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site-specific composition

Remote Instruments

action Posted on Dec 07, 2019 14:59


A remote instrument. That is the core idea of Here and There: a music instrument played by a musician in one place but sounding from a distant, further off place, not at the location of the musician. Thus the produced sound comes from the direct environment, the surrounding buildings, trees of vehicles. As if the performer is playing the environment. In stead of playing an electric guitar and amplifier in the same room, you put the amplifier in a garage with an open door, connect it wirelessly to the guitar in your room. You open the window in your room and start playing. You sound as a remote, guitar playing neighbour. Or you play synthesizer in a park and connect it to a small, portable speaker in the top of a tree to sound as the wind or a bird.

My score of Here and There only consists of text, it asks to combine a remote instrument with a usual, nearby one:

Perform and combine two different instruments, one only producing sound at a large distance from you and one in or very near to you. Use any device – wired, wireless, digital, mechanical – to ensure that the sound of the ‘remote instrument’ is reaching you from a distance as part of the environment. Find a fascinating spot – stationary or moving – for yourself, the nearby and remote instrument.”

Originally – in the first version of 2017 – the concept of a remote instrument was linked to a digital music instrument: here the physical performance mode (the user interface) and the sound production are disconnected. For example, you can beat the key of a keyboard of a synthesizer or sampler and not produce a percussive sound but a flute. I thought: why limit this disconnection to one room? Why can’t I play a keyboard controller on stage that is sounding outside in a garden? Portable, rechargeable speakers have become widely available and payable in the last decade. So, the first versions of Here and There were realisations with a synthesizer or controller at one place and a portable speaker at another.

Next I figured out that distance – within a music instrument – can be created in various ways, electronically, electrically or mechanically. For example, you can pull long lines or ropes that beat percussion or make sound objects move 30 meters further. With electric extension cables you can switch on devices making sound – a radio, pump or fountain – in another room or space. With a simple tap and a long hose you can control a water installation from a distance. With a controller you can make a music percussion robot play and let it beat the stones of a building, 20 meters above a performer.


In the first place Here and There is an exercise or work for performers, and not a concert piece for an audience. It aims to connect and fuse with the environment by playing a remote instrument. At the moment I don’t know if it is also effective for listeners, it has not yet been performed for an audience. To use music technology to blur the line between between the ego of the performer on the one hand and the group or direct environment on the other, is an idea that popped up in the 1960s, more specifically in Musica Elettronica Viva. The musicians of this avant-garde ensemble did not work with clearly, recognizable music instruments but with contact microphones attached to diverse objects. They produced a kind of living, noisy sound mass. Moreover, they placed the speakers at large distances and mixed all the instruments heavily through the mixing panel. Thus, the listener didn’t hear the sound of a specific performer coming from the location of this performer. R. Teitelbaum of Musica Elettronica Viva described one of their performances as a combination of internal meditative processes and electro-acoustic techniques with the goal to create a kind of “space” designed to dissolve barriers between individual egos and merge them into a collective consciousness: “By mixing and highly amplifying each musician’s signals through a common (and cheap) sound system, the inter-modulation, distortion, inherent unpredictability of analog devices, and the physical displacement and movement of sounds between distantly placed loudspeakers created out-of-body sensations and loss of individuality in the dense noise textures produced” (CD liner notes on “OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music”). Frederic Rzewski – also active in Musica Elettronica Viva – described a double self in confrontation with the soundmass in the speakers: “At times he perceives as his own the sound produced by another, at times he perceives his own sound as another’s. He experiences the possible identification of himself with the atmosphere in vibration” (book Nonsequiturs by F. Rzewski).

Usually the disconnection between sound source, performance gesture and sound production is experienced as alienating in modern audio technology. Imagine a crowded event and presenter with microphone, audible everywhere but invisible and impossible to trace. Using the same technology Musica Elettronica Viva invented a technical setup and performance practice that did create a kind of connection and community between performers and audience. In Here and There I extend this connection-through-disconnection idea to include places, outside indoor concert halls, where there are more actors than music performers and audience. By designing a remote instrument, distributed over the direct environment, a performer cannot easily distinguish own sounds from environmental ones. His/her music instrument sounds from a distance, causing the performer to listen to the background environment. The music instrument spills over into the environmental instrument, by which various humans, animals, objects, the wind, etc. are making sound, regardless of the performer’s intentions.


In this final part I explain three realisations and recordings of Here and There. First, I give a rather long description of a version by Vincent Caers, next, I take a short look at two of my own realisations.

