Dart: for cello, live electronics and fixed media

Tom Williams (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchComposition


Output Title: “Dart”
Music Composition:
“Dart” for solo cello, delays and electroacoustic playback - 16 minutes
(submitted score + studio recording for CD release)
“Dart” was written for the New York cellist Madeleine Shapiro (“cello innovator” – Time Out: New York) to be performed in the Earth Day 2012 celebrations: Nature Project.
“Dart” researches into the (inherent) problems of working with a live instrument, delays and fixed media, and into source bonding and water-based metaphors within instrumental structures.

To avoid a slavish adherence to the pre-composed fixedness of the acousmatic, the cello is composed within prescribed levels of synchronicity and musical flexibility. The acousmatic music explores the sonic opposites of (my) water recordings (‘noise-based’) and (my) cello (‘note-based’) samples (bowing and tapping recordings) by an electroacoustic interrogation using DAW analysis and composition; thus the composition exploits the interplay between the ‘intrinsic’ (musical) and ‘extrinsic’ (metaphorical). “Dart expressively draws on the full expanse of the cello from the ultra-high (above fingerboard), where the music ‘springs’ forth, to, in effect, a river-winding-downward trajectory within discrete musical episodes.
Pitch coherence is sustained throughout with an 11-note pitch matrix that is (re)cycled, in a quasi-tonal harmonic language that underpins the two-part form. Every pitch articulated is related to this pitch series and variants, e.g. letter B to letter O2. Various (musical) canons (through digital delays in Max/MSP) refract and harmonically ‘stream’ the cello.
Since Dart’s premiere in New York (2012 EarHeartMusic Series) by Madeleine Shapiro -it has had a series of performances by Shapiro (including NYCEMF, CUNY New York) and released on CD in early 2014. The Sydney-based cellist Geoffrey Gartner performed the work at the ICMC2013, Perth, Australia.
“Dart” was shortlisted for the British Composer Awards (sponsored by Radio 3, PRS and BASCA) in the Sonic Art Category, announced in December 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAlbany, New York
PublisherAlbany Records
EditionTROY1577 (Sounds Nature)
Media of outputScore plus media
Size15 mins
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2012


  • cello
  • electroacoustic music
  • Max
  • live electronics


Dive into the research topics of 'Dart: for cello, live electronics and fixed media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this