Vain Attempts
pno, fixed media (2ch)
Nutida Musikdagar

May 18, 2008
Södra Latins Gymnasium
Stockholm, Sweden

David Huang, pno

︎︎︎Detailed Inventory

fixed media (2ch)

2 small diaphragm condenser mics (e.g. Shure SM81)
laptop computer
external firewire/usb audio interface*
pair of active studio monitors**
cables/stands as needed

*e.g. Motu Ultralite, Apogee Duet etc.
**e.g. Genelec 1031a, Mackie HR824 etc.


The work is a dialogue between a tape part consisting of simultaneously hard and soft timbres and a piano part articulating the diatonic chords of the tape part (built from harmonica samples). A competition arises between the two—a competition of amplitude, movement and fullness of timbre. The dynamics are ever-changing but both the harmonic and physical movement in the piano part are constant.

The piano part consists of various fast-moving figures, to be repeated for the specified duration. Use a stopwatch to synchronise with the electronics.

The machine must never stop; the pace and amplitude must be constant unless the score says otherwise. Avoid rubato or espressivo playing.

The piano should be amplified and appropriately balanced with the electronics. At times the electronics will be overbearingly powerful, rising above the maximum amplitude of the piano (even at ff). It is essential that the levels are set high enough so that the effect of the electronics “swallowing” the piano becomes apparent. It is essential that a sound engineer be present to make necessary adjustments to the mix as the piece progresses.

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