New piece for GreyWing for the concert Artificial Field - rising water. A field recording by Leah Barclay of flood waters in Queensland was resynthesised: firstly by using frequency data to control amplitude and amplitude data to control frequency; secondly by "threshing" - using and sustaining only the strongest sinusoids (the lower spectrogram); and finally by "freezing" the frequency spectrum at points of prominent amplitude transitions (the upper spectrogram). The spectral freeze points were then used to derive a sectional formal structure for the work. "Lyrebird" software was used to create a "base" score representing strongest sinusoids and coloring them according to their timbral qualities. This score was then separated into three colours (timbres) and distributed to the three instruments (bass clarinet, electric guitar and harp). Then layers sometimes obscuring this score were built by transcribing shapes from the "thresh" and freeze" spectrograms. The variation in this material was used to define the sectional structure (which had been derived from the data in the original recording). Thanks to Leah Barclay for letting me use another of her fantastic field recordings. Below is the opening few seconds of the "full score".
kurui  for bass clarinet, piano/melodica and percussion was written for a performance at the Cooroora Institute on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. The performance was part of my sub-residency within a residency by Clocked Out (Erik Griswold and Vanessa Tomlinson) at the Griffith Conservatorium in Brisbane. The institute’s name is derived from the name for possum in the Gubi Gubi language: kurui. Although it is a scrolling score the notation is relatively traditional, aiming to bridge the space between 'faithful" transcription of sound on its own terms and a more "interpretive" transcription of sound in human "musical" terms.
The work ends with the repetitive huff/clicks of the possum. Some of the prominent pitched content is highlights on bass clarinet and melodica.
The score for willsons downfall  was written for a performance at Harrigan's Lane a property in the Great Dividing Range on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.
The final score (excerpt below) comprises the lines (representing the volume/spatiality of the field recordings) and the stylised representations of terrain, forest and river.
The performer’s relationship to Lyrebird in the example below is the most “score-like”, in that the pitch, rhythmic and dynamic contours of the bullfrog croaks from the field recording are adhered to with a great deal of precision. The task is perhaps simplified because the pitch range of the croaks is limited to about 3 semitones, however the spectrogram indicates that this method of synchronisation of the recording and the performance by pianist and composer Michael Terren is effective in this instance.
In the process of developing the work Field Notes, I made a Max patch to analyse field recordings and derive pitches, translate them into MIDI notes and record them as the basis of a score. It became easier to record the MIDI output into a Logic file where they could be further threshed into information that might become a score: the Max Patch was quite capable of generating data that was too complex to transcribe into a traditional score. (In fact it brought into focus just how little information can be captured in a traditional score: because of the temporal grid that the score imposes). In any case I found that the output could also be used to generate an interesting accompaniment for an improvisation. The sample below demonstrates this idea - using an electric piano sound that (to me anyway) sounded a little like the Zawinal/Corea accompaniments found in Mile Davis' Bitches Brew. I'm yet to turn this into a viable performance tool: it took a lot of tweeking to get the output heard here.
In the sense proposed by Deleuze and Guatarri, some of the earliest examples of rhizomatic works in Western Art music, include, Karlheinz Stockhausen Klavierstück XI , John Cage Concert for Piano , Pierre Boulez Third Piano Sonata [1963-], Mauricio Kagel Prima Vista [1962-3] and Earle Brown Event Synergy II . (It is perhaps notable that it was not necessary to negotiate functional harmony in a rhizomatic context in any of these works). These are works allowing for a multiplicity of re-orderings of different but determinate pathways to be explored, not simply exhibiting the non-linear “asignifying ruptures” found in Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments   or Charles Ives Holidays Symphony  [D. Thurmaier. Time and Compositional Process in Charles Ives’s Holidays Symphony. PhD Indiana University, 2006, 26-82. ], or “lines of flight” [J. Gilbert. Deleuze and Music. Edinburgh U.P., 2004] as found in jazz improvisation [J. Barham. Rhizomes and plateaus: Rethinking jazz historiography and the jazz-‘classical’ relationship. Jazz Res. J., 3, 2, 2010, 171-202. ].
Boulez, for example, describes the Third Piano Sonata as a Labyrinth, in which,
The itinerary is left to the interpreter’s initiative, he must direct himself through a tight network of routes. This form, which is both fixed and mobile, is situated, because of this ambiguity, in the centre of the work for which it serves as a pivot, as a centre of gravity [P. Boulez. Sonate, que me veux-tu?. Perspectives of New Music, 1, 2, 1963, 32–44: 41].
