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To write a 60 minute work CLEPSYDRA for 15-piece ensemble, with material derived from electronic sample and hold procedures.



Posted by: Hans Tammen

Excerpt II (Parts B + E) features solos (in order of appearance) by Michael Lytle, Shelley Hirsch, Satoshi Takeishi, David Soldier, Dafna Naphtali, Ursel Schlicht, Shelley Hirsch, Jason Hwang, Shoko Nagai and Dafna Naphtali.

With Shelley Hirsch (voice), Dafna Naphtali (live sound processing, voice), Sarah Bernstein (vio), David Soldier (vio), Jason Hwang (vla), Tomas Ullrich (cello), Ned Rothenberg (cl, bcl), Michael Lytle (cl, bcl), Briggan Krauss (as, baritone sax), Josh Sinton (contra bass clarinet, baritone sax), Ursel Schlicht (p), Gordon Beeferman (organ), Shoko Nagai (moog), Nick Didkovsky (g), Satoshi Takeishi (perc), Hans Tammen (composition, binary conducting).


August 6, 2017: Hans Tammen + Third Eye Orchestra Roulette 2017 (Excerpt I

Posted by: Hans Tammen

Excerpt I (Part C) features solos (in order of appearance) by Ned Rothenberg, Shoko Nagai, Nick Didkovsky, Shelley Hirsch, Dafna Naphtali, Briggan Krauss and Josh Sinton.

With Shelley Hirsch (voice), Dafna Naphtali (live sound processing, voice), Sarah Bernstein (vio), David Soldier (vio), Jason Hwang (vla), Tomas Ullrich (cello), Ned Rothenberg (cl, bcl), Michael Lytle (cl, bcl), Briggan Krauss (as, baritone sax), Josh Sinton (contra bass clarinet, baritone sax), Ursel Schlicht (p), Gordon Beeferman (organ), Shoko Nagai (moog), Nick Didkovsky (g), Satoshi Takeishi (perc), Hans Tammen (composition, binary conducting).

June 5, 2017: Tickets for Tuesday June 6th Show on sale!

Posted by: Hans Tammen

May 22, 2017: Third Eye Orchestra is going into rehearsal mode now!

Posted by: Hans Tammen

What else do I have to say about it????

May 17, 2017: Final Lineup!

Posted by: Hans Tammen

Last minute changes in the lineup, especially adding Gordon Beeferman’s organ to the mix! Due to a scheduling mishap, David Soldier is playing violin with us again, as he has done twice in the past. Also, Shoko will play Moog Bass most of the time!

Here it is!

Shelley Hirsch – Voice
Dafna Naphtali – Live Sound Processing, Voice
Sarah Bernstein – Violin
David Soldier – Violin
Jason Hwang – Viola
Tomas Ullrich – Cello
Ned Rothenberg – Clarinet, Bassclarinet
Michael Lytle – Clarinet, Bassclarinet
Briggan Krauss – Alto and Baritone Saxophones
Josh Sinton – Contra Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
Ursel Schlicht – Piano
Gordon Beeferman – Organ
Shoko Nagai – Moog
Nick Didkovsky – Guitar
Satoshi Takeishi – Percussion
Hans Tammen – Composition, Binary Conducting

Also, it does seem I have to add some media for the updates. So how’s that for a score?

April 4, 2017: Ticket Sales are Online

Posted by: Hans Tammen

The option for buying tickets to the premiere is now open on Roulette’s website!

January 10, 2017: Premiere at Roulette on June 6th!

Posted by: Hans Tammen

The date for the premiere is set now. It’ll happen at Roulette on June 6th 2017 – it’s time to get to work!

Here’s the amazing lineup as of today:

Shelley Hirsch (voice), Dafna Naphtali (live sound processing, voice)

Sarah Bernstein (vio), Jason Hwang (vio), Stephanie Griffin (vla), Tomas Ullrich (cello)

Ned Rothenberg (cl, bcl), Michael Lytle (cl, bcl, contra bass clarinet), Josh Sinton (contra bass clarinet, baritone sax), Briggan Krauss (as, baritone sax)

Denman Maroney (p/kb), Ursel Schlicht (p/kb), Shoko Nagai (kb, moog bass)

Nick Didkovsky (g), Satoshi Takeishi (perc)

Hans Tammen (composition, binary conducting).


December 24, 2016: Sample And Hold Techniques

Posted by: Hans Tammen

The underlying idea of Clepsydra is to draw from electronic music experience to write for chamber ensemble, and “Sample And Hold” techniques provide rich material to draw from.

“Sample And Hold” is a well-known technique in synthesizer music, in that one “samples” a voltage and “holds” it for a certain amount of time. What does that mean? Since the amount of voltage in a synthesizer can correspond to pitch, we can use this technique to create melodies. One does that by sampling voltages at specific intervals and sending this into an oscillator. The oscillator’s pitch will correspond to that voltage, so we can transcribe that stuff and start composing using the material created.

