Composed for Boston-based string trio Sound Energy, Teller Light was written to be a site-specific work to be performed in Rollins Chapel at Dartmouth College. Although the work may be performed in any space with the necessary size and acoustics, the structure and sonic landscape were chosen to complement Rollins Chapel specifically. A vaulted, reverberant cruciform church, the space allowed for significant spatial separation between the three members of the ensemble, with the violinist and violist sitting at the entrance to the right and left transepts while the cellist sat approximately halfway down the choir with his back to the apse. Before the first premier in March 2017, audience was invited to take off their shoes and wandered freely around the space during the performance.
Sonic qualities of the space were consciously incorporated into the structure and aesthetics of Teller Light. Widely dispersing the trio spatially maximized the acoustic effect of the architecture, allowing the audience to fully explore their own perception of the sound as a spatial phenomena. In addition, the sounds used for the tape parts were developed to complement a frequent acoustic artifact within the space, specifically the mettle radiators lining the transepts close to the baseboards that periodically produce a defuse, metallic filigree of pops and pings of expanding metal. Although all sounds in the tape parts were created with a violin and various found objects, the transient-dense texture and cyclical emergence of the projected sound complemented similar qualities in the soundscape.
Teller Light is notated via either a live-animated video score. The algorithmic backend of the score runs in Max/MSP, while the video notation is rendered in realtime in the Processing IDE which received real-time values from Max via the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol. Global section lengths and Markov chain transition weightings are calculated via Python algorithms, and these parameters are recalculated and set ahead of time before each performance of the work.