Joel Strait


Program Notes


I wrote an original piece entitled "Cutoff" using original sound "samples." I then compiled my song using Impulse Tracker 2.41 and recorded my performance onto a cassette tape.

The style period of my piece would definitely have to be music since World War II. The application of technological and scientific discoveries is one of the largest influences in this style. Because of these scientific advances, music in this style is more available than in any other time due to the inventions of radio, cassette recorders, and compact disks. Composers in this style realize that these devices offer them the greatest chance of reaching the largest audience. Due to advances in communications, musical tastes are now more uniform than ever before. For example, Indian music influenced the Beatles, who in turn influenced American music. Also, due to advances in the field of amplification, the decibel level in music since World War II is louder than at any time in history.

The genre of this piece is electronic music. Electronic music involves the manipulation of concrete or musical sounds by electronicmeans. Electronic instruments are capable of create sounds without the aid of voices of existing musical instruments. In many instances, electronic instruments are mixed with traditional instruments, and sometimes even try to sound conventional. One unique aspect of this genre is the fact the computers can be programmed to play electronic music pieces without human intervention. This is one aspect that no other genre can claim to have.

"Cutoff" reflects the chaos and confusion that one experiences when cut off from a telephone call. The basic formal pattern of "Cutoff" is an ABCBDB pattern. There are three basic motives in the piece: The "Hello" motive, the "He Hung Up On Me" motive, and the "The Lines Dead" motive. A "chorus" that mixes elements of each motive follows each rendition of each motive. Other ideas outside of the basic motives exist to provide variation andmake the piece more interesting.

In general, I am very pleased with this piece. It explores a unique style of music that I have not had much experience with. I feel that it has the perfect length: long enough to be a credible piece, but short enough to leave the listener wanting more. If I could change anything about this piece, I would replace some of the "samples" that have little to do with the idea of piece with more appropriate ones.



Compositions by North Allegheny