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New Works for the Open-Hole Bass Flute

New Works for the Open-Hole Bass Flute

Adventurous new works with electronic media for open-hole bass flute destroy clichés


March 16, 2015Video

Posted by: Eric Honour

The January 2015 premiere performance of this program at Constellation Chicago was very successful. In advance of the upcoming concerts in the Kansas City area (March 22 & 24), we have created a video compilation from the January show. If you’d like to get a taste of these works—about two minutes each—please check out this video.


March 11, 2015: Upcoming UNLEASHED concerts!

Posted by: Shanna Gutierrez

Two  concerts for this project in the Kansas City area coming up next week!

I’ll be presenting this program as part of the KcEMA Happy Hour Series funded by a NewMusicUSA project grant on March 22, 8pm at the Westport Coffee House in Kansas City.

And again on March 24, 7:30pm at the Hart Recital Hall at University of Central Missouri following a masterclass for students at UCM.

Come on out if you’re in the area!

January 29, 2015: FREED from the Premiere!

Posted by: Shanna Gutierrez

More fruit of our labors….

January 24, 2015: private language as torrid language

Posted by: Morgan Krauss

Here is th fruit of our labor! Thank you so much for the support!!

January 6, 2015: Sunday!!!!

Posted by: Shanna Gutierrez

I am so excited to be int he final stages of preparation for this concert! The pieces are each so unique and really take advantage of all the aspects of sound of the new instrument. Anyone in the Chicago area, I hope you can join us! The Chicago Reader agrees in their preview


January 3, 2015: Private Language as Torrid Language

Posted by: Morgan Krauss

 I am so thrilled to have refined some important qualities of this piece today with sound engineer Franscisco Castillo Trigueros and the lovely Shanna! It has been a rough road bringing this project to life. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my persepctive of writting and collaboration. I’ve grown a lot though I have a long way to go and I couldn’t be happier.

 Thank you New Music USA for your support and to all the collaborators, Eric Honour, Kyong Mee Choi and the most patient and gracioust musician I know, Shanna Gutierrez! Looking forward to Sundays’ premeire!!

November 24, 2014: Stuttering

Posted by: Eric Honour

I’m finishing up the score to “Stutter Edit,” my new piece for Shanna Gutierrez, her Kingma-system bass flute, and computer. These are some of the things that I’m using as guidelines for myself:

1. Stutter edits have become a very common audio production technique in the last 10 years or so, and enable the audio producer to effectively recompose or comment upon the rhythmic structure of a work, generally by stepping outside that structure and deliberately creating conflict with it.

2. This piece is going to based very strongly in groove—stutter edits work best when they have an easily recognizable structure to work against—but it will be a complex, shifting sort of groove: momentarily danceable, but designed to catch listeners out over the medium-term. Also, the tempo accelerates regularly over the entire duration of the piece.

3. Stuttering occurs in all aspects of the work: the live flute part, the live computer processing, the pre-recorded media, and even the formal structure.

The computer part of the work is making heavy use of granular and spectral techniques to provide real-time stuttering and stretching of the live flute performance, but I’m also using some pre-recorded, fixed material. That’s generated mostly from a set of samples Shanna recorded for me, of key clicks, tongue rams, lip pizzicatos, and other techniques on the flute (as well as from ancillary sounds she made while recording the samples, like breathing). The computer part is controlled and triggered by Shanna as she works her way through the piece, which permits her some flexibility to push and pull the tempo and pacing of the work. 

This image is from a bit past the middle of the piece, and is not completely finished (there are still some fingerings and other marks that need to be added, and the computer part needs more detail), but it gives a good sense of where the piece is going!

October 29, 2014: Link to Kyong Mee Choi’s sounds and score

Posted by: Shanna Gutierrez

It seems the link to the score and sound samples form Kyong Mee Choi’s piece FREED is broken for some reason…

Those can be heard here.




August 2, 2014: Freed (2014) by Kyong Mee Choi has arrived!

Posted by: Shanna Gutierrez

I received the first score this week from Kyong Mee Choi! It’s a truly beautiful work that breaks open our ideas about the bass flute.  Below are some thoughts form Kyong Mee choi on the work and writing it for this project….

Link to score and sound samples here

Kyong Mee Choi: FREED (2014) for bass flute and electronics

Commissioned by Shanna Gutierrez’s Open-Hole Bass Flute Project Supported by a New Music USA grant

1. Idea of the piece

The piece portrays a state of mind that is free from all notions, concepts, belief, and memories, and that is capable of observing its own desire and fear. The piece has three sections—the first section describing entering stillness in mind, the second section illustrating desire and fear, and the last section depicting the mind coming to understand true freedom.

2. Recording

Shanna Gutierrez and I met at one of Roosevelt University’s Electro-Acoustic Music Studios to sample her bass flute. She played various sound examples involving some multiphonics and what I composed, which was used later in the flute part. (Sound Ex. 1: Raw sound samples)

3. Electronic Part

In order to maximize timbral variety, I have used Shanna’s flute samples as well as non-flute samples in the electronic part. Based on the structure of the piece, I categorized recorded samples into three sections. The first and the third sections utilize lower, quieter, and calmer bass flute sounds, while the middle section demonstrates a more active and dynamic character. (Sound Ex. 2: An excerpt of the middle section in the electronic part)

4. Flute Part

I composed the flute part after completing the electronic part. I used various multiphonics to match the sonic landscape of the first and third sections of the electronic part. In the middle section, I made the flute part more active and expressive so that it balances well with a vigorous electronic part. (Score Ex. 1: A few measures of each section)

July 22, 2014: Concert Date set!!!

