Cascade is a semi-structured improvisational framework that merges acoustic instrumental performance with electronic processing. The first of three important structural elements is the mobile-form score based upon gestures pulled from the harmonic series (open to embellishment and ornamentation). Additionally, a system of digitally-realized frequency modulation is applied to the dry melodica signal. The modulation is based on tones of a specific chord, parsed sequentially as mini-movements within the macro-organization of the piece. The final structural element is a series of additional signal processing modules which provide improvisational coloration to the melodica’s signal.
Despite being presented and originally conceived of as a piece for the melodica, I have taken to describing the piece as a semi-structured improvisational framework to emphasize that the instrumentation is flexible. The system may just as easily be applied using an input signal from any other acoustic instrument, digital instrument, or even pre-recorded sound or musical work (à la Musique concrète). These factors ensure a system which guarantees the inclusion of components that shape the fundamental character of the piece (the specific chord tones, structure, and processing components), while leaving other aspects guided, yet flexible; thus promoting more varied and personal interpretations by any performer.