Here and There #1: Vincent Caers at the Meerdaalwoud

Vincent Caers is percussionist, sound artist (a.o. in the Collectief Publiek Geluid) and artistic researcher at LUCA School of Arts. He also plays live electronics with self-designed software and patches. The location where Vincent performed Here and There in August 2019 was a green space called De Speelberg, next to the wood Meerdaalwoud, not far from the city Leuven. As you can see on the photographs the location has walking paths, open fields and a parking, all surrounded by trees. The place and the sounds have a quiet character: a passing-by hiker, the wind through the trees, birds, insects and now and then a car on the parking. Further away machines (on a building site?), trains, air planes and cars were audible.

Vincent chose this location the day before the performance, when he tried out possible places, wireless systems and batteries together with me… and had trouble with sudden rain. These tests showed that it was advisable and practical to limit the setup and instrument choice. Larger setups (with controllers and external sound cards) reduced the battery life, caused technical complications and produced less play time and more stress. Finally, Vincent only used his laptop as remote instrument, wirelessly connected to a Bose Soundlink speaker, positioned about 25 meters behind him – in the direction of the wood –. He was comfortably laying under a sculpture (an archway of branches) to which he had attached a few percussion instruments – Chinese gongs, bells – as ‘nearby’ instrument. On the keyboard of his laptop he played with a self-designed lsl.lpsr patch (in Max): this is an algorithmic sequencer producing 8 independent loops and patterns. He could adapt both details and overall features while improvising. Lsl.lpsr is inspired by the variation and transformation techniques of the French composer Philippe Hurel.

The realisation was one long improvisation session of Vincent, lasting about 50 minutes. Here you can listen to live fragments: fragment 1 and fragment 2. The complete recording was done with two AKG C414 microphones and a Roland R26 recorder. The soundscape of the environment – and the remote instrument – were hard to record well: overall, they were very soft, therefor the recording is amplified slightly. In the first fragment the nearby instruments are clearly audible, the bells around 1’05” and Chinese gongs around 2’16”. In the second fragment – recorded five minutes later – there is no nearby instrument, only the remote instrument (Vincent on his laptop) and environmental sounds (a plane flying over and something like a brush cutter or chainsaw).

Afterwards Vincent told me that in his studio he usually works on details with good monitor speakers or in concerts reacts to musical triggers from co-musicians but in this performance the atmosphere and sounds of the environment functioned as input. Usually he knows his live electronics patches and can guess the direction in which they evolve. He knows how the live electronics react to his performance gestures, adaptions and previous decisions. In the realisation of Here and There the situation was more vague and unpredictable. Some gestures on the computer patch were less or not effective and therefore, almost automatically, he started adapting himself to the surrounding soundscape. Mixing with the environment was clearly experienced.

Here and There #2: Hans Roels in Gentbrugge

The location for this performance of Here and There was an unpaved road in Ghent. At one side there were railroad tracks along this location, on the other side – behind a few trees – there was an industrial park where trucks were being loaded and unloaded. It was a beautiful day in September 2018 with a strong wind; the atmosphere of the location was a mix of natural elements (sun, wind, trees) and human, industrial activity.

I performed on the touchscreen of a tablet as remote instrument, wirelessly connected to a Bose Soundlink speaker, located 20 meters further in a few bushes. On the tablet I controlled a self-designed Pure Data patch – via the app Mobmuplat – with which I mainly produced glissandi with granular synthesis (of a piano sample). As nearby instrument I played on a wooden box, touching it with a vibrator. This is a fragment of the live recording.

Here and There #3: Hans Roels in Sint-Amandsberg

This is the main memory of this realisation of Here and There: it was bitterly cold with a strong, freezing wind. To warm up I started moving a lot in the performance. The recording happened on 1 March 2018 in a park near to my home in Ghent. I used a mini-synthesizer (Korg Volca Keys) as remote instrument, sending the output sound to a simple mobile phone. This was tied to the reed moving back and forth. Ice pieces and a percussion stick functioned as sound objects and nearby instrument. To drive away the cold I started beating the ice more energetically after a while. This is an unedited fragment (about four minutes) of the live recording. You can hear the howling wind through the tree branches and the reed. This extra 10 seconds fragment features the synthesizer, twice with a short break in between. In the first fragment it is difficult to distinguish the synthesizer from a few birds, not scared by the cold wind.

the Rolling Band

action Posted on Oct 07, 2018 21:27

On June 23rd 2018 there was a performance of the Rolling Band in Ghent (Belgium). I didn’t make a score for this work (yet) but these are the core ideas:

<1> In advance a ‘click track’ is made with (simple) rhythmic patterns in successive sections. The sections have different tempi.

