AGENCY (2013) 31'

All quartet members are amplified and should run through a central soundboard, controlled by an audio technician. Octave, distortion and digital delay effects are needed, which may either be controlled by the ensemble members through pedals, or centrally by the audio technician. It is recommended that, in either case, presets be constructed for this purpose. Reverb is also recommended. Notes indicating “no effects” should be understood to mean “nothing but reverb.”

Inquiry:
David T. Little
AGENCY

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

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descanso (after omega) (2004) 12.5'

While the primary trio (cl, perc, pno) is on stage, the three musicians playing crystal glasses should be behind the audience, such that–to the greatest extent possible–the two groups of performers fully encircle the audience.

Inquiry:
David T. Little
descanso (after omega)

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

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Dog Days (2012) 120'

an opera in three acts

Dog Days Sound Design Notes

Dog Days is a fully amplified work that necessitates an entire sonic world to be created around, through and in it so the piece can fully realize its potential. Each instrument must have a mic, sometimes more than one, in order to faithfully recreate the warmth, fidelity and range of the parts. Please see the suggested input list provided with these materials.

The story of Dog Days is one of hope and despair and this must be conveyed as much by the sound design as it is by the singers and players themselves. The sound designer/engineer is playing the sound console as an instrument in the orchestra, part of the band and more. The creator of the sonic world. The piece as a whole is demanding and not for the faint of heart. Please make sure your sound designer is up to the task.

System: Dog Days requires a digital console with 48 channels of high end mic pres and processing. The PA system must be capable of rock concert levels of audio utilizing a Left, Right, Center Cluster, Surround (Rear Left and Right), high powered sub woofers on either side of the proscenium, side fills on stage for the singers and low profile floor wedges for the orchestra. The system should be capable of producing at 120db of sound without distortion.

Orchestra: The instruments should sound natural and clear, with both warmth and depth. Watch out for the high register of some instruments, expert EQ is essential to the design not only on the instruments but on the system as a whole. Compression is also an important tool in this piece. Mastery of compression is required in order to keep the orchestra sounding full, big, larger than life, but to also be able to keep the singers clear and above the mix without sounding forced or overly loud.

Singers: The singers must be clear and open sounding with plenty of head room. Their story and plight is the most essential aspect next to the color and tone of the music.  Compression is also an important tool here, helping control peaks in the upper register, while supporting the very low extensions of the voice called for by the score.  Use a natural compression ratio, attack and release to transparently control their dynamics.

Qlab Files: The helicopter is an essential moment when it arrives and leaves.

It should approach from the rear speakers in the theater, left or right is up to you, and arrive into the Main PA (on either Left or Right depending on what side the pallet of food drops from) and also the center. Once the copter arrives to the main PA it should also fade up in the subs and shake the theater as if there was a real helicopter in the room. Terrifying but not deafening. The curfew siren should be loud but also have reverb on it as if it came from far away but is still very present. (Some productions have placed a large horn back stage to create this effect.)  The Clock should come from the Center cluster only and feel medium loud, suburban, almost back ground like.

The last helicopter never reaches them and flies away, passing them over. Keep the approach softer and don’t bring it up too loud as to enhance the fact that they aren’t actually coming.

Epilogue: The final gesture of the piece is a 12 minute crescendo. There are notes about this in the score; please follow these instructions. The arc should be artful and will take the full attention of the sound designer/engineer. The orchestra will crescendo over time but it is up to the designer to support this movement and at times, even control it. Open up all your compressors and let the piece breath. Elements like the electric guitar buzz can get very piercing and must be controlled with EQ and compression. The concert bass drum should be able to shake the entire theater with its low end power. By the end, the effect of this movement should be sheer terror at a volume level around 105db C weighted. Make sure to pick a talented sound engineer who is not afraid to step right up to the line and do what is necessary but who can also keep the final moments within a safe listening level. It will feel like a mix of exhilaration and fear, so keep your wits about you.

Overall Arc: Dog Days has moments of beauty, moments of terror, moments of innocence, and many other feelings in between and beyond. The sound design must not only support, but enhance these feelings and passages of music/text. A thoughtful, attentive and talented engineer is vital to the success of this piece as a whole. Thank you and good luck.

– Garth MacAleavy, Sound Designer

Inquiry:
David T. Little
Dog Days

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

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Electric Proletariat (2005) 16'

All instruments should run through a central sound system, with monitors required for each player, as needed.  The following is an abbreviated form of Newspeak’s tech rider for performances of this work:

  • Clarinet/Bass Clarinet – one hypercardiod mic (or, if not that, 2 mics. – one high one low)
  • Violin – Acoustic instrument with pickup is preferred to electric instrument. DPA pick up recommended, sent through mic’d amp (Lunchbox or Fender DeVille recommended). Uses effects: distortion, etc.
  • Cello – Acoustic instrument with pickup is preferred to electric instrument. DPA pick up recommended, sent through mic’d amp (usually bass amp).
  • Guitar – requires amp (Fender Twin recommended), effect pedals, etc.
  • Drumset  – standard rock micing: kick, snare, 2 overheads, tom mics if available.
  • Vibes – two (very) directional OH mics, one on each side of Vibraphone
  • Piano/Synth- standard piano micing; synth runs direct

