: harpsichord and computer-realized sound


Written for and dedicated to Gośka Isphording

Electronic layer was realized by Ewa Trębacz at DXARTS, University of Washington, Seattle.


November 17, 2003
Concierto Nocturnal,
Uilenburger Synagoge, Amsterdam

Gośka Isphording, harpsichord

Uilenburger Synagoge, Amsterdam



  • Chordochromies consist of three miniatures, exposing different aspects of harpsichord timbre and means of artistic expression.
    - Movement 1 makes a reference to a tradition of a virtuoso performance, being a kind of capriccio or etude.
    - Movement 2 explores natural resonance of the instrument as well as reveals some hidden layers of harpsichord spectrum.
    - The last movement, after a slow introduction of a virtual harpsichord, being a remembrance of a real one from movement 2, suddenly turns into a dance.

  • Computer-realized part explores in depth timbre of a harpsichord and is mostly based on its sampled and processed sound. I attempted to construct a "virtual harpsichord" which was intended to be somehow an extension of a real instrument. Most features of my virtual harpsichord (such as timbre alteration or extraction of a noise component) are results of modifications of harpsichord's spectrum, based on sound analysis and resynthesis techniques (created with the use of CLM programming language and ATS algorithms, developed by Juan Pampin). Larger structures such as musical phrases were created with sound synthesis language Super Collider.

  • Unlike a real harpsichord, my virtual one could allow dynamic changes and accents as well as unlimited fast repetitions of sounds. Its pitch range is continuous which allows to perform glissandi and microtonal intervals. For instance, in the last movement each semitone was divided into 5 steps, which resulted in a "well-tempered" microtonal harpsichord).