<2> In advance a route is searched for, with quiet environmental sounds and diverse street stones and surfaces.

<3> During the performance one performer carries an audio transmitter which is sending the audio click track, the other performers receive and hear this track via one earphone. Each performer walks with his/her trolley suitcase along this route and tries to play in the tempo of the click track, by stepping faster or slower and/or by pulling the suitcase with another speed over the street stones.
More information on the click track

The durations of the sections with different tempi varies from 15 to 90 seconds. There is one main tempo (88 bpm) that returns after 1 or 2 sections with different tempi, the other tempi are 52, 70, 121 and 154 bpm. The sections with the main tempo have the longest duration (between 30” and 90”), the ones with the very slow (52 bpm) and very fast tempo (154 bpm) have the shortest duration (between 15” and 40”). Playing with the trolley suitcase in the very slow tempo is almost impossible but I chose this tempo also for visual reasons: you clearly see – as in a slow motion – that the performers are trying to synchronize the suitcase, street and their body. If sections return in the click track (for example the main tempo 88 bpm), I create simple changes in the rhythmical patterns, for example by stressing another beat.

More information about the route and date

The changing, diverse surfaces are obtained by choosing streets with different street stones, cobble stones, pavers, clinker bricks, etc. The state of the road surface can also differ: one street can have more holes and patches than another. There are also bridges and tunnels that might be constructed out of wood, steel or ribbed material and sound different if you walk on them with a trolley suitcase.

(Of course, all the individual trolley suitcases also sound different…)

Next to the diversity in street surfaces, the trajectory should also be acoustically suited to hear the trolley suitcases (for example, not too many noisy cars). In general it is important to discover the sound (performance) affordances of the route in advance. During the preparation questions pop up such as: is the sound environment not too loud? Will you be able to hear the trolley suitcases? Are there narrow streets (‘city canyon’) tunnels or parkings with a specific sound or reverb that could be used?

Related to the choice of the route, is the choice of a date and hour. Some streets could be used and have softer environmental sounds on a Saturday morning than during the peak hour on a week day.

The performance on June 23rd, 2018

The synchronisation between trolley suitcase, foot steps and the patterns in the street stones can’t be fully or perfectly realized: foremost, it is an attempt to play together with the other performers, the streets and suitcases. Sometimes the synchronisation succeeds, sometimes not; mostly it works to a ‘certain degree’: the timing of the produced sounds ‘overall’ fits together, like the many sound layers of an old, mechanical train driving, slowing down, stopping and taking off again.

The performance on Saturday June 23rd was a try-out with three performers (Nicolas Leus, Thomas Van den Eynde, Hans Roels). At the end of this blog there is a link to the full recording (.flac, 374MB), followed by the timing of the trajectory (on the recording) in Ghent. This is a shorter fragment (mp3 file) when the performers were walking in the Donkersteeg and Onderstraat.

The performance required more concentration (of the performers) than expected to synchronize your body (steps), the trolley suitcase and the click track. As a performer you do not have a full sound image: you mainly hear the click track and (your own) rolling suitcase. The plan for a next performance is to let the audience walk in between the performers of the Rolling Band (for a part of the trajectory), giving them the opportunity to listen to the trolley orchestra and the sound environment. The choice of the date, time, trajectory and the duration of the tempo sections (in the click track) worked well in this try-out. Perhaps I will add a new main tempo after a while in the clicktrack (for example, after 20 minutes) and also gradual tempo changes (for example, going from 88 bpm to 52 bpm in 30 seconds).

This is the full recording of the tryout performance on June 23rd 2018 made by Bas Hendrickx who was walking with the performers (the microphone was a Classic M MkII stereo, made by Johan Vandermaelen).