Posted by: Shanna Gutierrez

We have a date, folks!

Come hear the new works in a concert of works for solo bass flute (and some other flutes for variety) and electronics on January 11, 2015, as part of Constellation Chicago’s acclaimed Frequency Series. 

If there’s enough time and manpower to do a live-stream, we’ll try that too, but mark your calendars for January!

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I became fascinated by the bass flute when I first saw Eva Kingma’s instruments. This Dutch flutemaker revolutionized the instrument by creating open-hole key system for bass flute. This system dramatically expands the sound capabilities, resulting in a powerful dynamic range, full quarter-tone scale, and virtually endless multiphonics options. These are limiting factors on a traditional  bass flute which have given rise to bass flute clichés, most notably a tendency to overuse percussive and airy sounds, leading to predictable gestures. With the new, open-hole bass flute, limitations are gone. Now is the time to fully explore what this new instrument is capable of by commissioning adventurous works  for it and collaborating closely with composers. I would like to commission Kyong Mee Choi, Eric Honour, and Morgan Krauss for three new works for my open-hole bass flute. 

Kyong Mee Choi’s work will use recorded and processed sounds from the entire flute family to create a rich timbral variety of flute and electronic sounds with which the live bass flute will interact with and integrate in four different sonic worlds intended to represent the four seasons.  Eric Honour is particularly interested in exploring the ways that granular synthesis techniques can be applied to stretch, cloud, and diffuse the sound of the bass flute in real time, while also exploring the interstices between experimental, avant-garde music, and popular music.  as lived by me now for amplified bass flute by Morgan Krauss will aim to unveil the struggle of instinct in a musical context through amplification of various parts of the bass flute, resulting in two separate scores–one for the sound technician and one for the flutist.  The dynamic indications will not coincide with one another causing the performers to fight their instincts in order to convey what is written in the score and not react to what they hear.

For myself and the composers, this project represents an important step to radically change how bass flute is heard and imagined. Through close collaboration we will be able to uncover new sounds and playing techniques, which will contribute greatly to the solo repertoire of the bass flute.  The possibility of exploring truly new sounds we never previously imagined is a rare and precious opportunity. The funded works will be premiered in Chicago in the Fall of 2014. Ultimately, I intend for this to become part of a larger project recording new works for the open-hole bass flute. 

Project-related Media

Slight Uncertainty is Very Attractive by Kyong Mee Choi

Recording of Kyong Mee Choi's solo for flute and electronics available on the SORI disc released in September 2013. This piece illustrates the masterful integration of live and pre-recorded flute sounds necessary to the new commission for bass flute. Kyong Mee Choi wishes to include pre-recorded sounds of all the flutes (picc-contrabass) to create a fabric with which to interact with live bass flute sounds.

Overcast in the purest of Hues by Morgan Krauss

This trio for bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, and bass flute explores the sonic possibilities of the three bass instruments. The third movement is for solo bass flute (6'50") and is representative of Morgan Krauss's re-imagining of solo instrument sounds. Here the soloist is asked to realize feelings of true panic and anguish, an extremely compelling extra-musical element which makes Morgan Krauss's music riveting to play and hear.

Quirk for bass clarinet and computer

Much of Eric Honour's works for soloist and live electronics uses granular techniques and cross genre borders. This piece demonstrates previous work with a large wind instrument showcasing the instrument and resultant range of sounds it produces. He is particularly interested in exploring the ways that granular synthesis techniques can be applied to stretch, cloud, and diffuse the sound of the bass flute in real time. The size of the instrument itself will contribute much to creation of new sounds in the new genre-crossing piece.


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One response to “New Works for the Open-Hole Bass Flute”

  1. private language as torrid language for amplified bass flute is a work that aims to unveil the struggle of instinct – to ultimately do away with oneself in the moment of unabashed influence. How this is negotiated in a musical context materializes through amplification. The amplification and control of dynamic contour solely through these means creates a tension and awareness about the performer and sound technician. The performer should avoid following the dynamics and rather apply a mechanical and monotonous delivery to their respective part. A soundboard technician should employ the dynamic changes within the range of the given indications, not necessarily by the overall shape of the gestures. As a result two versions of the score will be given to each the performer and sound technician. The reflection of dynamic indications will not coincide with one another in hopes to press the command the performer has over their instincts to convey what is written in the score. My intention is to free the performer of the task and expectation of expressivity. However within this emancipation comes a new oppression: the act of inaction.

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Project Details

Start and End Date

02/01/2014 - 12/01/2015


Chicago, Illinois

Updates (10 RECENT)

Last Updated March 16, 2015

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Project Created By

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Shanna Gutierrez

Evanston, Illinois

As a specialist in contemporary performance practice and techniques, flutist Shanna Gutierrez is dedicated to promoting and advancing contemporary music in cultural life today through innovative performances and educational projects. She appears throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist, clinician, and in various chamber collaborations, including Collect/Project and Sonic Hedgehog. She is the...


Eric Honour

Kansas City, Missouri

Role: Composer

Kyong Mee Choi

Chicago, Illinois

Role: Composer

Morgan Krauss

Chicago, Illinois

Role: Composer

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