Inquiry:
David T. Little
Electric Proletariat

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

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Last Nightfall (2011) 8'

All instruments should run through a central sound system, with monitors required for each player, as needed.  The following is an abbreviated form of Newspeak’s tech rider for performances of this work:

  • Clarinet/Bass Clarinet– one hypercardiod mic (or, if not that, 2 mics. – one high one low)
  • Violin – Acoustic instrument with pickup is preferred to electric instrument. DPA pick up recommended, sent through mic’d amp (Lunchbox or Fender DeVille recommended). Uses effects: distortion, etc.
  • Cello – Acoustic instrument with pickup is preferred to electric instrument. DPA pick up recommended, sent through mic’d amp (usually bass amp).
  • Guitar – requires amp (Fender Twin recommended), effect pedals, etc.
  • Voice – one (1) mic, with slight compression and reverb from soundboard
  • Percussion  – two OH mics (capturing pipes, sus cym., bamboo chimes and tam tam)
  • Vibes/Glockenspiel – two (very) directional OH mics, one on each side of Vibraphone, additional OH mic(s) necessary for glock.
  • Piano/Synth – Standard piano micing. Synth runs direct.

Inquiry:
David T. Little
Last Nightfall

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

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SCREAMER! – a three-ring blur for orchestra (2002) 5'

The original (triple wind) version of SCREAMER! requires an 88 key MIDI controller, a laptop running Kontakt sampler program (download here), an amplifier next to performer and a volume control pedal. Samples will be provided by the composer, along with set-up and loading instructions.

Inquiry:
David T. Little
SCREAMER! – a three-ring blur for orchestra

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

contact usrental@boosey.com

SCREAMER! – a three-ring blur for orchestra (2013) 5'

(reduced orchestration)

The reduced version of SCREAMER! requires the first percussion to play a laptop (Mac), triggering audio samples in QLab, running through an amplifier near the performer. QLAB is free and can be downloaded here.  Sample bundle will be provided with rental materials.

 

Inquiry:
David T. Little
SCREAMER! – a three-ring blur for orchestra

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

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Soldier Songs (2006) 60'

Soldier Songs Sound Design Notes

Soldier Songs is a fully amplified work that necessitates an entire sonic world to be created around, through, and in it, so the piece can fully realize its potential. Each instrument must have a mic, sometimes more than one, in order to faithfully recreate the warmth, fidelity and range of the parts. Please see the suggested input list provided with these materials.

The story of Soldier Songs is one of war, the loss of childhood innocence, the tragedies of death and beyond. This must be conveyed as much by the sound design as it is by the singer and players themselves. The sound designer/engineer is playing the sound console as an instrument in the orchestra, part of the band and more. The creator of the sonic world. The piece as a whole is demanding and not for the faint of heart. Please make sure your sound designer is up to the task.

System: Soldier Songs requires a digital console with at least 32 channels of high end mic pres and processing. The PA system must be capable of rock concert levels of audio utilizing a Left, Right, Center Cluster, Surround (Rear Left and Right), high powered sub woofers on either side of the proscenium, side fills on stage for the singers and low profile floor wedges for the orchestra. The system should be capable of producing at 120db of sound without distortion.

Orchestra: The instruments should sound natural and clear, with both warmth and depth. Watch out for the high register of some instruments, expert EQ is essential to the design not only on the instruments but on the system as a whole. Compression is also an important tool in this piece. Mastery of compression is required in order to keep the orchestra sounding full, big, larger than life, but to also be able to keep the singer clear and above the mix without sounding forced or overly loud.

Singer: The singer must be clear and open sounding with plenty of head room. His story and experience are the most essential aspects, next to the color and tone of the music. Compression is also an important tool here, helping control peaks in the upper register, while supporting the very low extensions of the voice called for by the score. Use a natural compression ratio, attack and release to transparently control their dynamics.

Qlab Files: The playback elements of Soldier Songs are essential to the piece. The house walk in “bombs” should sound far away as if a large battle rages not far off. They should be in the subs more than the PA to convey the power of the far off explosions.

The dialogue at the top of the piece should be clear, not overly loud, a setup for what is to come. The clock should be a background to the singers counting backwards from 365. A machine sound will fade in, it is necessary to push this fader up so that the crescendo of the machine, and it’s subsequent stop leave the audience with an empty and open feeling readying them for Still Life With Tank and iPod/Strings distortion. The “Some one yell cut rumble” should feel present but in the background and the subs. Steel Rain is a very important cue and should be in all the speakers, surrounds and subs (lots of subs). This is the moment you bring the audience into a war zone. It should feel like bombs and shrapnel are falling all around you. It if for this reason best to have a disclaimer outside the theater telling patrons that there will be simulated combat and loud war zone like experiences. Be careful not to go above 105 decibels C weighted. You want to simulate discomfort but not hurt anyone’s hearing or your own. The feedback crackle and swelling low C note are important gestures that must be effectively mixed into the orchestra as if the players themselves are performing them. Likewise, the “angel” sample–triggered by the percussionist–should feel present, but not overwhelming.  The final interviews should feel present, but a little more in the background than the opening. Fully intelligible at first, but slightly more difficult to understand. and more textural as it progresses. The final bass drums need to be loud like 5 final bombs dropping on the stage, signalling both the finality of the piece, and the cyclical, ongoing nature of the story being told

