Vox Minima Nebulae (2022) · 5 min

For Toy Piano and 4-Speaker Audio

Toy piano, fixed media (Mac laptop running Max/MSP)

Written for Jennifer Hymer

Program Note

Vox Minima Nebulae, for toy piano and 4-speaker audio, was commissioned by keyboardist and toy piano specialist, Jennifer Hymer, and composed in September 2022. The work was premiered as part of the 2022 Non-Piano/Toy Piano Weekend on November19, 2022 in Hamburg, Germany.

All of the sound sources in the work are generated from toy piano samples, which have been cut, spliced, reversed, stretched, transposed, reverberated and subjected to various types of amplitude modulation. The toy piano solo is derived from the electroacoustic accompaniment.

The title is Latin loosely represents the “sounds of tiny nebula,” or, more directly, “the little voice of the mist” (where the mist in question is space dust). We finally gave it the English alternative title, “the imagined sounds of tiny nebula.” Around the time I started to conceive this work, we on earth began to see the first images coming back from Webb Space telescope (the first image came precisely on July 12, 2022). Upon the completion of this work, I imagined its resulting soundscape to be like the sounds of nebula, giant clouds of dust and gas in space. Nebulae, however, are huge and span light years – even millions of light years across. So, given that this is a work for toy piano, I thought the title Vox Minima Nebulae, which suggests the imagined sounds, or the imagined “voice,” of slightly smaller clouds of mist and space dust, would be more appropriate.

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Anthony De Ritis: Vox Minima Nebulae (the imagined sounds of tiny nebulas)