Upcoming Performance: ENERGY CANNOT BE CREATED IV

The latest instalment in my ENERGY CANNOT BE CREATED collection will be premiered by LSTwo Ensemble on Saturday. ENERGY CANNOT BE CREATED IV: …generously taken explores the notion that all acts of composing involve (re)arranging what already exists. It generously takes, ruthlessly breaks apart, and forcefully reshapes. This piece is violent, cruel, and egotistic as it snaps and cracks the broken fragments of my musical self.

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More information about the upcoming concert is available here.

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Recent Publication: Women & Music Journal

I’m pleased to announce that my latest article about one of my compositions ‘We Lived in the Gaps between the Stories.’  (2017) has been published in the latest ‘Women and Music’ journal (vol 22, 2018).

More information about this journal’s latest volume can be found here.

Women and Music Journal

Women and Music
A Journal of Gender and Culture
Edited by Emily Wilbourne

New Piece for 28 Pianos Performed in Yorkshire

My latest composition, Resonance/Light/Decay for 28 pianos, composed in collaboration with Dr Mic Spencer (University of Leeds) was premiered on Tuesday 12 December, 2017 in the School of Music, University of Leeds. The composition and its performance was done to celebrate the School of Music becoming a Steinway School. More about this can be read here and here.

The performance of Resonance/Light/Decay was live-streamed online and also featured on BBC Radio Leeds.

In case you missed it, you can view a video of the performance below:

*Interstice* now available on iTunes

Interstice is out and available to download via iTunes! More information can be found here.

screen568x568Interstice is an artwork and iPhone app that enables users to record, and listen to, an audible representation of their heartbeat. It also allows users to select a musical fragment to accompany their heartbeat. As such, users from all over the world are able to collaborate in the formation of a composition comprising an intricate cacophony of audible heartbeats and musical fragments.

Users can listen to the resultant conglomeration of audible heartbeats and musical fragments by navigating a three-dimensional representation of Earth.

Each user can add up to five audible representations of their heart rate with an accompanying musical fragment. Any one of these five recorded heart rates with accompanying musical fragments can be deleted and replaced with new submissions at any time.

Interstice is created by software developer Samuel Halay and composer Alannah Marie Halay. More information behind Interstice‘s conceptual framework can be found here and here.

Performance of *The Interlocutor*: ensemble Discord

The Interlocutor is my most recent composition and it was performed by Discord earlier this week. It is for French horn, electric guitar, electric bass guitar, piano (doubling keyboard), and electric five-string violin. As a (very) basic description of the composition’s structure, it is based on the dynamics of conversing. Although a seemingly simple compositional procedure, I intend the form to be more complexly dynamic, and I think that Discord brought this out.

Composing for Discord was very useful, not only did it force me to consider writing for these instruments in the context of this particular ensemble, but working with the performers introduced me to the hidden capabilities of these instruments.

The performance was followed by a concert of new music performed by Discord. More information about the concert can be found here.

Compositional Form: A Multidimensional Interstice?

The following is an area of my research which I presented on at a postgraduate conference in December, and something I hope to talk more about in the future as it develops.

In this presentation, I discuss my current composition Interstice, the ‘form’ of which relies on the participation of an interactive audience via the internet and an iPhone app. Due to a specific type of interactivity, Interstice’s timeline is complex, and its participatory element results in the roles of ‘performer’ and ‘audience’ being indistinguishable. Interstice treats the audience as additional compositional ‘objects’ amongst which perceived ‘meaning’ and ‘function’ interact within a ‘frame’ that is multidimensional and not definitive. As such, my composition allows the chain of stages in a typical compositional process to be radically rearranged.

Whilst demonstrating how Interstice works, I discuss that, for me, the nature of compositional ‘form’ is multidimensional and interstitial. It comprises a continuously shifting definition where each characterisation appears inherent regardless of this constantly transforming quality. A potential reason for this versatile behaviour is most likely due to the multidimensional nature of ‘time’ which I explain includes simultaneous linear and nonlinear characteristics.

Another reason is possibly because of the various perspectives applied by society. I elaborate on this theory by questioning the substance of compositional ‘form’ and demonstrating how answers to this query are governed by the perceivers’ viewpoints and the composition’s social context. I explain that compositional ‘form’ is a communal event that most likely relies on the formation of ‘meaning’ within the ‘space’ between a composition’s constituent ‘objects’ and its perceivers. In my opinion, this establishment of ‘meaning’ is governed by the way the compositional ‘form’, and its occupied ‘space’, is ‘framed’ within its social setting; however, in the case of Interstice, defining this ‘space’ and ‘frame’ is not straightforward.

Graphic Score: Notes Inégales, Tableaux Vivants, and CROSSWOR[K]

Notes Inégales realised my graphic score CROSSWOR[K] in the ‘Tableaux Vivants‘ concert earlier this week. The concert also featured traditional klezmer music as well as compositions by Peter Wiegold, The Notes, Marcello Messina, Antti Sakari Saario and Martin Iddon, and visuals by Adam York Gregory (listed here in order of appearance in the concert programme).

The score for CROSSWOR[K] is as pictured below.

CROSSWOR[K] by Alannah Halay

This piece resulted from a request to write a graphic score on a postcard specifically for Notes Inégales.

CROSSWOR[K] is structured like a crossword practically as well as visually.  Deciphering a performance from this score resembles the process one goes through when solving a crossword. A list of interpretive guidelines takes the form of crossword clues.  Like the crossword, these do not have to be deciphered in a specific order: for example, it seems logical to start with instruction number one; however, this is not necessary if the interpretation of another column or row comes to a performer’s mind first. A performer can even attempt to interpret a column or row, cease to do so mid-way through if they are not satisfied with the interpretation, then return to it later. It also seems logical to overlap musical lines as they intersect at points in the score.