Pd Repertory Project: Kaija Saariaho's Noanoa

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Performance instructions
Guide to the patch (not ready yet)


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This piece, for flute and live electronics, was published in 1991 with an accompanying CDROM, which contains a Max patch and 33 soundfiles. The Max patch played the soundfiles on cue (over an old version of ProTools) and controlled two "effects boxes" which are now obsolete. The "MIDI system dumps" for these effects boxes are included on the CDROM, but are of course useless. The effects in question include "inifinite" reverberation, a "speech reverberation" whose reverb time reacted to the power of the incoming signal, and a dual pitch shifter with feedback. These were reverse engineered by listening to Camilla Hoitenga's published recording of the piece. The piece requires the flutist to step on a foot pedal at 64 points during the (roughly ten-minute) piece. We haven't tried replacing the pedal mechanism with the score follower yet.

Performance instructions
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(See also the general performance instructions .)

To perform Noanoa , you need both the Pd patch (provided here) and also the soundfiles, which are on the CDROM which accompanies the published score. You must copy these files off the CDROM and install them where the patch will find them. If, for example, the Noanoa patch is found in the directory, /usr/local/lib/271/patch/saariaho-noanoa, you can put the sounds in /usr/local/lib/271/sound/noanoa. They will be in AIFF format, with names like "NoaNoa-02-qlist-cmd0.aiff".

The setup for Noanoa requires a microphone and foot pedal for the flutist. The microphone must be very close to the mouthpiece of the flute; a professional-quality vocal headset mic seems to do well, once the flutist gets used to it. This should be amplified as well as being sent to the computer (so send it pre-fader from the mixer to the computer.)

The foot pedal may either be MIDI or connect directly to the computer's "gameport" (spoofing an analog joystick button.) You can just hack into your favorite cheap joystick and bring out one of the buttons to a 1/4 inch foot pedal connector if you want. This is the simplest setup; otherwise you have to dig up one of those MIDI pedal interfaces. As the patch stands, you will have to edit the patch to send the "section-step bang" message. (This spoofs hitting the "step" button in the score follower.)

There should be one "stereo" pair of speakers on stage fairly close to the flute on either side, so that the sound of the flute mixes well with the speaker sounds. If the flute is amplified, it should be done gently enough so that the flutist's natural sound predominates.

In addition to performing the "computer" portion of the piece, the patch has an additional reverberator for use as part of the live flute sound amplification. This reverberator, if used, also acts on the recorded soundfiles so that they and the live flute occupy the same "space". The patch has a hard-wired notion of soundfile/live balance to send to the reverberator, which may need adjusting.

The patch has level controls for the "effect" reverb, the pitch shifter, the soundfiles, and the "reinforcement" reverb, which you can tick gently up and down with the "+" and "-" buttons.

To start the piece, hit the "1" message, not the "bang" button that starts the "test qlist" (which does nothing).

See the README (in the patch directory) for notes on recent and upcoming changes.