Duplex Drumming 2019

a performance piece for two drummers, live electronics and projected visuals.

Duplex Drumming, short edit of performance at Algomech, 2019

background
Duplex drumming was a performance piece for two kit drummers, electronics, and two live projections. Two serial connections were recreated to work with MIDI triggers allowing the two performers to play rhythms that were translated into text. The percussionists performed a fifteen minute piece that explored conversation in both a rhythmical and textual sense.

Presentation history
Algomech Festival, Sheffield, May 2019 Performed by Sophie Hastings and Jan Bradley from the 4-Mality Percussion Quartet.

Duplex Drumming, software test, 2019

Developing the scores
The work was developed over one initial meeting and two rehearsals. After our first meeting it was clear that the percussionists would need to work from written scores. I scored out a few bars in a notation software called GuitarPro and then quickly realised that converting text into music notation was going to be prohibitively slow using this method. I then worked with a combination of SuperCollider and a music engraving program called Lillypond which allowed me to generate the scores efficiently.

Duplex Drumming example score

download complete scores used in Algomech performance

You can download an example of the SuperCollider and Lillypond files I used to generate scores below. If you have both pieces of software installed you should be able to create scores with no additional libraries.

download example files to generate scores

System design
The technical set up is best understood through the schematic below. We used two Alessis DM5s which allowed us to run MIDI clocks through them from Ableton live. Although old, these audio to midi modules were reliable in translating the hits into MIDI notes that were then forwarded to the custom rhythm to data translator.

Duplex Drumming Schematic

download as pdf

Finding percussionists to work with
Finding the right percussionists to work with was crucial to the success of the piece. I had met the percussionist Sophie Hastings through studying Cuban drumming with Christian Weaver. I knew that she worked with a contemporary percussion quartet called 4-Mality. This contemporary rhythm quartet play a range of contemporary works. Through some conversations I was pleased to discover they were keen to explore the possibility of performing this work.

Sophie Hastings’ first test of the rhythm translator circuit, 2018