Break (2004)

Three different meanings of the work break permeate this work.  There is the musical break of extemporization, particularly in jazz, where previously heard musical material is freely developed.

There is a break as in the cutting up and disrupting of material  – found here in the fracturing and breaking up of sound material; at its most dynamic with the abrupt cuts between silence and loud, energised sounds.  In Break the appropriation of silence and quasi-silence – as in the use of low tones – is one of the pieces principle motives, and it is this dynamic contrast of sound and silence, manifest at key structural points, which underlies its formal design.

And finally, Break is built from a single sound source: the breaking of a pane of glass.  In this action there is the expectant impact – a charged silence – then the hard, loud splintering crash, followed by glass shards hitting and spraying surfaces; all dynamic qualities extemporised in Break.

In approach, Break is an acousmatic piece. Although the work may be heard in innumerate ways its composition is non-referential, and is, in its conception, absolute music.

The work was composed using Pro Tools LE.  Processing tools included: Cecilia, GRM Tools and Soundhack.


  1. April 27th 2004, Sonorites Festival, in Sonic Arts Research Laboratory, Queens U. Belfast
  2. Electronic Music Midwest Festival, Lewis Univ., Chicago, Sept. 2004
  3. Sonus Series, Concordia Univ.;
  4. SEAMUS05, Ball State Univ. April05
  5. Expo966 Sonic Arts Network Conference, Scarborough June 05.
  6. listening room at International Computer Music Conference 2005, Sept., Barcelona

Break was a finalist of 2004 the Music Viva electroacoustic music composition competition