Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Fritts, Lawrence

First Committee Member

Gompper, David

Second Committee Member

Getz, Christine

Third Committee Member

Eckert, Michael

Fourth Committee Member

Kayle, Jennifer


Set in Motion is a composition in two movements for an ensemble of 10 instruments that interacts with a computer in real-time performance using Max/MSP software. The instrumental writing in the piece focuses on incorporating electronic composition techniques into acoustic composition. Techniques such as constructing envelopes, shading, and sound masses, which are common in electronic works are applied to the ensemble. Also, the intervals of a major and minor second are important in the instrumental writing. These intervals provided the basis for the material, which was then transformed algorithmically, both in individual lines and whole sections of music.

In terms of the electronics, the first movement takes advantage of the interactive possibilities of the software. The electronic part is created through the computer extending, processing, and responding to the instruments. The techniques include extracting small grains of sound from the live instruments and repeating them, analyzing the pitch of the signal and amplifying overtones, and rearranging fragments in blocks of recorded sound. The second movement changes the focus of the electronic sound. The electronics are made of precomposed gestures that compliment the live instruments. These gestures are categorized and selected randomly according to specific characteristics. Filtering and other effects applied to the sounds are chosen randomly as well.


composition, electronics, interactive, Max/MSP, music


vi, 98 pages


Copyright 2011 Christopher Shortway

Additional Files

SetInMotion.mxf (42399 kB)

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