For general technical notes go to Electronics-general-notes.html

For solutions to common problems go to Electronics-common-solutions.html

General information

The electronics for this piece can be run with a Max patch including reverberation and harmonizers.

Alternatively, the piece can be played without computers, using external reverberation and harmonizer processors, as in the original version.

In both rehearsal and performance a sound engineer/musician should alter the levels of reverberation and harmonizers as indicated in the score and adjust the relative levels of the cello and electronics on the mixing desk, according to the given context (musical interpretation, equipment, acoustics of the performance space).


latest version does require Max installation

Technical requirements for the current version

- Macintosh computer equipped with an external audio interface compatible with Max (cf:, e.g. Motu:, Digidesign:, RME:

  1. - Microphone for the cello

  2. - Mixer & stereo diffusion (possibly a return monitor for the cellist)

Technical requirements for the original version (or alternative version without computer)

- General reverberation (e.g. Lexicon PCM81)

- Harmonizers (e.g. Yamaha SPX90 or any dual pitch shifting device) - see ‘Harmonizers’ for parameters

- Microphone for the cello

- Mixer & stereo diffusion (possibly a return monitor for the cellist)

Harmonizers (for the original or alternative version)

Two harmonizers should be set to produce microtonal pitch shifting, the transposition being about 50 cents (1/4 tone) on either side of the input signal.

If using the Yamaha SPX90, select programme 22 (pitch change B) and set the parameters as follows:

pitch1 +0 / fine1 +45 cents/ delay1 20ms

pitch2 +0/ fine2 –50 cents/ delay2 15ms

Reverberation (for the original or alternative version)

If several reverberation programs are available, one should select a bright reverberation without any other effects. The reverberation time should start at about 2.5 seconds.
Generally speaking, it is better to have too little, rather than too much reverberation.

Notation of the electronics

The two effects are marked with R (reverberation) and H (harmonizer). Changes in the degrees of the effects are marked approximately with crescendos and diminuendos from a previous level to a new level. Dotted lines indicate that the current level should be maintained.. The percentages are advisory and should be reconsidered every time, according to the performance space.

Performance notes

The amount of amplification required naturally depends on the performance space, but it should never cover the acoustic sound of the instrument. The general level should not grow enormously when the effects are added; here the straight amplified sound can be set slightly down. Nevertheless, no abrupt changes in the sound image should be made.
The sound ideal is a clear and rich 'close sound'. The microphone should be placed as close to the instrument as possible.
The general level should be rather loud, but not painfully so.