"Passacaglia (for Elizabeth Veldon)" (September, 2013).

This piece started as a piano improvisation, recorded in such a way as to pick up the music as well as ambient noises in the room.

This was digitally stretched about twenty times, and lightly processed to enhance certain features of the stretched-out sound.

The piano makes a lot of interesting noises that we usually don't hear, because they go by so quickly, and we're paying attention to the notes instead. Stretching the sound puts it under a microscope, and we hear the real complexity of the notes themselves, as well as many in-between sounds: the growl after a bass attack, overtones ringing and fading, the timbre of a note changing as it decays, and so on. My piano is an out-of-tune spinet with very noisy bass strings. The source sound being flawed by ordinary standards (a poor instrument, a casual recording) makes for a more interesting stretched-out sound, to my ears.

The stretched improvisation yielded about an hour and a half of material. Different parts of the recording were chosen and layered together, with fades, to create the piece, which is about twenty minutes long. The process used to make the piece was planned in advance, and it was planned to be a series of overlapping waves. That shaped the improvisation. Its backbone is a simple chord progression, and variations on it, its repetitions set out in a series of swells and fades. Other swells and fades are created by the way the different regions of the stretched sound are layered.

The "ghosts" in the latter part of the piece are from a section of the improvisation that was very loud and in the extreme bass, more noise than pitch.