A number of problems beset the first generation of paper-based rhizomatic scores:
Although each of the works Ubahn c. 1985: the Rosenberg Variations , The Last Years , Sacrificial Zones , detritus  and trash vortex  utilizes a rhizomatic score comprising a network of connections, the formal structures that emerge in a performance derive from the manner in which the performers traverse the score.
Berlin the graffiti score begins to peel away revealing a five part harmonization of the East German national anthem in traditional notation, which they perform to end the work. Ubahn then, is a concatenative structure [A. Coenen. Stockhausen's Paradigm: A Survey of His Theories. Perspectives of New Music, 32, 2, 1994, 200-225.] comprising a freely rhizomatic first section, an indeterminate graphic notation section and a final traditionally notated section. The rhizomatic section has an idiosyncratic form in the sense that the pathway materials are quiet and combine together as a background layer, while the nodal points contain soloistic material. This arrangement highlights the nodal points and provides a contrasting, indeterminate texture.
detritus explores the “territorializing” [G. Deleuze, & F. Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1987: 317. ] idea of the refrain, an element of rhizomatic structure also discussed by Deleuze and Guattari. They state that the refrain “organizes a limited space around a center in order to keep “the forces of chaos” outside as much as possible” [ibid]. In detritus the score always commences from the same point, a distinctive passage lasting about 10 seconds. At the conclusion of this passage the pathways trifurcate and continue to progressively proliferate. The structure emerges as a consequence of the repetition of this process for different periods of time (between 19 and 145 seconds), allowing a variety of pathways to be charted.
In this way the consequence of the rhizomatic score structure can be emphasized through the exposition of diverse outcomes originating from the same starting point. The use of a Refrain acts against what Deleuze and Guattari would call the ‘deterritorializing’ effect of indeterminate movement through the rhizomatic score structure.
Each performer in detritus has separate parts. The parts are horizontally (temporally) coordinated in the fashion typical of traditional music. This means that when the performers move together their parts are audibly more synchronized than when they are independent of one another. The semantic graphical score was assembled using rhythms and pitch contours from fragments (detritus) of a traditionally notated ensemble piece, cities sunk in endless slumber  for violin, clarinet and piano.
trash vortex takes something of an inverse approach: each part eventually converges upon successive nodes in the rhizomatic score. As the pathways taken from one node to the next vary in duration, each player pauses once a node is reached, “hovering” there until all players have joined them. Tracking the trajectories of each player allows for electronic processing to reinforce the stasis of successive players through emphasis on spectral manipulation of their sound. This structure might be termed a ‘Convergent Nodal’ form, and is a unique implication of rhizomatic structure.
A number approaches to frequency tracking were explored: manual frequency tracking, by annotating the spectrogram with multiple function objects and then retrieving the data by inputting the position of the audiofile as reported by snapshot~ to control the centre frequency of bandpass filters (Figure below); Automated frequency tracking controlling the bandpass filters’ centre frequency via frequencies derived from spectral anaylsis conducted using the sigmund~ object; and “ecological niche” tracking drawing on Krause’ theory which asserts that “animal and insect vocalisations tend to occupy small bands of frequencies leaving “spectral niches” (bands of little or no energy) into which the vocalisations (fundamental and formants) of other animals, birds or insects can fit.” (Wrightson, K. 2000. “Introduction to Acoustic Ecology”. Soundscape-The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, 1(1), pp. 10-13. p. 11).
Manual frequency tracking by annotating the spectrogram with multiple function objects to automate the centre frequency of bandpass filters.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the manual method for frequency tracking proved to be the most effective of those explored.
It could be argued that manual designation of the band pass frequencies adds a ‘human’ layer to the process in contradiction to the eco-structural aims of deriving all data from the environment itself. However, the process is no less of an intervention than choosing sonic features to be emulated by acoustic instruments and indeed, in this case, was achived through similar means: visual detection of features from a spectrogram. The approach is perhaps analogous to the ‘Cocktail Party Effect’ (Pollack, I. and J. Pickett. 1957. “Cocktail Party Effect”. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 29 p. 1262) a feature of the human auditory perception in which conscious auditory attention allows for pre-semantic attenuation of signals in a complex environment.
Lyrebird allows for interaction with pre-recorded non-anthropogenic sound environments. The degree to which an interaction is meaningful is self-evidently dependent on the performer(s) abilities. Examples of this work can be heard at (https://lindsayvickery.bandcamp.com/album/works-for-instruments-and-field-recordings). However, unlike many musical experiences the potential for precise synchronisation of a performer with seemingly indeterminate sonic events arguably has an intrinsically interesting quality. The evaluation of the accuracy of performer emulation is something of an end in itself, and this includes both the degree of acoustic reproduction of the sounds (as demonstrated in the figures above) and the performer’s ability to “enter into” the soundworld of the recording through improvisation.