2’00”: Donkersteeg

3’00”: Gouden leeuwplein

6’00”: Stadhuissteeg

7’45”: Graffitisteeg

9’50”: Onderstraat

12’00”: Langemunt

13’04”: Straatje zonder einde

14’38”: Langemunt

15’39”: Onderstraat

20’37”: crossroads Onderstraat and Belfortstraat

21’49”: Zandberg

22’58”: Baaisteeg

24’32”: Sint-jacobsnieuwstraat

24’51”: Oude schaapmarkt

26’03”: Houtbriel

28’40” : Kalvermarkt

29’44”: Nieuwpoort

31’37”: Ijkmeesterstraat

33’19”: Sint-jansdreef

33’39”: Oliestraat (steegje)

35’37”: Steendam

36’31”: Dodoensdreef

Composing with the neighbourhood

action Posted on Mar 23, 2017 10:17

In January 2017 there was a performance of my Music Street composition together with the neighbourhood committee De Biekorf. Music Street is a live soundscape that wants to create a full experience of the diversity in a neighbourhood. This is a very short summary of the work:

  • the listeners walk in a parade while the musicians play self-chosen music fragments from houses with open windows or doors; all the musicians in the houses live in the neighbourhood, thus they are mainly amateurs, from beginners to experienced performers;
  • two musicians walk in the parade (percussion and trombone), both play their own musical pattern but they also give space to the music from the houses.

You can find more information, the score, documentation and recordings of Music Street here. In this post I will focus on the artistic and compositional challenges of such a site-specific and participatory project.

The illustration shows the street map, a few weeks before the first performance of Music Street, when I was acquainted with the majority of the participating houses and musicians. This map was the starting point to design the musical structure for the composition. The letters indicate the spatial sections of the trajectory. In the pink houses the inhabitants were also musicians, therefore the instrumentation and spatialisation was fixed at these places in the trajectory. The orange houses were guest houses, the inhabitants were not musicians and other local musicians could play from these houses. [The yellow houses stand for people that were probably going to participate.] By linking the local musicians to a specific guest house I could enhance the diversity in instrumentation, loudness, spatialisation and music styles and thus build a musical structure. This structure was created by fixing the walking trajectory, which was A→B→C→D→E→B→C. The beginning A was quiet, with less musicians in this section. In C there were more performers and a first climax was built up. Next, there was a second, quieter part in E (with less and softer instruments), leading to a final climax in C. Here I arranged that the largest ensemble (five accordions) played from two houses across the street and over the heads of the audience. (The second illustration shows the trajectory a few weeks later, on 21 January; all the instruments in the houses are indicated.)

As in other polyphonic music, I composed and worked with timing, orchestration, spatialisation and timbre of the sound layers, but the method, possibilities and restrictions in my creative process were different compared to a composer (Henry Brant for example) making a concert hall piece. The variety in instrumentation and timbre was larger than in an orchestra, but I had to find and convince the musicians of instruments such as didgeridoo or synthesizer in the neighbourhood. The possibilities to place the performers at different locations and exploit the spatialisation were also very large. The first performance had musicians in entry halls of houses, windows at the first floor and parking lots, but again, I had to convince enough house owners. Moreover, in some cases a musician’s location couldn’t be changed because the instrument was too heavy (e.g. piano) or the musician lived along the trajectory of the parade. I also couldn’t control the timing of the separate ‘voices’ in detail (compared to e.g. a polyphonic baroque composition) because of the large distances between the performers. But I had some control on the timing of the sound fragments that the performers had chosen to play. I gave them simple instructions to play before, during of after the parade had passed by. While doing this, I also had to take the different levels and the performance pleasure of the amateur musicians into account: playing a half-minute piece is appropriate for a beginning musician but probably too short for an experienced musician.

Just as a composer creates a digital soundscape in a studio, I balanced, mixed, controlled the timbre and loudness of separate voices and spread the sound in space (‘panning’). But I didn’t work behind a computer screen but together with a neighbourhood. This implied more organisational, social and artistic work outside on the street. Compared to a soundscape playing through speakers, I didn’t have an equally detailed control of some musical parameters but in the end the listener was really walking around in this soundscape and had a multi-sensorial, holistic experience of the neighbourhood in which listening, seeing, feeling and knowing were mixed.

Composers have always operated within a socio-cultural field that gives them opportunities and restrictions. This also happens in contemporary-classical and experimental music, where commissioners of new works play an important role (see the articles of researcher Annelies Fryberger). Often tradition and habits make this field ‘invisible’ but composers do accept that commissioners restrict the instrumentation and duration or agree that the character of the new work should correspond to the profile of the concert organizer. It may seem as if I barely had artistic possibilities in the collaboration with the neighbourhood in Music Street: the performers chose their music fragments and I (almost) didn’t write ‘a note of music’. But in fact, the field of possibilities and restrictions only moved and changed, when I was making this site-specific, participatory work. And, as you may have noted from this text, my previous experience in polyphonic composition proved to be an aid and enrichment in the elaboration and organisation of Music Street together with the neighbourhood committee…


action Posted on Nov 30, 2016 09:40

A site-specific composition and performance does not inevitably mean that you only work with materials and sounds that are part of the concert site. Since the last quarter of the 20th century, artistic concepts and societal opinions have become more ecological; mutual relations and dependencies are valued, as opposed to isolated elements which are only connected by causal relations. To suppose that a landscape or concert location exists independently from yourself, and that, as an artist or member of the audience, you are an outsider that quietly sits down and listens, is an opinion that is becoming rare among artists (myself included). See e.g. the Landscape Quartet.

