Echo chamber : for string quartet, narration and electronics
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Echo Chamber is a work for string quartet, pre-recorded narration and electronic sounds, with a text by Eric Grant. The work is itself a reaction to hatred and violence aimed at marginalized groups of people, and is more specifically a reaction to the noticeable rise in outspoken racism, sexism, homophobia and fervent nationalism that occurred throughout the 2016 election cycle. Composing this piece presents a difficult challenge in that I am not, in any way, part of a marginalized minority. As a white American male, my privilege extends deeper than I will ever truly know. However, I have seen firsthand how the hateful speech and actions of others has impacted those closest to me, and present Echo Chamber as an acknowledgement of their struggle and an offering of solidarity. Compositionally, the piece presents challenges of blending elements of live performers, electronic sounds in fixed time, and a narration which, above all, must always be the central focus for the message to be heard. This document details the various methods for addressing those challenges and discusses other topics related to the structure of the composition. The first section addresses the extra-musical characteristics, historical context and ethical issues that surround the piece. The second chapter presents a detailed theoretical analysis of the acoustic elements, the structure and method behind the electronic elements and how the two intersect to create a cohesive whole.