anchor pitch of the piece, and the flute reinforces the overtones that seep through the percussive pops of the electronics with various extended techniques. As the amount of pitch present in the electronics surges and then diminishes, the listener is left to discover that a recording of a real fire has replaced the initial synthetic imitation. The flute accompanies these raw sounds by whistling through the B harmonic series one last time and fades away with the dying fire.

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