In the upper part of the graphic you can see the Basic Building Blocks of the sample-and-hold technique: a low frequency oscillator (LFO) on the left is providing voltages to the sample-and-hold (S+H) unit, a timing oscillator on top “pings” the S+H unit at specific intervals. Voltages are sent into the voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) and turned into pitch.

However, to get workable material we need to go beyond these basic building blocks. So let’s talk about the lower part of the graphic, because that’s What I Actually Need.

Usually the timing oscillator “pings” the S+H unit at regular intervals, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I can ping it in a rhythmic fashion by using sequencers, modulate the timing LFO with another oscillator to create variations in timing, or ping it in an entirely random way.

Second, more possibilities emerge when I modulate the LFO that provides the input voltages to the S+H unit. The type of melodies we get depend on the waveforms fed into the S+H unit and how far both LFOs are out of sync. We can also manipulate the parameters in real time, or modulate another LFO onto the LFO providing the input.

It is of course a little bit more complicated to turn these pitches into meaningful stuff. The resulting pitches do not conform to a specific tuning system, so one has to adjust them. I use a module that constrains (“attenuator”) and adjusts (“offset”) the resulting pitches to a range one can work with. A “quantizer” will then move each individual pitch to the closest note on the tempered scale (either chromatic or a scale I may choose).

The notes would all play legato, and I have better transcribing results if they’re a bit shorter, so a combination of envelope generator and voltage controlled amplifier (VCA) allow me to adjust the length of the notes.

Theoretically one could multiply this setup from the VCO on – if the VCOs are set to respond differently to the S+H’s output, one can create chords. However, if you’re using hardware synth modules, it’ll get expensive quickly, since you need the entire row of hardware modules for every single voice. I’d be better off recording multiple lines if I want chords or polyphony.

The next range of options is introduced by the software for transcribing the output. I use a combination of pitch detection in Max/MSP and my ears, recording in Ableton Live, and scoring in Sibelius. I can manipulate the parameters of the transcription in that its tempo can be set differently from the synthesizer’s tempo, and the rhythmic quantization can be varied as well. Setting the parameters in a way that several notes get tracked during the same time period results in them being stacked on top of each other – another way of creating chords. Some lines I will transcribe by ear (“hand”), since this method introduces its own idiosyncrasies, because I humans perceive the outcome differently than the computer.

The goal is then to produce enough material to start composing. S+H lines often sound simple and random, but introducing all those variations one should have enough material at hand to make music…

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I am applying for this grant to get support for a 60 min work for 15-piece chamber orchestra, in which the compositional material is derived from electronic sample & hold procedures.

Ever since I have worked with synthesizers in the 1970s I have been fascinated by sample & hold techniques. A timing oscillator samples and holds voltages of a second “low-frequency-oscillator” (LFO) in regular intervals, which then provides the pitch for a third oscillator. Are they in sync, one gets just a repetitive pattern. But running at different speeds, the results are ever changing “near-ostinato” patterns that provide a fertile ground for experimentation. If one now modulates other LFOs onto the second one, we are getting really interesting materials to work with! While I have worked with that idea once before (see worksample), I intend to create an evening length piece derived from this technique.

I am working with acoustic and electronic instruments as long as I am making music. Electronic music is often informed by our history with acoustic instruments, however, I am personally more interested in exploring how electronics can influence writing for chamber ensemble.

The first step would be to record material from an analogue synthesizer (Buchla). While the technique can be replicated in a computer, using a hardware synth seems to push me towards more musical results.
The second step is to transcribe the recording, partly by hand, partly with help from a software I wrote. This software is mainly used for notes that (due to the nature of certain waveforms) come in too fast, are assembled into chords. 
The third step is to distribute the material across the 15 voices in the ensemble, and compose the evening-length work. Here it is where the main compositional work happens - up until then I only have material that I may use or not.

Third Eye Chamber Orchestra, founded in 2005, is a 13-17 piece ensemble including string and wind quartets, voice, pianos, guitar, percussion and the occasional guest - plus electronic live sound processing. 
The ensemble has been regularly playing in New York City, at Roulette, Czech Center, Brecht Forum, Galapagos, and others. A 2006 performance at Roulette Intermedia has been published on the Innova label as "Antecedent/Consequent".

I have written around 10 larger works for this ensemble, that have been presented in New York and last year at Festival International de Musique Actuelle (FIMAV) in Victoriaville, Canada. The new work, CLEPSYDRA, will be premiered at Roulette Intermedia in Brooklyn in 2017. The duration will be about 60 minutes.

While the music of the Third Eye Orchestra has been enthusiastically received by audiences, your support would be a much needed encouragement!

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Project Details

Start and End Date

10/01/2017 - 12/22/2017


Brooklyn, New York

Updates (8 RECENT)

Last Updated August 19, 2017

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Hans Tammen

Brooklyn, New York

Third Eye Chamber Orchestra is a 13 to 17 piece ensemble including string and wind quartets, voices, pianos, percussion and more – plus live sound processing of some or all of the voices in the ensemble. Avant-Music News called Third Eye Orchestra’s 2015 performance at Festival International de Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Canada “…a thrilling...


Roulette Intermedium, Inc.

Brooklyn, New York

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