Phase Locked Loop and Modulo Games, The Dogma Loops; and “Finding Ibrida”

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Date

2016

Advisors

Lindroth, Scott

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Abstract

This dissertation consists of two independent musical compositions and an article detailing the process of the design and assembly of an electric guitar with particular emphasis on the carefully curated suite of embedded effects.

The first piece, 'Phase Locked Loop and Modulo Games' is scored for electric guitar and a single echo of equal volume less than a beat away. One could think of the piece as a 15 minute canon at the unison at the dotted eighth note (or at times the quarter or triplet-quarter), however the compositional motivation is more about weaving a composite texture between the guitar and its echo that is, while in theory extremely contrapuntal, in actuality is simply a single [superhuman] melodic line.

The second piece, 'The Dogma Loops' picks up a few compositional threads left by ‘Phase Locked Loop’ and weaves them into an entirely new tapestry. 'Phase Locked Loop' is motivated by the creation of a complex musical composite that is for the most part electronically transparent. 'The Dogma Loops' questions that same notion of composite electronic complexity by essentially asking a question: "what are the inputs to an interactive electronic system that create the most complex outputs via the simplest musical means possible?"

'The Dogma Loops' is scored for Electric Guitar (doubling on Ukulele), Violin and Violoncello. All of the principal instruments require an electronic pickup (except the Uke). The work is in three sections played attacca; [Automation Games], [Point of Origin] and [Cloning Vectors].

The third and final component of the document is the article 'Finding Ibrida.' This article details the process of the design and assembly of an electric guitar with integrated effects, while also providing the deeper context (conceptual and technical) which motivated the efforts and informed the challenges to hybridize the various technologies (tubes, transistors, digital effects and a microcontroller subsystem). The project was motivated by a desire for rigorous technical and hands-on engagement with analog signal processing as applied to the electric guitar. ‘Finding Ibrida’ explores sound, some myths and lore of guitar tech and the history of electric guitar distortion and its culture of sonic exploration.

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Stewart, Kenneth David (2016). Phase Locked Loop and Modulo Games, The Dogma Loops; and “Finding Ibrida”. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12254.

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