FX: The Sound Engineer will need a Tube Screamer and a Micro POG at FOH. Send the strings to the Tube Screamer, and return to another channel on the console. The Cello only is sent to the POG to get 1 octave down and return it to another channel on the console. The Tube Screamer should be very distorted but, also clear and bright. Too much crunch and you will lose clarity and have feedback. Too little and the effect will not register, lacking the metal-feeling that parts of the score require. Watch out for rests at 243 in Still Life with Tank and iPod: it is necessary to pull out the Tube Screamer return to avoid ambient feedback, but it must be re-engaged in time for the re-entrance of the strings. The POG is for the cello and is used thematically in the piece. Make sure the effect is clearly audible, add it to the subs.

Reverb is a necessary tool in this piece to create a nicer sound in rooms that don’t have great acoustics. I recommend a Hall: 2.3-2.8 decay, 10ms pre-delay depending on the size of the room, High pass of 400hz and low pass of 10k to keep it dark and brooding.

Overall Arc: Soldier Songs has moments of beauty, moments of terror, moments of innocence, and many other feelings in between and beyond. The sound design must not only support, but enhance these feelings and passages of music/text. A thoughtful, attentive and talented engineer is vital to the success of this piece as a whole. Thank you and good luck.

– Garth MacAleavy, Sound Designer

Inquiry:
David T. Little
Soldier Songs

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

contact usrental@boosey.com

Sunday Morning Trepanation (2002) 10.5'

At the beginning of the work, the violinist is asked to detune the G-string one octave. As this is intended to add color to the Bass Clarinet part it is not essential that the sound be audible on its own. This being said, however, slight amplification may be used at the discretion of the performer. The violist who commissioned the work chooses to use an amplifier and second instrument to execute A-B in the score.  Although the score does suggest that the violinist should re-tune (measure 22), if possible, it is preferable that a second instrument be used, thus avoiding the need to retune during the performance.

The piano part requires the use of an e-bow, a small electronic device that causes a string to sound without having been struck. Although originally made for (and generally used on) electric guitars, it has been used successfully inside the piano (see Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings (1995) by Alvin Lucier). The resulting sound is very pure. E -bows can be purchased through various music stores. If an e-bow is unavailable, the sound may be generated through the use of a synthesizer at the performers discretion.

At measure 203, the pianist is asked to scrape the strings in the lowest register with a butter knife. This should create a rather raucous sound. Please note that the butter knife should have as flat an edge as possible, so that the area of contact with the strings is maximized. Also, it may be wise to affix a handle of sorts to the knife to prevent it from falling into the piano (for the premiere, gaff tape was used). Also, should it not be possible to affect the strings in this way due to venue restrictions, the sound may be generated through the use of a synthesizer at the performers discretion.

If synthesized sounds or amplification are used, be sure that the balance is worked out in a sound check before the performance.

The percussion part may be split at the discretion of the performer(s). When this has been done in the past, one player has traditionally played the vibraphone part, while a second player covered the other instruments (Tam Tam, kick drum, brake drums).

To accommodate the switch from stick tips to butt at and around measure 148 (rehearsal letter M), it is suggested that the percussionist play using “traditional” grip, back sticking with the left hand for the part requiring the butt of the stick. The kick drum should be fairly large. Think John Bonham.

The CD part should be controlled by a fifth player (sixth, if percussion part is split) through the house system or through an independent PA system. The CD part should play back at a considerably loud volume through the PA system, relative, obviously, to the space, etc. Although the CD part should not drown out the ensemble, it should be a slight struggle for them ensemble to be heard above the CD.

Slight amplification of the clarinet and violin may be required to guarantee balance.
 

Inquiry:
David T. Little
Sunday Morning Trepanation

To rent or purchase this score, please contact Boosey & Hawkes at usrental@boosey.com.

contact usrental@boosey.com

sweet light crude (2007) 8'

All instruments should run through a central sound system, with monitors required for each player, as needed.  The following is an abbreviated form of Newspeak’s tech rider for performances of this work:

  • Clarinet – one hypercardiod mic (or, if not that, 2 mics. – one high one low)
  • Violin – Acoustic instrument with pickup is preferred to electric instrument. DPA pick up recommended, sent through mic’d amp (Lunchbox or Fender DeVille recommended). Uses effects: distortion, etc.
  • Cello – Acoustic instrument with pickup is preferred to electric instrument. DPA pick up recommended, sent through mic’d amp (usually bass amp).
  • Guitar – requires amp (Fender Twin recommended), effect pedals, etc.
  • Voice – one (1) mic, with slight compression and reverb from soundboard
  • Drumset  – standard rock micing: kick, snare, 2 overheads, tom mics if available. NB: requires a double kick drum pedal.
  • Vibes – two (very) directional OH mics, one on each side of Vibraphone
  • Synth- runs direct