CORAIL(CORAL) is an interactive computer music environment for tenor or soprano saxophone. The program runs on a Macintosh computer using Max/MSP. The work exploits the possibilities of real-time pitch, gesture, and dynamic envelope tracking. The piece is designed for an instrumentalist equipped with a wireless microphone in order to enable free movement throughout a concert hall or in the open air during performance. Significant programming was accomplished by Manuel Poletti of IRCAM and Matthew Wright of CNMAT.

In a normal performance, the performer and the audience are completely immersed in a sonic ocean of high audio quality. Reverb effects, spatial placement and movement are generated by the computer and are based on commands and analysis of incoming performance data from the soloist. All the sounds heard are generated from the saxophone, most captured and transformed in real-time. There is no other person mixing or working with levels, nor adding extraneous materials.

There is no pre-defined score for CORAIL(CORAL). There exists a set of "environments" that function collectively and can be called by the saxophonist at any time. Persistence inside any one environment causes the program to begin generating responses on its own. CORAIL is a highly-constrained improvisation. Each performance may have a different unfolding but the meta-compositional structure remains. The instrumentalist must memorize and internalize through rehearsal all the functions of the programming.

Corail (Coral), Vincent David, TEMPO Festival, UC Berkeley, June 2001
Vincent David, Agora Festival/IRCAM, France, June 2001
Corail, Steve Adams, UC Davis, April 26, 2002
Corail, Juilliard School of Music, New York City, April 7 2003
Corail, Susan Francher, Buffalo, New York, and Univ. of North Carolina, 2003
Corail, Steve Adams, OJAI music Festival, June 3-6 2004
Corail, Steve Adams, Berkeley Symphony, Berkeley, June 18 2004
Corail, Susan Francher, New Music Festival of the University of North Carolina, and Univ. of South Carolina 2005

Program note: Corail (Coral) attempts a sonic analog to the contention that only when human culture moves within an ecological niche can it relate appropriately with all the fields of forces of nature, something of which it is inextricably a part. Just as we can move freely within our own environment, the saxophonist moves within his sound world--one from which he is constantly drawing his inspiration and upon which he interacts. From the sonic well of the live saxophone, the computer extracts fine details of pitch, dynamics, durations and silences using the composer's special grammar and syntax to transform the data into an oceanic flow. The player must learn to play through playing. The musician is constrained and guided by the ocean, adapting to the conditions of the environment. Each musician is charged with finding his/her own voice within the work. Improvisation is an important element of the piece, but the sonic identity of "Corail" will always be present because the compositional constraints are designed into the programming. The piece was premiered at the AGORA festival in Paris in 2001 and is dedicated to John Campion. The program note is adapted from a text by John Campion.

Edmund Campion