how?what is it like to be a bat?


sermonette cover 5 dreams cover

Exhibited here are two of Kitty Brazelton's scores for the quartet What Is It Like To Be A Bat?

  1. she said—she said, “Can you sing 'Sermonette' with me? (1997) [complete]
  2. 5 dreams; marriage (2000) [pages 1, 4-33 of 49]

Both works were composed collaboratively: Dafna Naphtali contributing much (but not all!) of the interactive engineering with Brazelton contributing much (but not all!) of the composed architecture.

...Sermonette... was the two composers' first collaboration as they formed the group in 1997. The piece took 6 months to complete. In Batch 4 (and 8) you can see a vanguard attempt to "tame the beast" of technology: an interactive ambience processing patch called the HA! designed by Naphtali is scored and the Danny Tunick accompanies the deciphered metric intricacies on drum kit (hear these too: the HA! alone and its entrance with drums on the fade of Batch 7). Throughout score pages 1-12 of the Trance you will see notated a soundtrack containing bits and pieces of previously recorded dialog and rehearsal which Brazelton wove together using CMIX, granular synthesis and related processes at the Columbia University Computer Music Center. On the opening pair of pages you will see Batch 1-2 where Naphtali's on/off pedalling of her Eventide delay unit is a stand-alone musical element in the score (hear it too).

5 dreams; marriage was commissioned in 1999-2000 as a sequel to ...Sermonette... by New York City's Harvestworks/Studio PASS with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. 5 dreams... pushes the envelope in both composition and audio engineering as well as the group's considerable innovation in combining the two—ancient and new—technologies. Sound sculptor Paul Geluso is enlisted as permanent 4th member but he performs off-stage from the mixing board, breaking the traditional division between "band" and "sound person". You can see his participation begin as an improvisor with audio filters (score p. 20: PG) and then emerge as a singer (p. 21). Not shown in score is the work's finale "Glory Chorale" where all 4 performers sing polyphonically, supported by a quartet of sampled ghosts of themselves (you can hear the supporting track—each melodic line was created from one starting vocal source pitch and then transposed and modified in a digital audio editing program by Brazelton, creating a deliberately "unnatural" shadow for the live performed vocal quartet).