Inventions is a set of 5 movements for trumpet that can be played either with electronics, or acoustically with a 2nd trumpet. The movements are: Sirens, Butterflies, The Secret Death Toll of American Drones, Ghosts, and Rip.
Sirens is a study on siren-like glissandos and siren sounds on both the trumpet and in the electronics, and the internal feeling of alarm and fear that accompanied the early days of the COVID19 pandemic. The slides can be done with a combination of lip, valve, and tuning slide, and the wider slides do not need to be perfectly continuous.
Butterflies – this explores flutter technique on the trumpet, while the electronics explore closely recorded insects and other freely associated sounds, as well as rustling piano sounds reminiscent of previous work electroacoustic work Orion Constellation Theory.
The title The Secret Death Toll of American Drones comes from a NYTimes article of the same name. It is a virtuoso etude for piccolo trumpet intended to evoke an ironic, patriotic, quasi-military style. The work begins in a call and response between high trumpet and electronics, then moves to unison statement by the end. The electronics and acoustic versions both use a drone pedal to anchor the virtuoso lines, while the electronics use freely associated sounds inspired by the title of the movement
Ghosts is a quiet and slow exploration timbre and colour that focuses on air sounds, valve noise, and breath, and is in the form of a 12 bar blues. The electronics feature an import voice from the past, a ghost as it were, from my early days as an electroacoustic composer.
Rip is a playful virtuoso duo that is based around rips, which are quick and exciting runs up an overtone series. This movement does not have a prepared electroacoustic part, rather, the trumpeter is invited to record the 2nd trumpet part and play the first part along with it.
The electronics are in the form of soundfile playback. Sirens, Butterflies, and Ghosts each have 1 audio cue, marked in the score. The Secret Death Toll of American Drones has multiple soundfiles that overlap:
This method of cueing sound files enables more freedom for the performer, and is easier to synchronize. However, there is an alternate file called “Drones All” that has all the cues mixed together, requiring only a single cue at the start of the movement. This is appropriate for a performer who is more familiar with the piece.