Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie     


Clarinet and Shadow

Clarinet & Electronics
Written for Gleb Kanasevich
In residence with GC Composers, Spring 2021


In Clarinet and Shadow, live electronics pitch shift the clarinet to create harmonies and add the sound of an artificial instrument. The electronics are the clarinet’s shadow: unreal, always there, and tied to its movement.
More information on the electronics can be found in the score. In this first realization, seen in the video above, the electronics were performed with a 16n controlling Ableton. The clarinet mics were fed into 13 different tracks. Each track had the pitch shifting plugin Little AlterBoy by Soundtoys, set to particular intervals that are unchanged (see the image to the right). The first 13 faders on the 16n adjust the volume of each of these tracks, mixing a pitch shifted sound with the original sound to create harmonies. To create the artificial instrument, I took a sample of Gleb from a rehearsal and loaded it into Ableton’s Sampler Instrument. Using a simple max-for-live device, the chord is triggered every time faders 14 & 15 are raised above 0. These faders also control the volume of these instruments. Lastly, this same max-for-live device mapped fader 16 to the pitch bend of the sampler instruments. To get the proper pitch bend range, the first sampler was set to +/- 1 semitone, and the second was set to +/- 2 semitones.

For this version, I was aiming for a somewhat natural sound in the electronics. This is why I chose to use the sampler & Soundtoys plugin. In a future version, I think it would be interesting to aim for a more artificial or uncanny electronic sound, with a synthesized clarinet & pitch shifter with more artifacts. I hope this piece can be a platform for experimentation.