Therefore, in a site-specific performance the question arises: how and to what extent shall I intervene in the environment and stage it together with the performance? Which choices do I make to design a performance in a specific location? I will explore these questions and possible answers by taking a closer look at my recent compositions.

A site-specific performance requires a choice of a location and a moment at which the audience is invited to come to that place. A location (such as a park) and its character are not static; season, day and time of the day can create large differences. The fundamental choice of a location and moment is related to the general concept of a musical work and also has to be reconciled with organizational restrictions and demands. In my composition Beving several performers play percussion on objects, materials and the architecture of the concert location. Not only present and audible sounds play a role, but also the potential, hidden ones. Thus, the diversity of materials at a location largely defines the choice of a fitting location. If this diversity is too small (for example a park with only grass and a cycling road), the performance will become impossible. Moreover, the acoustics of a location, the size of the expected audience and the number of performers, also play a role in the choice of location, because the performance has to be audible for the whole audience.

Apart from the place and time, other choices and interventions have to be made. A thorough exploration, performed at different moments before the rehearsals and concert, produces a detailed and rich image of the sounds and objects at the site. A choice between all these possibilities has to be made, and sometimes later on in the creative process these explorations and choices need to be further adapted if they are not sufficiently effective. For example, after the exploration and first rehearsal of Plain in the reading room of the library of the Singel, it turned out that there was a lack of diversity and loudness of sounds. A first solution was found in the ‘doubling’ of certain sounds: multiple performers played on (almost) identical objects (such as a book with a hard cover) at the same moment.
(photo: Zena Van den Block)
Second, I started searching for other materials (brushes, foam, etc.) to rub objects at the site and produce louder and more diverse sustained noise sounds. Third, by changing the placement of objects such as books or stands, they could resonate more freely and sound louder. Fourth and last, by indicating or memorizing interesting sound places in detail (for example sweet spots on a wooden floor), we could ensure the diversity and loudness as well.

The friction between the concert location with its character and affordances on the one hand, and the musical and compositional demands on the other, is a recurring phenomenon in the genesis of site-specific performances. This tension enforces you as a composer to search for creative and local solutions to ensure that in the end the performers, audience, plants, animals, materials and architecture can ‘work together’ in a site-specific performance of a composition.

Finally, it is important to think about the role of the audience and to communicate about it. On the one hand, the standard ritual to sit silently and listen, only applies to the concert hall and it is not valid outside such a hall. But on the other hand, a group of walking and talking people can disrupt the (changing) character of a location. Choices have to be made about this role, and ideally, the concert ritual and space are designed in such a way that the audience is seduced to behave in the chosen way.

Open-air performance of two new compositions

action Posted on Sep 16, 2016 09:30

On the 27th of August two new compositions were performed in Rozebroeken park in Ghent.

My first composition Open Fields is meant to be performed in a big, open space. Three musicians are located at a large distance from the audience, three others sit near to the audience while one musician is at an intermediate distance. This work continues the 20th century tradition to exploit the location of performers in a music performance.

The second composition is Beving Rozebroeken (Bebung) and the main (instrument) part – called BEAT in the score – requires multiple performers to beat on plants and objects (trees, stones, water, park benches, garbage, bicycles, etc.) situated at the concert site or characteristic for this place. This part was performed by nine musicians, six amateur performers from the neighborhood included. Three additional performers sporadically played melodic and harmonic material in the high register, pointing at the presence of birds in the park. The use of garden tools (as percussion objects) made a reference to the history of the park as community (vegetable) gardens (‘volkstuinen’ in Dutch).

