how main pagewhat is it like to be a bat?


click bat 1 Dafna Naphtali's custom Max/MSP patch

click bat 2 Kitty Brazelton's CSound .sco

Both Brazelton and Naphtali have spent time in the world of computer music composition. Naphtali is a computer systems designer as well as an audio engineer while Brazelton has worked in rock recording studios all her life and enjoys a relaxed relationship with music-making machinery.

When she approached Naphtali to start BAT?, Brazelton had been searching for several years for a way to bring the intimacy and detail of the computer music creation process to life for live audiences.

In WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BAT? Brazelton collaborated with Naphtali on what they decided to call "movable tectonic plates" of pre-existing sound. In other words, soundtracks on DAT and CD start and stop determined by the motion and phrasing of the live performance---they never govern, but are governed by, events. You can hear this best, perhaps, in the Trance section of "...Sermonette..." excerpts of which you can find on the sonar page: [Dafna's Dream] [Tranzgarians] [Trance end] . Or to see it conceptually, please go to the score of "..Sermonette..." starting at [Trance p. 1] and moving onward.

Meanwhile, Dafna Naphtali had been developing the real-time application of the computer and in the mid-90s wrote a Masters thesis for New York University on the subject. Her focus was on the potential for stand-alone musical expression by an ambience-processing unit called the Eventide through complex micro-programming with Max/MSP software. Naphtali continues her Eventide-Max/MSP work with many musicians around New York City including the pianist Kathleen Supové and her husband, endangered-guitarist Hans Tammen, as well as with her own improv ensemble CoLLiSioN.

In BAT? she took on the challenge of composing specifically for her combined "axe" (Max/MSP and the Eventide)---creating reproducible, repeatable events that could participate in the expressive specificity of a composed work. An impressive example is the "ha!" which you can hear alone in excerpt: [ha!] ; or entering with drums in the last few seconds of [Batch 7-8]. You may see how it has evolved into a compositional element in the score [Batch 4].

Above you may click to see six screens of a sample Max/MSP patch by Naphtali.

You can also look into some of the behind-the-scenes preparations made by Brazelton for her soundtracks in the CSound score for a section of "5 dreams; marriage" (click on the link above).

The last and simplest use of computer technology in WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BAT? is the Akai sampler which Brazelton uses to incorporated short pre-recorded sounds. The sampler is triggered by a keyboard which Kitty Brazelton and Danny Tunick share. Tunick plays the sampled voices (of the group itself) which combine with Dafna and Kitty's live sopranos to create an eight-part madrigal in Batch 3 of "...Sermonette...". [Batch 3 as sound] [Batch 3 in score]. Add to this the granular-synthesized background hum which comes up beneath the madrigal triggered by Tunick and spreads the context in which you're hearing the singing, and you get---what?--- polyphony?--noise?---broad orchestral depth?

For the answer to that question, please read John Cage's ideas on the subject in [why.html], if you haven't already... (Did he predict WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BAT?)