With the resurgence in systems theory and holistic views of the environment, coupled with an increase in the technology’s presence within the musical and artistic spheres, it is a good time to explore these antiquated ideas of holism and symbol through a most fundamental tool/instrument. The monochord is reworked into a cybernetic musical improvisational tool whose functionalities are broadened to fill both consonant and dissonant phrases. Instead of leaving it as a demonstration tool, the monochord integrates a mechatronic component to add to it the possibility of autonomously searching and playing back a wide variety of frequency ranges, instead of being limited to the hand of the demonstrator, or the stoic ratios of Pythagorean mathematics.
In its first public performance, an improvisational piece was presented for 2 guitars, e-bows (magnetic oscillators commonly used with electric guitars) and CM. One guitar was pitch tracked by the CM and the other, was attentive to the first guitar and listened for progressions across the score. The improvisational constraints were that the tuning mechanisms of all three instruments had to be consistently altered, meaning that they would fall in and out of tune with each other, in an organic and wave-like form symbolic of the interplay between consonance and dissonances in the system. At certain detuning stages, serendipitous playback of harmonic overtones can also be heard through all three instruments.
Documentary photographs of a work in progress presentation at Fremont, Seattle in March 2014 entitled “tuning experiment”. The score is for 2 guitarists, e-bow and cybernetic monocord.