In both works I try to obtain an auditory transparency: the music should not only draw attention to itself but also to the surroundings. During a concert the audience should not only hear the music, but also experience and learn about the concert environment. The work Exposure, 2010 by Anthony Gormley is a powerful example of such transparency in the visual arts: if you look at this 60 ton sculpture in The Netherlands, you cannot avoid seeing both the art work and the location (landscape).
In the two performed compositions I tried to create this transparency by

– regularly sitting outside while imagining and designing the music during the creative process
– adding rests or providing enough sections with very soft dynamics to ensure that surrounding sounds come to the musical foreground; I imagine that I am not composing an autonomous piece, but only one voice of a polyphonic whole;
– exploiting general characteristics of environmental sounds (and not imitating specific environmental sounds).

These characteristics are spatialisation (sounds coming from different directions and altitudes), mobility (sounds and the performers are moving), diversity (sounds are not only produced by musical instruments but also by beating on objects, buildings and plants at the concert location) and imprecise and unstable intonations (site-specific objects with unstable or imprecise pitches are combined with the ‘musical’ instruments playing fixed pitches). The last two characteristics were only applied in Beving Rozebroeken (Bebung).

Transparent music and awareness for the surroundings is not a purely musical issue. I also gave a short explanation to the audience, stressing this transparency and the difference with the usual concert ritual in a concert hall. The absence of a stage helped the audience to focus on multiple sources and an overall experience.

I didn’t make one overall score for Beving Rozebroeken (Bebung): there is a (more or less) traditionally notated score for 3 instruments and a video score for the BEAT part. The video score (an mp4 file) was played back on a mobile phone or tablet by all the performers moving around on the performance site and beating on the site-specific objects. This video score had a list of simple (text based) instructions changing in time. In the future I want to omit the traditionally notated instrument parts and only make a text score with general instructions on how to prepare a performance and make a video score. This would make the piece and the rehearsal process more adaptable to different locations.

This is a short video fragment of the performance of Beving Rozebroeken (Bebung): it was evening in the park and in this fragment a performer is beating on a tree while later on, the camera films another performer playing on a large, wooden climbing frame with a rubber hammer.

You can find scores and recordings of both compositions on my website.

Inside and outside soundscapes

action Posted on Apr 25, 2016 21:27

Auditory field is a term that can be used by analogy with visual field. It refers to the area around a listener in which sound sources are audible. I guess that in an open area the auditory field has a range of a few tens of meters (of course, this also depends on how loud the sound sources are). But in a city acoustic obstacles such as walls and houses are omnipresent and limit the sound propagation. The insulation of these walls and windows has improved and a specific ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ sound experience has come into existence. For example, when you open a window at home, you suddenly hear another sound world, even though you are still standing in your room. What you experience as inside or outside not only depends on the kind of sounds and the familiarity with these sounds, but also on the distance and direction from which they reach you and the effects (reverb, filter, etc.) produced by the architecture of the indoor and outdoor spaces.

At this moment I am working on Kier (working title), opening and closing the doors of the concert hall is an integral part of this composition. The audience can hear the sounds from outside the hall through the doors. Three performers, including two percussionists, play in this work. One percussionist also performs outside the concert hall and becomes audible through these doors.

An additional setup with multichannel amplifications transports sounds in real time from outside the hall to inside. There are microphones outside the building that pick up environmental sounds (including the percussionist playing outside) and these are mixed (by the third performer) and played back on the speakers in the hall. This third performer can partly zoom in on the acoustic sounds that are heard through the doors.

In some parts I also give the performed music, on the stage, the characteristics of outside sounds. This is achieved by a polyphonic, simultaneous writing style (fragments performed in different locations of the hall) and a specific amplification of the inside percussion. A dynamic directional microphone is attached to a foot of the percussion player to ensure that the performed music sounds ‘from a distance’ and with background noises (foot steps). By the mobility of the performers, the live amplification system and the manipulation of the doors between the hall and the outside world, the auditory field in the hall can be enlarged and new overarching and intermediate (auditory) spaces – between inside and outside – can be created.

A hall with at least one opening (door or window) through which the outside can be heard, is required for the performance of this composition. In December 2015 I tried out a first version on a concert in the School of Arts Ghent with Ruben Martinez Orio, Michiel De Naegel and myself as performers. This was a very ‘premature’, short version: Kier was still conceived as a solo percussion work with two assistants and the percussionist only played inside the hall.

This is a recording of a fragment of a rehearsal in December 2015, the environmental sounds consist of working and talking building laborers, machines, rehearsing music students and the carillon of the belfry. This is a quick recording, take into account that it is extremely difficult to present the difference between acoustic and amplified-recorded sound through a recording! The recorded fragment starts around number 14 in this sketch.